some places to visit on your next KI trip!
We spent a wonderful few days on Kangaroo Island a little while ago, and discovered some excellent, environmentally conscious businesses that I am super excited to tell you about!
While international travel may be off the cards for a while, we are lucky to have some truly beautiful places just waiting to be explored, right here in Australia. One of those places is Kangaroo Island.
Kangaroo Islanders have had to be unrealistically resilient for the last year, with the bushfires that decimated almost fifty percent of the island keeping visitors away at the beginning of 2020, and COVID19 effectively shutting down the tourism and hospitality industries for the remainder of the year. So if you are able to travel, you will be doing more than giving yourself a few days of relaxation by visiting KI – you will be giving their incredibly important tourism and hospitality industries a much needed boost.
So here are some photographs from our recent visit, along with some businesses I think you should pay a visit to!
Just off the main road to Kingscote, this gin distillery (the first dedicated gin distillery in Aus) offers both an incredibly laid back, pretension free experience and the opportunity to taste some amazing alcohol. As a friend and travel writer says, KIS feels like a cross between your Grannie’s backyard and WOMADelaide. Get a cocktail or two and sit in the garden -next to the repurposed washing machine barrel campfire if the weather is cold, and then choose a few bottles to take home with you (souvenirs, you know).
Just after you pass Prospect Hill on your way toward Vivonne Bay/ Flinders Chase, you will see a roadside fabric sign fluttering in the wind, advertising the “Petit Provence Farm Gate”. Definitely turn off the main road and take a look. Run by husband and wife team —- , this little farm gate sells products (think jams, olives, mayonnaises, olive oil etc) made on site with home grown produce. The pair practice permaculture on their little farm, and they are planning to start running immersive farm days with tours, lunches and workshops. I’m sure they will be a hit, so keep your eyes peeled!
We stopped in here in hungry desperation on a very rainy day as I thought I had read they served wood fired pizza. Unfortunately they did not have the pizza oven going (though there is one there so I imagine they pump out pizzas during the warmer months), but we did fill our bellies with a decent ploughman’s plate and most importantly, had a much needed drink. If you do stop here, try the beer obviously, but also grab a glass of the on tap, natural wine. I love a natty wine, and these were seriously good. Not available to take home though, much to my disappointment. As well as making quality, small batch beer and wine using locally grown produce, this brewery also runs off solar power and rain water, and was built from a repurposed shearing shed.
I know if I say you have to try the fish burger from the Vivonne Bay General Store you might think I am insane (and you’re right, I would NEVER normally order anything like this from a country takeaway – speaking from experience not snobbiness!). But. YOU HAVE TO TRY THE FISH BURGER FROM VIVONNE BAY GENERAL STORE. Made with uber fresh locally caught whiting, filled with fresh salad and on good bread. We were only there for 3 days and we ate these burgers on two of them. Just in case you need more encouragement.
This little cafe is pretty much just up the hill when you get off the ferry at Penneshaw and it is well worth stopping at for your lunch on arrival or departure. Set in a kitchen garden (the produce of which is used in the cafe menu), Millie Mae’s is passionate about supporting local and using as much locally grown produce as possible. They also have a small shops selling unique gifts made on KI (perfect for some quick shopping before jumping on the ferry back to the mainland). We got takeaway coffee and food for a ferry lunch, and I would 100% go back for a proper meal in the cafe if we return to KI!
It’s all about the honey on Kangaroo Island. Home to the world’s only population of pure Ligurian bees (beekeepers brought them over from Europe in 1881 and in 1885 KI was declared a “bee sanctuary”, ensuring this population of rare bees is kept safe from diseases and bacteria), buying some kind of honey product is an inevitable part of your visit to the island. We chose to visit Cliff’s Honey Farm, a family owned business that keeps bees and has diversified by producing a whole range of honey and beeswax products. They even make honey beer! But definitely try the honey ice-cream while you are there (and, if you like your liquor sweet, get a bottle of honey mead – Will managed to polish off an entire bottle by himself within a week…).
You will probably visit Seal Bay while you are on KI and I would highly recommend timing your visit so you are able to join one of the guided tours. (Unfortunately we did not time our visit thus, and travelling with a two and a half year old means you are unable to sit around and while away half an hour waiting for a tour to start). By joining a tour you are able to walk amongst the seals on the beach, and I’m sure you would learn a lot more than what is available to read on the self-led boardwalk information signs.