Discover this Australian gem in the off season, when there are no crowds but plenty of chances to see the 'roos and rare wildlife that make the island so special.
1 of 5Photo courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge
Kangaroo Island is a unique destination, but it's also everything you hope for in Australia: The famous marsupials hop around a brilliant green landscape, some with curious joeys peeking from their pouches. Bone-white crescents of beach are home to fur seals and sea lions—even penguins on the north end of the island—and towering eucalyptus trees support koalas as they snack on leaves.
Autumn into winter (March through August) is the best time to visit for virtually no crowds of people; hiking and beach-bound adventures give you the feeling that you have this slice of the country to yourself.
2 of 5Photo courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge
The Southern Ocean Lodge is an architectural stunner with 21 cliffside suites that overlook the waters of Hanson Bay. The interior feels like a ship captain's home—the Great Room's curved wall of floor-to-ceiling windows also provides views of the bay; cozy, white-cushioned swivel chairs are oriented to the sea alongside blond timber tables.
With rooms named after local shipwrecks—more than 80 have been recorded here since 1836—the windows overlook the landscape and the bay from any spot in the suite.
3 of 5Photo courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge
A stay at Southern Ocean Lodge includes guided tours that highlight Kangaroo Island's many jaw-dropping features. If adventure isn't your game, the lodge also features a spa with a soothing, oceanview sitting area and private massage rooms.
Wonders of KI Tour: Drive 30 minutes to Cape du Couedic lighthouse at Flinders Chase National Park. The active, sandstone tower opened in 1909 after some of the island's worst wrecks happened at Flinders Cove. Next head down to Admirals Arch and the fur seal colony before stopping at Remarkable Rocks (pictured). 500-million-year-old granite boulders warped and eroded into bizarre shapes afford one of the island's best views.
4 of 5Photo courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge
See and Taste
Seal Bay: Start the morning at Seal Bay—the third-largest colony of Australian sea lions in the country. In the summer, Seal Bay is packed with people. But in the off season, it's anything but touristy. Although it's illegal to touch them, allow the playful sea lions (and pups!) to act as your morning entertainment.
Bay of Shoals Wines: Winery tours are growing more popular on the island; thanks to the temperate climate, some vineyards grow right along the shore. The vineyard overlooks the Bay of Shoals and Reeves Point—South Australia's first settlement. Today the winery produces 16 styles of wine that come from vines that grow just 30 meters from the water—thought to be the closest to the sea anywhere in the world.
5 of 5Photo courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge
Plan Your Trip
Get there: Fly Qantas airlines from Los Angeles, California (LAX), to Adelaide (ADL), about an 18-hour flight. From Adelaide, it's a 30-minute Regional Express (Rex) flight to Kingscote, the capital of Kangaroo Island.
Stay: Rates at the Southern Ocean Lodge start at $990 per person and include all dining, open bar with premium wines and spirits, in-suite bar, selected guided Kangaroo Island experiences, and island airport transfers; 931/924-5253 or southernoceanlodge.com.au.