The Great Room, Southern Ocean Lodge

The Great Room, Southern Ocean Lodge

Here's a fun game. When staying on Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia, ask the nearest local how the island got its name, then wait for the exasperated - and possibly swear word-laden - response.


No nonsense nomenclature

Yup, no nonsense nomenclature is a true Australian trait, but more often than not it's also spot on. 'Because there are bloody kangaroos on it' is just one example, but there's another close at hand on this beautiful island.


Suite dreams

Welcome to Southern Ocean Lodge, which also does what it says on the tin, and is one of the slickest new hotels to open anywhere in the world in the last couple of years. The low-rise suites snake along a ridge and the design throughout the lodge is fresh and contemporary, with the suites featuring sunken lounges, bespoke furniture and dramatic glass walled bathrooms.


A great, Great Room

But as far as we're concerned the suites can wait, because this place is all about the - wait for it - Great Room. And there's no doubt about it - this is a great, great room, with unbelievable panoramic views out over crashing breakers to the eponymous Southern Ocean and next stop Antarctica. The centrepiece is the coolest (or should that be hottest?) wood burning stove imaginable, around which guests can cosy up if the weather gets a bit temperamental, nursing a glass of delicious Aussie shiraz and a good book.

Difficult to beat, but if you can drag yourself outside, Kangaroo Island is perhaps the best place to see Australian wildlife up close. Separated from the mainland eons ago, almost half the island is virgin bush and the diverse landscapes provide ideal habitats for many of Australia's unique creatures, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas, possums, bandicoots, platypus, goannas (a large species of lizard) and a vast range of rare and endangered birds.