This is the final post in my Australia travel series – for the series, see below:
Traveling to Australia – Qantas A380
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney – Spice I Am, Watsons Bay, Manly Beach, Cafe Paci
Sydney – The Opera House Black Star Bakery, The Rocks, Sake
Emirates Wolgan Valley – Part One
Emirates Wolgan Valley – Part Two
Kangaroo Island – Southern Ocean Lodge, Part One
Kangaroo Island – Southern Ocean Lodge, Part Two
In my last post at Southern Ocean Lodge, I took you through a review of the property and its immediate surroundings. Today, I’ll show you some of my favorite activities and dining.
Like Wolgan Valley, and because of its isolated nature, Southern Ocean was fully inclusive of both food and activities (with options to pay more for certain “extra” experiences, specific alcohol, spa treatments). We spent our entire stay in the care of the lodge.
Each morning, we’d begin with a nice breakfast. My favorite was the banana french toast.
After our feeding, we’d set off on our day’s activities! On one morning, we set off to visit the “Remarkable Rocks,” a set of naturally formed granite boulders. The drive there alone was stunning.
Honestly, I never thought that I would find a collection of “rocks” very interesting, but the Remarkable Rocks truly lived up to their name. They were incredible, and the design was inspiring. Another plus was that there was barely anyone else there, so we could have easily had a picnic lunch or nap out on these rocks. Pretty darn cool, right?
Being married to me means constantly being pestered to take photos like this one. Thanks Mr. Feather!
After some time at the Remarkable Rocks, we headed out to our next destination, passing by the beautiful Cape du Couedic lighthouse (raise your hand if you’ve read The Light Between Oceans) on the way out.
Our next stop was a fur seal colony, which had taken up inhabiting near a landmark called Admirals Arch, a naturally formed rock arch/cave. Doesn’t it look like it should be the setting of some Disney cartoon?
And of course seals everywhere! We found this baby seal napping right under the walkway where we were stomping back and forth. This little guy didn’t seem to mind and kept right on sleeping while we “awwwwed” away.
Another day, we spent the afternoon at Seal Beach – with you guessed it, more seals! I could stare at seals forever, so was very happy. We were able to get very close to quite a lot of seals, and watch them playing, fighting, sleeping, even preening themselves like this baby right in the top right corner.
After one of our earlier activities, we’d them return back to the lodge for lunch.
Southern Ocean Lodge was special in that it has a very talented chef, Tim Bourke, who everyday crafted a unique menu using local ingredients. Everything we ate was incredibly fresh and for the most part, quite healthy as well (barring dessert). It was a nice change of pace after stuffing ourselves silly at Wolgan Valley.
Usually breakfast is my favorite meal, but at Southern Ocean, I found myself happiest at lunch!
After lunch and some down time relaxing in the room, we’d head back out for an afternoon activity. My favorite during our stay was one called “Kangaroos and Canapes,” where we were able to drive out and see some animals in the afternoon. I was especially happy to glimpse a sighting of a koala – my first one in the wild!
There were kangaroos all around us. But after all, we were on Kangaroo Island!
More of these guys – we were able to get quite close before they boing, boing, boing’ed away.
After some extended kangaroo watching, we settled down to the canapes section of the afternoon – with the guides setting up a full spread of wines, champagne, and appetizers. This reminded me of our stays at Singita.
After our afternoon activity, we’d return back to the lodge, where around 6 PM we would re-emerge again for cocktails and more canapes before dinner. Yes, more food! But it was worth it, because almost everything we ate at Southern Ocean was delicious. It was clear that the chef took pride in his menu each day. Everything was presented beautifully – even the passed appetizers at cocktail hour.
After cocktails, it was time to move to the next portion of the evening – dinner of course. Many of the dishes at Southern Ocean had a seafood component to them, which I really loved. All of the fish dishes were wonderful.
One thing I will note about the food at Southern Ocean – the portions were pretty small. All the dishes you see below were either appetizers, or entrees. I don’t think I’m a huge eater, but I do have a decent appetite. To make sure I was satiated, I was sometimes ordering multiple appetizers or entrees each night. I know that this was an issue for several other guests as well…but it was easily remedied by just ordering multiple dishes.
After our stay at Southern Ocean, we felt refreshed and totally relaxed. The delicious (but not too heavy) food, beautiful scenery and amazing surroundings made the lodge the ideal place for us to end our Australia adventures. When we left, we took one last scenic drive around Kangaroo Island. Beautiful.
Overall, I would say that we were very happy to have made the trek over to Kangaroo Island, and Southern Ocean Lodge. Top marks.
Positives: The location was absolutely stunning, and unique in the world. The buildings themselves were awesome, and you could tell that a lot of care (and quite frankly, money), had gone into the development of Southern Ocean Lodge. The food was delicious with an obviously talented chef, and the activities were all unique and reflected the sights and culture of the island.
Areas for improvement: We had a few strange service hiccups during our stay. A few days before, knowing that all our meals would be Southern Ocean, I had called and requested a simple Asian meal – anything involving rice, Asian flavors, soy sauce – really, anything! The lodge asked to call me back, and a few hours later they informed it it simply wasn’t possible – I had to just eat what the had on the menu. They cited the remote location as the reason. I was really surprised by this, because high end resorts have always accommodated my (in my mind, reasonable) food requests when I’ve made them on infrequent occasions.
On a second occasion, Mr. Feather realized he forgot his toothbrush, and rang for one to be sent to our room. A half hour later, we received a call back – not only were there no toothbrushes to be found, but the suggested solution was for us to wait until the gift shop reopened in the morning, in order to buy one. Surprising because a) we’ve never had to pay for a dental kit at any hotel before, and b) why couldn’t they just open the gift shop for us?
You can tell that my “areas for improvement” are really nitpicking – however, I know that many of you out there demand excellence, and you should at the prices that places like Southern Ocean command. However, I wouldn’t let any of the small issues I mentioned stop anyone from visiting Kangaroo Island and Southern Ocean Lodge – the place is just too special, too spectacular, and your stay is still likely to be perfect.