Wildlife, water, and wide-open spaces, what better way to seek a little SANCTUARY than with a walking break in the FALKLANDS?
The Falklands archipelago is an unspoilt utopia 300 miles off the coast of Patagonia. Clear blue skies, seamless horizons, vast open spaces, and white sand beaches come together to create a landscape ripe for exploration. Wildlife abounds here amid the tiny settlements, which nestle in miles of countryside, cut through with rocky rivers, and surrounded by brilliant seas.
The best way to enjoy its wonders and wildlife is on foot, and the Falkland Islands Tourist Board has launched a new series of guides to help visitors do just that. Here are our top four must-hike locations on the islands…
Named after the crashing waves that break on its shores, Bleaker Island is the place for birdwatching with numerous species of waterfowl and songbird to be found around its pretty ponds and wetlands. On the coast, look out for seabirds – including rockhoppers, gentoo penguins, and cormorants – and if you’re lucky, you might even spot the odd sealion, too.
There are four main walks on the island varying from 2-13 miles, the longest being North Point, a seven-hour circular walk over moderate terrain, which takes in most of the coastline and Penguin Hill. For a shorter stroll with just as many penguin-spotting opportunities, the south coast’s Rockhopper, Tussac, and Cormorants route is a 90-minute circular walk that’s more challenging underfoot. Allow more time during the summer months to enjoy the wildlife and be sure to take your binoculars!
DARWIN, EAST FALKLAND
The Darwin area has lots to offer 1982 war history enthusiasts with various memorials dedicated to those who lost their lives during the battles. There are also the battlefields themselves, which today are a notably peaceful place for quiet refection.
The terrain is flat, and the views are seemingly endless, stretching out over the South Atlantic. Visitors can also expect to see some marine mammals, including whales. There are four walks around the Darwin region ranging from 2-12 miles, the longest being The Grand Tour, an eight-hour circular hike around the area. It’s worth the effort, though, as you’ll get to experience all the history the Darwin and Goose Green settlements have to offer as well as spectacular coastal views.
FOX BAY EAST
Named after the now-extinct warrah (Arctic wolf) that once inhabited the islands, Fox Bay has a wealth of challenging landscapes to explore. Here you’ll find stunning hills and mountains to hike, coastlines to traverse, and the opportunity to discover fossils in the sedimentary rock below. Its breath-taking sandy beaches are home to a variety of wildlife, including penguins, and you may spot dolphins in Annie Brooks Bay.
There are seven different walks around the area from 2-11 miles. If you’re looking for a full day’s hiking, the Sand Pond and Stream trail takes in Annie Brooks Bay, the Sand Pond coastline, and even allows for spot of fishing near the picturesque David’s Place should the mood take you. To enjoy the best of Fox Bay’s beaches, take the 5-mile Carcass Bay route. This beautiful white sandy inlet boasts megellanic and gentoo penguins during the summer months and outstanding vistas year-round.
GOOSE GREEN, EAST FALKLAND
The perfect destination for families with younger children, Goose Green is the largest farm in the Falklands, offering a variety of inspiring walks for little legs. The settlement has more wildlife than you might image, with the opportunity to spot seabirds and penguins, plus Bodie Creek Bridge, the only suspension bridge on the islands.
The Goose Green Settlement walk takes around an hour to complete, though there are plenty of points of interest along the way if you want to make a day of it. En-route activities include beachcombing, fishing, and birding, and also the opportunity to discover some of the local history of the area in the 1982 museum, which contains artefacts from both the British and Argentine military. The 7-mile circular Bodie Creek Bridge route is ideal for a longer hike or bike ride, taking in views of the bridge itself as well as remarkable sights along the coastal roads to out-lying islands. It starts and ends at the Goose Green Gallery café, a fitting reward for all that legwork.