‘My Stay’ by Man in the Know, Ian Swain

April 15, 2013

We all flew from Sydney and easily made the connection to REX Airlines for the short hop to Kangaroo Island, home to Southern Ocean Lodge. Once we landed, there stood Craig Wickham of Exceptional Kangaroo Island, the best tour operator in Australia and a great friend! I have known Craig for over 25 years and consider him a real mate!

Craig took us straight on tour, and off to the Remarkable Rocks, a huge formation of granite right on the southern end of the island. We all enjoyed seeing the kids (of course they are all in their 20’s) attempt to climb the rocks to the top, some making it, and some not! I remember the first time I went there, I did the same, but I didn’t try that this time. I doubted that my agility kept up with my age!

We then hopped onto our private bus and headed to Admiral’s Arch and watched the hundreds of fur seals frolicking in the waves and resting along the base of this once, standing cave. It was truly incredible watching the wave’s crash along ancient rocks. Most of the seals were napping, but a few were playfully hopping around and splashing in the wave breaks.

After filling our memory cards with photos, we drove to Southern Ocean Lodge. This was Linda’s and the kids’ first time there – so I was excited to see their reactions. I was not disappointed. Immediately they stared in awe looking out through the Great Room’s glass walls to the Kangaroo Island coastline ahead and below. Imagine walking through a luxurious entrance way only to be greeted by a view of crashing waves over a dramatic cliff line. The next few minutes were spent looking out through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Great Room staring in disbelief as to our view for the next few days. After a glass of champagne, some light snacks and a quick chat with Alison and John (the lodge managers), we were escorted to our suites.

The suites are all superb, with some of us in Flinders Suites (their lead-in, but hardly a lead-in room, they are beautiful), some in Ocean Retreat and Linda and me in their top suite, the Osprey Suite, at the end of the hallway. We all met in our suite for a family photo and sunset cocktails before heading to a delightful dinner in the dining room to end a great day.

After the heli-flight, we headed back to the Lodge and had the afternoon to enjoy the property. The kids took off on the cliff walk tour and I walked down to the beach at Hansen Bay, and was the only one there – delightful. The beach was majestic. I truly felt as if I was on an untouched part of the world. The bright blue water crashing over the reef and rock provided a stunning backdrop to what was one of the more perfect beach walks of my life.

The meals throughout our stay at the Lodge were a gourmet delight with appropriate Australian wines to complement each course. The family all agreed after our three days there, that Southern Ocean Lodge is well deserved of its Travel + Leisure Reader’s Choice awards as the top hotel in Australia and the third best in the world.