Where would you go if you had two weeks to spend down under in Oz? Many travelers would settle on an itinerary like this:
This is a solid, respectable itinerary and covers the terrain that most of us would expect over a two week period.
Two weeks is, by the way, the minimum amount of time to allow for a trip to Australia (or New Zealand) to allow for a bit of down time and to make the long flight worthwhile. However, there is a wonderful alternative/addition to the standard Aussie voyage. A destination that is unknown to many first or even second time travelers to Australia, A destination that is a short flight from Adelaide in Southern Australia and is an ideal 3 to 4 night destination for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, birders, solitude seekers, and those searching for an original Aussie experience. It’s called Kangaroo Island and has the great nickname – The “Galapagos of Australia”.
Native Australian wildlife abounds on Kangaroo Island and is one its main draws: koalas, the elusive echidna (we saw one!), platypus, wallaby and of course, kangaroo. In fact, there are so many kangaroos you may end up taking a souvenir home on the bottom of your shoe. The natural scenery is rugged, wild and stunning. There is hiking, mountain biking, fishing and even surfing available on the island.
The cherry on top of a visit to Kangaroo Island is a stay at the Southern Ocean Lodge, an eco-Eden located on the southwestern coast. The Lodge is 5 star plus, and must be seen to be believed. The lobby and lounge hang above the Southern Ocean coastline, offering an unobstructed view of, well, everything.
The accommodations are are very private. The lodge has only 21 suites, all located along a long corridor, so each room has the same incredible view. Wonderful wildlife viewing and sightseeing activities are included so you won’t miss a thing, and all of the luxury touches are present.
The service is laid back yet perfect for the environment, the food is fresh and local, but this place still has something extra. It sticks with you. Maybe it is the serenity of the location and the fact that the hotel blends in with its surroundings so well. Maybe it was the heated tile floors that were such a pleasant surprise first thing on a chilly July winter morning (southern hemisphere!).
By all means, book-end your trip to Australia with the major gateway cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Then give Kangaroo Island a chance…it is an ideal choice for those on a 2nd visit to Australia, active nature lovers and adventurers, or even those non-beachy folk who might not enjoy the tropical clime of Queensland. The Tourism Kangaroo Island site says it best – “Just across the water, but a world away!”
[Written by Donna Dyer]
[Images courtesy of Penny at the Luxury Lodges of Australia]