As someone who spends as many non-office hours outdoors as I can wrangle, I was beyond delighted when I recently got the chance to head to Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia, to experience some of our country’s most beautiful wilderness first-hand.
I left my grubby backpack and cramped tent behind and traded them in for a few nights stay at the luxurious Southern Ocean Lodge, a remote clifftop retreat perched amongst dense bushland and overlooking one of the most dramatic and mesmerising coastlines I’ve ever seen.
Stepping off the plane and into the car onto the way to Lodge, I immediately got the sense that the Island is literally brimming with wildlife. Our guide had us on the look-out for the native Tammar wallabies who might be peeking out of the shrubs as we drove along.
As we approached the entrance to the Lodge, the building seemingly emerged from the vegetation, effortlessly immersed in its surrounds. Now celebrating 10 years since it first opened, Southern Ocean Lodge was designed by Kangaroo Island-born architect Max Pritchard. From every angle, I found that the building appeared to recede into its surrounds, creating a sense that it has always been there, and always will be. ‘We were conscious that we were building in a beautiful undisturbed environment and the success of the project hinged on allowing guests to experience untouched nature,’ recalls Pritchard. ‘Southern Ocean Lodge may be termed an organic concept strongly determined by the site’s topography, views, and unique native vegetation’.
Many of the materials for the build and interiors were sourced locally, with Adelaide-based designer Khai Liew creating bespoke furniture and lighting, including an incredible sculptural bench seat at the entrance to the Lodge. The hand-carved limestones walls in the building’s Great Hall were collected on a nearby property by Kangaroo Island Stone Mason Scott Wilson and create a beautiful sense of warmth that is reflected throughout the space.
As someone who is used to hiking for days and expecting to have to camp to see such pristine wilderness, the whole experience had me in awe. On one hand, Southern Ocean Lodge is the epitome of luxury with its fine-dining, breath-taking architecture and relaxing spa treatments. But on the other hand, I found that it was the simplicity of the moments in nature that made my stay so special – spending a morning on a secluded beach with only a herd of seals, waking up early to watch the sunrise as it washed over the building, and stumbling upon an echidna as it ambled along its path. It was this intimate connection to nature that made the whole experience truly unforgettable.
Southern Ocean Lodge is located off the coast of South Australia on Kangaroo Island, a 20-minute flight from Adelaide airport. Find more information about Southern Ocean Lodge and its luxury experiences here.
Alice stayed as a guest of Southern Ocean Lodge, with flights to the Island provided by the South Australian Tourism Commission and Qantas.
Photographer Kara Rosenlund also visited Southern Ocean Lodge during this time – suss her travel diary here, and you can also purchase prints of her photographs!