By Fleur Bainger
There’s a reason people dream about spending time at Kangaroo Island’s magical Southern Ocean Lodge.
Isolated, wild and breathtakingly beautiful, it manages to feel raw yet luxurious at the same time.
A member of the Luxury Lodges of Australia, it delivers intricate, thoughtful dining leveraging local produce – farmed and foraged – while maintaining the sort of international liquor cabinet you wish you owned (at least you’re invited to enjoy it every day).
It also presents the ultimate in comfortable abodes, while still luring you outside to explore the ruggedly handsome coastline the lodge peers over, and beyond.
So limited is the guest list, you almost feel like you have the sophisticated setting all to yourself.
Kangaroo Island Luxury
It’s typical of the island it sits on, really. KI, as it’s fondly known, blends rural vistas like hard working sheep farms, apiaries and corduroy-like vineyards with windswept cliffs, sea lion flecked beaches and blissfully relaxing retreats.
A growing reputation as a foodie mecca is well deserved, with everything from rare, organic honey to sheep’s milk haloumi produced here, and King George Whiting and freshwater marron fished from the waterways.
While it feels boutique, it’s Australia’s third biggest island, and home to the four holiday houses of Lifetime Private Retreats.
Each is set in a remote location with extraordinary ocean views.
Choose from a heritage homestead, a house with a cliff-edge jacuzzi and tower bedroom, a rammed earth house and a stunning couple’s retreat with a helipad for romantics who like to arrive in style.
The owner is also a chef and can provide convenience meals, or a full dining service, making the holiday even more relaxing.
Speaking of food, keep an eye on the retreat and restaurant menus while you’re on KI – with any luck you’ll get to try the lauded Parndana barramundi, bred and farmed by KI Community Education school students for the fine dining trade.
You might not expect agricultural students – also using science skills – to produce A-grade fish. But demand is strong, with island chefs reporting it’s some of the best and freshest seafood they can get their hands on.
Glowing reports come from the executive chef at Southern Ocean Lodge, who has long used the school’s produce and buys almost all of it – the only other place you can try the prized barra is at The Rockpool Café in Stokes Bay.