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Two Idyllic Beach Retreats On Kangaroo Island, And A Love Story

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There’s something special about Emu Bay. Just ask Richard and Emily Young, who met on its sands as young adults, and were married 12 months later. They’ve each been holidaying at Kangaroo Island for 50 years, and both were there to defend the island from the devastating bushfires earlier this year.

The pair have now transformed their family holiday homes on the 5km stretch of secluded beach at Emu Bay into accommodation (which were fortunately spared in the fires). Hamilton House is a retro 1960s beach house with all the modern conveniences, while Dune House is a totally new build, set into the landscape and overlooking the bay.

Searching for the dream Australian beach holiday? You’ve found it!

14th December, 2020

Richard and Emily Young own two beach house accomodation in Emu Bay, a 5 kilometre stretch of pristine beach on Kangaroo Island. Here is the sunken lounge at Dune House. Photo – Joshua Smith.

Left: Dune House is slightly more contemporary than Hamilton House, and is filled with the Young’s art collection. Photo – Heidi Lewis. Right: Dune House. Photo – Heidi Lewis

The Dune House deck overlooks the 5km stretch of beach at Emu Bay. Photo – Heidi Lewis.

Left: Dune House is set into the landscape, secluded among the treetops and the sand dunes (hence its name!). Alli Harper. Right: The view out onto the pristine water. Photo – Heidi Lewis

Hamilton House is a beach cbain from the 1960s which originally belonged to Richard’s parents. When his mother passed away, he inherited a portion of it and he and Emily purchased the rest of the property from his interstate siblings. Photo – Alli Harper.

Despite an interior renovation in 2018, the cabin retains an updated, retro feel. Hamilton. Photo – Alli Harper.

Right: Situated in the hamlet (the most central part of Emu Bay), Hamilton House is close to the fishing jetty and in-land cricket pitch. Photo – Alli Harper. Left: Hamilton House. Photo – Heidi Lewis

Hamilton House is located on a 4,000 square metre block and filled with the Young’s collection of furniture – and even some art! Photo – Heidi Lewis

Located on the foreshore, Hamilton House looks right out over the jetty! Photo – Meaghan Coles.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 14th December 2020

‘Emu Bay consists of the curved 5km of white sandy beach embraced by a vegetated dune. At the far end is a series of rocky coves, fun to clamber over and explore.’ – Emily Young

Emily and Richard Young have been coming to Kangaroo Island for 50 years. As children, their respective families vacationed at Emu Bay on school holidays, and as young adults, they met on the very same beach. Naturally, it was this stretch of sand they decided upon as their wedding location when they were married 12 months later.

No, this isn’t the plot of a Tim Winton novel – it actually happened! And now, Richard and Emily run Richard’s former family beach house, and a new build of their own as accommodation at secluded Emu Bay.

Hamilton House and Dune House have opposite styles,’ explains Emily. ‘Hamilton House has an old-school beach shack, mid-century vibe with contemporary conveniences. Its success lies in its layers, textures and colours from the vintage furniture, collected carpets and some of our most precious art.’ This had been Richard’s family home, which the pair purchased from his siblings when his mother passed away. It underwent a renovation in 2018 to bring the heritage shack up to modern standards!

Being the newer construction, Dune House is cleaner and more contemporary. ‘We tried to make it neutral, so it would disappear into the sand dunes, since we couldn’t compete with its unique setting,’ says Emily. Dune sits at one end of the 5 kilometre beach, its full ocean frontage overlooking the length of the bay. Hamilton House is located closer to the village of low-key houses and retains its 1960s character despite recent renovations. Still only 100m from the waterfront, the more central house lies close to the cricket pitch, playground and boat jetty.

According to Emily, the understated, coastal charm of Dune and Hamilton Houses are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of Kangaroo Island. Surrounded by goannas, koalas and even penguins – Emu Bay is the dream location for an Australian beach holiday that feels like home!

Tempted to make an escape to Kangaroo Island? Dune and Hamilton Houses are available to book separately or together. Take a look here!

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net