Kangaroo Island is probably the furthest away from the familiar I’ve ever felt while traveling. As soon as you step off the plane, you get this sense that you have set foot in an entirely new world. It’s a feeling that must be on your bucket-list – to feel completely immersed in something unknown.
As Craig and Janet scooped us up, we headed to the lodge, but only after saying a quick hello to a Koala “hanging” out along the way. (Get it? Hanging in a tree…..)
It was our first koala sighting on Kangaroo Island, and happened within the whole five minutes we’ve been on the ground. I don’t know what it is about Koalas, but I just want to always have one on my back.
It would be a little under-exaggerated to say I was excited to see Southern Ocean Lodge. I have worked with this lodge for a couple years now, reading descriptions and working imagery into advertising. It was like a countdown coming to end each moment we got closer to the lodge.
As we pulled up to entrance, I briskly walked towards the front door. I have read about the epic view through the Great Room’s windows as soon as you open the door – and now here I was, about to experience it for myself.
As soon as you open the door, your eyes are drawn out the massive floor to ceiling windows that overlook the crashing waves amid a panoramic view of the ocean beyond the cliff. It’s…incredible… It was a bit difficult at first to comprehend the notion that this was going to be each morning’s first scenic marvel. This is one of the places you have trouble believing actually exists – I haven’t seen anything like it.
I was fortunate enough to stay in an Ocean Retreat. The lodge is designed so that no one can see into your room, built linear to the cliff. Therefore, each of the 21 suites have uninterrupted views of the dramatic cliff line and beautiful blue ocean. Our suite had an outdoor deck. I almost took up reading more just so I could justify all the time I spent out there.
I do need to talk about the food that I couldn’t stop eating at the lodge. Every day the menu was different. The head chefs would source whatever was freshest that day and prepare unique and locally inspired dishes that would make the Iron Chefs jealous. The dining aspect of this lodge was an experience in itself.
As I’ve mentioned probably too many times, the lodge sits atop an ancient cliffside. (I’m just excited – I haven’t been on too many cliffs before!) There is a pathway out the front of the lodge that takes you along the cliff’s edge to a perfect lookout point. Being in Kangaroo Island brings out your adventurous side. I wouldn’t suggest this for anyone scared of heights, as the way down the cliff isn’t as leisurely as the walk along the top of it – in fact it looks quite abrupt and unforgiving. As we walked along, we frequently looked over at the untouched beaches below. Awe-inspiring. Nothing like walking along a massive cliffside, beer in hand giddily exploring uncharted land. Life, right?
On the last day, Kristen, Lianda, Georgia, Dilan and I ventured past the other side of the lodge towards the span of beaches. Now, these aren’t beaches with lifeguard stands and locals swimming all around (in fact, that aren’t too many locals on Kangaroo Island anyway). No, these are completely untouched, pristine and deserted beach lands. Ancient rocks are scattered along the sands and the turquoise waters forcefully crash along the break.
Of course, Lianda and I couldn’t leave without saying we went into the water. We each charged the waves like Spartans, only to be knocked over by the power of the surf. You could immediately feel the strong currents trying to pull you into the ocean. “Not this time Kangaroo Island!” I yelled in my head, as my over-dramatic instincts kicked in.
A little later, Kristen and I watched Dilan and Georgia head further onto the rocky cliffside, and soon followed suit. After one of the more painful walks I’ve taken barefoot over jagged rocks, we were met overlooking waves violently pummeling this quarry. The raw power of this planet is unreal.
The entire stay was beautiful. This was experiential travel in a nutshell. It was tough driving away from such an experience – no doubt I’ll be back there.