Leora recently took her family to Kangaroo Island, the “Galapagos of Australia.” Read Part 1 here, and then enjoy reading about the rest of her journey.
This morning we drove about an hour to the south side of the island to the luxurious Southern Ocean Lodge. Ranked as the fourth-top hotel in the world in the prestigious Travel+Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards, I was excited to check it out.
As you enter this award-winning lodge the scene lying in front of you is one that makes you stop what you are doing or thinking. Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the dramatic cliffs and coastline that lie beneath.
We were prompted back to reality with a glass of bubbly, the girls a glass of fresh mango juice as the manager ran over our itinerary for the next two days. The reality of the Southern Ocean Lodge!
Our room was equally impressive, set along the cliff edge with unobstructed views of the thundering waves below. We had a suite with 2 rooms joined by a living room, and a constant flow of wine, snacks, and all sorts of beverages. They make you want to settle in and stay for a while!
After lunch, we headed out with the lodge guide on the Coastal Clifftop Walk for a bird’s eye view of the spectacular coastline below. Our guide taught us about the local flora and fauna and showed us the plants the chef often uses in his dishes such as the local rosemary which is a little sweeter in taste.
With a little leisure time between activities we set off for our next excursion “Kangas & Kanapes.” Just a short drive from the lodge at a historic property local wildlife including kangaroos and wallabies come to graze. We spent time out on the fields with them and enjoyed a glass of wine & snacks. At this location we saw the most kangaroos in one place on the island, probably up to 20 or more roamed the fields.
Back for dinner which was a four-course meal, which ended with three small homemade ice creams in cones and for the adults a tumbler of baileys on ice!
After a delicious breakfast at the lodge of homemade muesli, sheep yogurt, and an assortment of pastries and eggs we met up with our tour guide for our day tour around the southern part of the island.
First stop was a koala, set high up in a eucalyptus tree, this was our first glimpse of a wild koala. We then toured Flinders Chase National Park, a former lighthouse at Cape Borda, the geological wonders – Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch, which were very impressive. We observed the New Zealand fur seals and the Australian sea lion as we walked along the wooden boardwalk. Lunch was a delicious barbeque set up for just the 4 of us under a canopy of trees. Our guide cooked fresh King George whiting, made us a delicious salad, roasted potatoes, halloumi cheese, and ended with homemade chocolate cake. And of course wine from the island’s wineries. With full tummies, we headed off to our last stop – Seal Bay. With our guide, we gained access to the beach and got to observe at a close range a colony of Australian Sea Lions, who were a little sleepy. After getting our sea lion fix it was time to get back to our lodge.
Last night at the lodge – the girls were super good, dressed in their pretty dresses (which for me is one of my tricks to making sure they will be well behaved – when they are all dressed up and pretty I find their behavior mimics their outfits). We lingered over our final meal and ended back at the room, put the girls to bed, and enjoyed the solitude on our patio with a nightcap listening to the sound of the waves and beyond.
Unfortunately, I never had time to enjoy the lovely spa but did pop in for a quick look and do think this is a must for anyone with a few hours to spare!
Leora’s wrap-up of Kangaroo Island:
The island is a lot bigger than one may expect, 155 Kilometers long and 55 kilometers wide – because of this you tend to spend a bit of time in the car getting around to see the “must-see” sights.
Kangaroo Island is great for anyone wanting to experience both wildlife and beautiful landscapes, including long desolate stretches of white sandy beaches. Come settle in, bring a good book, head out on a tour, enjoy the local wines and food but don’t expect the wildlife to jump out at you, you have to head to very specific areas to truly enjoy them in numbers.
The island is far more laid back than you might expect.
While Kangaroo Island is known for its wildlife there are other activities such as quad tours, sandboarding, kayaking, and wine tastings.
Wildlife we spotted on our trip included: wallabies and kangaroos here and there and in larger numbers in very specific locations on the island. The island has an abundance of Koalas but because they are so high up in the trees you really have to try hard to spot them, we spotted one in the wild. While driving an echidna crossed the road and we crossed that off our list (that was a lucky spot!), and we did get to see the New Zealand fur seal from a distance, the Australian sea lion up close (as we paid for that) and spotted several pods of dolphins from the cliffs.
Food – the island is known for its freshly-caught king whiting, sheep’s cheese, marron, honey and wines. While the food was certainly good it was the wine that most captured our attention. There are a few wineries on the island and they produce some good varieties that are inexpensive. Don’t expect lots of choices for dining.
Lifetime Retreat – I would choose this for anyone looking for a bit of solitude. As there is not much around this area and no social bar or ‘main house’ to meet locals or other travelers. You would choose to stay here if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle. A great place to start that novel, recover from an illness, spend time with your family or just decompress. I would however choose the catering option as this completes your stay here. Each meal is brought into your house freshly baked and prepared for you. The chefs are also pretty creative and sometimes serve your meals in the beach house or the shearing shed to mix things up.