Kangaroo Island lies a 40-minute flight south of Adelaide. More than 90 miles long, but with just 4,300 inhabitants, it is a wild and magnificent place with an evocative landscape of rolling moors and sheep-dotted pastures.
Southern Ocean Lodge is perched high above wind- and sea-gouged cliffs that are scoured by breakers and punctuated by glorious white-sand beaches. After checkin, we relaxed in the spectacular Great Room, a huge pavilion with floor-to-ceiling windows, a wall of golden limestone and a suspended wood-burning steel fireplace. The space is compartmentalized by the exquisite furniture of Adelaide-based, Malaysian-born designer Khai Liew. The 21 suites all have hypnotic views of the Southern Ocean, which extends as far as Antarctica. Our room came with a paved limestone entrance and floors made from recycled timber. In front of the window, an inviting sofa was strewn with canvas bolsters, kangaroo-print cushions and a soft wool throw. The bath was faced with toast-colored limestone, equipped with underfloor heating and provided with locally made lavender-scented toiletries.
The resort’s dining room has tables set in intimate niches in the limestone wall, as well as others by windows overlooking the sea. Given the constraints of a remote location, the food is excellent. Among the dishes we especially enjoyed were smoked abalone with soba noodles and shaved pickled ginger, and grilled local snapper in a lime and ginger sauce. The lodge has only a small plunge pool, as water is drawn from an underground well and has to be desalinated. Nonetheless, facilities include a spa with idyllic treatment rooms backdropped by the Southern Ocean.
On a memorable four-hour excursion to Flinders Chase National Park, we saw dozens of Australian sea lions and New Zealand fur seals, volcanic blowholes, historic lighthouses and numerous kangaroos, wallabies and koalas. Southern Ocean Lodge was unquestionably the highlight of our three-week trip to Australia.
Southern Ocean Lodge Flinders Suite, $990 per person, including all meals, drinks, excursions and airport transfers; Remarkable Suite, $1,500. Hanson Bay, Kangaroo Island. Tel. (61) 8-8559-7347.
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