With more than a third of its land declared a conservation park or a national park, Kangaroo Island is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.
Getting to Australia’s answer to the Galapagos is relatively easy: Hop aboard a ferry, regional express plane (it’s just a 25-minute flight from Adelaide) or take a private charter. Once on the natural refuge, guidance might be needed to navigate this unfettered wilderness found 15 kilometres from the mainland.
A stay at the award-winning, all-inclusive Southern Ocean Lodge can help. It’s not cheap – rooms start at 1,250 Australian dollars ($1,168) for each person a night – but if you’d be booking a lot of tours from independent operators anyway, it just might be worth it. Plus, the views – you can see Antarctica on a clear day – are priceless.
Cantilevered on a secluded cliff on the island’s southernmost edge, the contemporary Max Pritchard-designed building is an immersion in coastal glamour. Decked in hand-cut limestone, the eco-friendly property collects rainwater and cools the breezeway leading to 21 spacious oceanfront suites using flow-through ventilation. Named after local shipwrecks, the lavish rooms are outfitted with bespoke furnishings, floor-to-ceiling windows and a daybed on an outdoor terrace overlooking Hanson Bay.
The luxury super-lodge averages two staff for every guest and personalized bucket-list-checking itineraries are part of each stay. Come face-to-face with kangaroos and wallabies at dusk while snacking on canapés in Kelly Hill National Park. Watch sea lions at nearby Seal Bay. Let Maggie, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary’s resident canine, help you spot predator-less koalas. Learn about the island’s maritime heritage at Admiral Arch, a popular fur seal hangout to watch silly pups frolic in the waves. Play hide-and-seek among the Henry-Moore-sculpture-like Remarkable Rocks. A paradise for hikers, walkers can explore old-growth flora, coastlines and iconic attractions on the 254-acre sanctuary’s loop trails. Or discover pristine ecosystems within the property on a guided clifftop outing. It’s all included.
With a dramatic panorama of the Southern Ocean, the stunning Great Room is the property’s centre of activity. Dominated by a sunken lounge with a fully stocked open bar, you can access the deck’s infinity-edge plunge pool and winding boardwalks leading to the sheltered cove’s sugar-white sand beach or the Southern Spa. And if the phrase “all-inclusive" has you picturing a dreary buffet, think again. Chef Asher Blackford’s thoughtful, daily-inspired menu features small island producers including rare honey from Ligurian bees and farmed barramundi raised by a local high school.
Go with a big appetite and that alone might cover the cost.
The writer was a guest of Southern Ocean Lodge. It did not review or approve this article.
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