Having returned to employment within the travel industry my eyes have been opened to how amazing travel within Australia can be. A place that caught my eye from day one is Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge. I knew I had to visit so recently I made that dream a reality and my Mum and I headed over for a luxurious weekend.
Southern Ocean Lodge is part of Baillie Lodges which also includes Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island and Longitude 131 at Uluru. The lodges have been built within some of the most stunning Australian landscapes. Not only do they offer their guests an intimate and opulent experience but there’s the opportunity to immerse yourself in Australian wildlife and the beauty of the Australian outdoors.
Kangaroo Island is located 112km southwest of Adelaide, South Australia. The giveaway is in the name, yes it’s an island! Guests can travel either by ferry or by plane. The ferry service departs from Cape Jervis on the mainland which is approximately 88km south of Adelaide. Thanks to Regional Express we set off direct from Adelaide Airport on a short and sweet 25 minute flight.
Regional Express (or REX) are Australia’s largest regional carrier behind Qantas and also operate the largest fleet of SAAB 340 Turboprop aircraft. During peak season, REX fly up to three times a day between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island in both directions. Being a nervous flyer I was slightly jittery leading up to the flight but thanks to the incredible customer service from the moment we checked in I was soon at ease. I loved how REX’s pilots greet guests on ground as they’re boarding their flight. It’s a real intimate experience. The aircraft seats 33-36 passengers and for our flight over it was about half full.
Waiting at Kingscote Airport on Kangaroo Island is a Southern Ocean Lodge representative. Friendly smiles, welcomes and introductions take place as your luggage is collected and loaded onto your transfer vehicle. Southern Ocean Lodge provide transfers for all scheduled flights, however they do have private options available as well should your trip require that. The journey to the lodge takes around an hour and during this time you can read up on the available activities during your stay or listen to the commentary provided by your driver.
You can feel the excitement level in the vehicle heighten as you make your way up the close to 1km long driveway to the lodge. Once the van stops the General Manager personally welcomes all guests and it’s then that the magic happens. Huge rustic style doors are opened and it’s here that you get your first captivating view of the ocean. Encompassed by vast floor to ceiling windows the communal lounge area is simply remarkable. Each arriving party is attentively looked after by a lodge representative and before you know it you’re sipping on a glass of champagne. Staff go over a suggested itinerary with you which includes their signature activities (these are included in your rates). It is up to you how much or how little you want to do during your stay.
With just 21 suites you know the attention to detail is going to be exquisite. We spent our two nights here in a Flinders Suite which came with sleeping area, sunken lounge room, oversized balcony and generously sized bathroom. Heated floors, ambient music and scents, cozy robes and slippers that feel like you’re walking on clouds are all what make this lodge a memorable stay. Each suite has been individually named after a Kangaroo Island shipwreck and there are history and maritime books in your room so you can learn all about them. There’s no TV here, but don’t worry, you’ll spend your days gazing out to sea and hopefully you’ll be lucky like us and spot a pod of dolphins swimming by.
The Food (and drink)
Guests at Southern Ocean Lodge eat together during set times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu changes daily and is a la carte. Lunch can be up to three courses and dinner up to five. For those that aren’t adventurous with their food (or if you’re simply ‘lodged out’) there’s a standard set menu offered at all dining times. I loved that so many of the choices included local produce. A real effort has gone into ensuring local suppliers are benefiting from this magnificent place. The meals we enjoyed at Southern Ocean Lodge were delightful in both taste and presentation.
Not only is South Australia rich in food produce but they make a pretty decent drop of wine as well. The help yourself bar at Southern Ocean Lodge stocks a wide range of South Australian juices, water, soft drinks and spirits (try Kangaroo Island’s very own gin KIS) Then there’s the wine cellar! An actual cellar where you can casually wander in and take a bottle of wine like it’s nobodies business. It was like a dream come true.
Mum and I took part in most of the touring along with doing the clifftop walk in our own time. To read more about our adventures at Remarkable Rocks, Seal Bay and Kangas and Canapes click here.
I was pleasantly surprised at how casual the atmosphere was at Southern Ocean Lodge. Guests with their feet up on the lounges by the fire and families excitedly taking it in turns to use the telescope. It really did provide a relaxed setting. As the touring works around meal times there is no expectation to don your finest attire while you eat. The views are just breathtaking and for me sitting in the lounge with a glass of wine looking out over the Southern Ocean was heart-warming.
The staff were wonderful. You could tell each and everyone of them loved their job. Their passion for the lodge and the island was truly authentic. Although Mum and I did escape to the TV room to watch our beloved Adelaide Crows play, we spent some good quality time together exploring, playing cards and waiting with baited breath to see a whale breach out of the ocean. If it’s a casual-luxe experience that you’re after, with raw and rugged scenery then a stay at Southern Ocean Lodge just might be for you.
The Finer Details
Rates at Southern Ocean Lodge start from AUD1200.00 per person with a minimum two night stay. Check their website for off peak season specials. The rates include accommodation, meals and beverages*, scheduled transfers and scheduled touring.
(* = Cellarmaster list is at an additional cost)
I had an amazing weekend at Southern Ocean Lodge filled with many happy memories that will last a lifetime.
As always, the views and opinions expressed on this website are my own. Our flights to Kangaroo Island were generously sponsored by Regional Express. I had a mutually beneficial arrangement with Southern Ocean Lodge through my employer as a familiarisation visit. I was under no obligation to post a review of my experience on Fit Travels.