Travel & Places Australia

Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island Rating

The Bottom Line

Bond movie-worthy and eco-friendly, this sleek and stylish luxury lodge is located on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Twenty-one modern and tastefully decorated suites all share a phenomenal view of the Southern Ocean and not much else--as they’re angularly positioned for privacy from each other. Rugged natural oceanfront terrain meets seamlessly with minimal contemporary design creating a secluded utopia and one of those ‘must see before you die’ travel experiences.

  • As private or communal as you would like it to be (with few guests and secluded rooms
  • World-caliber restaurant with excellent cuisine and attentive service
  • The best view of thousands of miles of ocean from just about anywhere on the property
  • Perfectly moderately heated outdoor jacuzzi looks out onto the ocean
  • Comfortable outdoor sofa banquette on your balcony--perfect for hours of ocean and star-gazing

  • Cost is high--but difficult to argue against once you visit the unique and awesome top-tier property

  • Activities include a coastal cliff-top walk, Kelly to Hanson Bay in Half a Day, exploring the Kelly Hill Caves, Southern star gazing, beach fishing and visiting Seal Bay.
  • Minimum stay is two nights
  • Select rooms contain fireplaces, bathtubs and a jacuzzi
  • The Southern Spa is wallpapered with prints from Australian designer Florence Broadhurst
  • The Lodge welcomes children six years and older
  • The Southern Ocean Lodge is a 50-minute drive from Kingscote Airport

Guide Review - Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island

If a consortium of international power elites were to meet to discuss world domination, it would be at a long table in the pristine and sleek restaurant at the Southern Ocean Lodge (SOL). Here, before a breathtaking view of the craggy beach, the Southern Ocean seems to go on forever--or at least 3000 miles until it hits land in Antarctica.

That’s the sort of lofty notion that fuels unrestrained ambition, while paradoxically inducing a sense of peace. In laymen’s terms--in fact, even for a fairly seasoned traveler--this exclusive South Australian retreat feels like the sweeping, remote, near-mythical setting of a James Bond film.

Its positioning, on the largely eco-conserved Kangaroo Island (K.I.), is ideal. Take a flight from Adelaide and you’re at Kingscote airport in less than 20 minutes. A drive and ferry takes a few hours. In a couple of hours one can traverse the island East to West (the Lodge is situated on its southern tip).

The SOL’s design--by local architect Max Pritchard--is such that it blends unobtrusively with the natural landscape. Lodgings sit atop limestone cliffs and all have great views. Each room is named after a K.I. shipwreck (as it’s known as the ‘shipwreck island’). God is in the details here--from heated floors and local amenities like sea salts to tasty treats like the Aussie sweet ‘lamingtons’ displayed on a net-covered dish on arrival.

Life--if you would consider four days (the average stay) at the Lodge ‘life’--is Utopian enough that it’s difficult to imagine leaving the premises. However, for visitors with perpetual wanderlust, the SOL offers activities on or near its 200 acre confines. You can, for instance, partake of canapes and cocktails on the jacuzzi-side balcony and then get whisked away on a nocturnal kangaroo spotting excursion.

Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio had mentioned that eating at their restaurant was one of his all time top dining experiences. I myself sampled two particularly memorable dishes: a mouth-watering Moroccan spiced quail with char grilled vegetables and spiced K.I. sheep’s milk yogurt, and the best affogato I’ve ever had (topped with native Island Sting honey liqueur). The eatery’s visual tone is set by South Australian artist Janine Mackintosh’s pieces constructed from dry leaves.

My stay was sponsored by the South Australian Tourism Commission, but I can imagine the cost of a stay for ‘civilians’ would seem jaw-dropping (starting at $1100 per person per night) until you see the place, and consider that meals, guided tours, snacks and amenities are included. The feeling that all--with the exception of on-site spa treatments--is paid for from the start lends itself to a serene stay. The exception, of course, are those heated ‘world take-over’ meetings with your global elite cohorts. It’s hard not to think in such over-zealous terms when a stay in this special spot makes you feel like the world is already yours.

Reviewer Shana Ting Lipton's visit was sponsored by the South Australian Tourism Commission.

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