The way it was….

Southern Ocean Lodge was destroyed in the bushfires that spread with speed and ferocity across the western part of Kangaroo Island earlier this year.

Owners, James and Hayley Baillie, immediately committed to rebuilding the Lodge, and to taking a leading role in whatever ways they could to help rebuild the precious eco-tourism industry on Kangaroo Island. Let’s just say, Kangaroo Island is at the top of our bucket list for 2022.

The Baillies, who also have a long-term lease on the land that the luxurious Longitude 131O rests on near Ayers Rock, (see page 50) are savvy luxury hoteliers, well known for their dedication to the wilderness and preservation of nature. In a recent statement after the tragic fires, the resilient couple suggested that they’ll be back before we know it saying, “We have already taken architect Max Pritchard to revisit the site and, happily, the original plans for the lodge are still intact. While it’s currently too early to estimate a date for re-opening we’d like to reassure everyone that the recreation of Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island is our next focus.”

Australia’s third largest island, Kangaroo Island is a wild refuge with 21 conservation parks and a native collection of flora and fauna. It sits a mere 15 kilometres from the shores of South Australia and spans just 4500 square kilometres—one hundred and fifty-five kilometres in length and fifty-five in width.

The island is often referred to by locals and travellers as the Australian Galapagos, given the fact that it’s home to an abundance of wildlife and spectacular natural attractions. Kangaroo Island is also known to be a bee utopia with 4,000 hives that are home to the world’s purest strain of Liquarian honeybees, which originally came from Italy. (1000 of which are estimated to have been destroyed by the fires that ravished the western half of the island.) The honey has a taste all of its own because the bees on kangaroo feast mainly on naïve flowers.

Those who enjoyed the tranquility of Australia’s most acclaimed wilderness lodge that seems to float along cliffs, tell tales of wandering among sea lions, lolling on the beach and watching fur seals frolicking in the Southern Ocean. One of their favourite memories was time spent at the Southern Spa, set along a short boardwalk through wild coastal heath. The spa is a secluded satellite from the main lodge that was set on its own above the towering limestone cliffs of the island’s Hanson Bay. It offered simply magical treatments in rooms where the wild Southern Ocean lulled them into soul soothing respite.

Certainly, a coveted spot to keep our eyes on for when the Baillie’s are ready to open again, the glossy black cockatoos make their cocky comeback and destination travel returns.

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