Start your day with a delicious breakfast at the Emu Bay Lavender Farm. They’re famous for their lavender scones (legitimate breakfast food, we think), but there’s so much more on the menu. They have a stunning setting, and when the scent of lavender is in the air, how can the morning be anything but relaxing?
Work off breakfast with a stroll along this stunning 5km beach, one of the most popular on Kangaroo Island. The sheltered north coast waters are mostly calm and clear, making it a great spot for a morning swim. The main car park also has a playground where the kids can work off breakfast or explore the jetty for sea creatures.
From Emu Bay, head off the bitumen along Boxer Road for a shortcut to your first wine tasting at The Islander Estate Vineyards. Stop en route to check out the White Lagoon salt lake. This road will take you past traditional farming properties, and at the right time of year, you’ll pass stunning fields of bright yellow canola.
Start your tasting day with an introduction to our world of wine at The Islander Estate Vineyards. Our team will welcome you for a hosted tasting of our French-influenced cool climate wines crafted by our owner, Jacques Lurton.
After a career spanning several decades making wine in his native Bordeaux and around the world, Jacques fell in love with Kangaroo Island in 2000, purchased a property and established a vineyard with a vision to showcase the true potential of our Island region on the world stage of wine. On Kangaroo Island, Jacques combines his expertise and traditional French winemaking techniques with the freedom of winemaking offered in Australia. The result is a range of wines that blend old and new-world wine styles.
Just a few minutes drive from The Islander Estate’s cellar door, you'll discover Duck Lagoon, a stunning natural lagoon. It's home to a huge array of birds, echidnas and resident koalas. With picnic facilities, BBQs, toilets and a bird hide, it's a fantastic spot to relax with a picnic while the kids explore and count how many different animal species they can spot.
Continue exploring the Cygnet River Artisan trail with a visit to Kangaroo Island Spirits for a paddle of their award-winning gins, or settle in the garden with a cocktail. Their new cellar door development is truly stunning, and if you have the time, you can even join in a cocktail masterclass (book ahead). www.kangarooislandspirits.com.au
Our pick: We can’t help but be partial to the Kangaroo Island Coastal Vodka featuring samphire hand-picked locally from Kangaroo Island's shores.
Our neighbours and great friends, Joch and Louise Bosworth have a fantastic reputation for their organic wines in McLaren Vale under their labels Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed Wine Co. So we were excited when they also fell in love with Kangaroo Island and purchased an established vineyard in Cygnet River in 2016. Springs Road Wines bring a new dimension to the Kangaroo Island wine industry, and their intimate tasting room set overlooking the vineyard is a must-visit for any lover. www.springsroad.com.au
Our wine pick: James Halliday’s 2021 Wine Companion rates the Springs Road Wines Kangaroo Island Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2018 at 94 points, and we can’t argue with that.
Vineyards don’t get much closer to the ocean than at Bay of Shoals. Their cellar door overlooking Reeves Point and the Bay of Shoals is a great place to wind up your tasting tour. Their wines are grown, harvested and made onsite alongside the Cellar Door, offering guided tastings and build-your-own platters to enjoy outdoors overlooking the bay. www.bayofshoalswines.com.au
Finish your day with dinner in Kingscote. Our favourite places to dine:
The Ozone Hotel for great quality pub fare (www.ozonehotelki.com.au/restaurant-bar),
Café Bella for Italian cuisine (www.bellacafekangarooisland.com.au). Or for something special,
The Odd Plate the choice for a more upmarket dining experience. Located in a charming 1927 heritage guesthouse overlooking the beautiful Nepean Bay in Kingscote, offering a shared plate concept with a menu receiving rave reviews. Bookings: www.theoddplate.com.au
Get a good night’s rest because tomorrow has a whole new day of Cellar Door touring in store!
There’s no shortage of unique luxury accommodation options within reach of today’s trail. Some of our very favourite places to settle in are:
At Emu Bay, Hamilton and Dune www.hamiltondune.com.au and Copperstone Kangaroo Island www.copperstoneki.com
On the northwest coast, Lifetime Private Retreats www.life-time.com.au and Top Deck at Snellings Beach www.topdeckatsnelling.com. New in the luxury market is Wander Kangaroo Island www.wander.com.au/locations/kangarooisland/
At Stokes Bay, Stow Away offers absolute luxury for couples. www.stowawayki.com.au
Start your day in Penneshaw with breakfast at Millie Mae’s Pantry. This café has become a star of the east end’s eating scene. Treat yourself to local pastries, great coffee, fresh juices, or a cooked breakfast. They’ll even wet your whistle with a mimosa made with The Islander Estate Vineyards Petiyante sparkling.www.milliemaespantry.com
Just a few minutes walk along the Penneshaw foreshore from Millie Mae’s, this sculpture trail is a constant evolution, set amongst 4.5 hectares of dunes overlooking stunning Hog Bay beach with views back to the mainland.
The 1.5 kms of the trail, winds through the dunes and features lookouts, steps, boardwalks, a swing bridge, seating, and scenic views with a surprise at every turn. Stunning sculptures are dotted along the trail with new installations always appearing, each one bringing to life an aspect of our Island’s culture, community, and natural environment.
If you have kids on board with some energy still to burn, the ‘locals secret’ Wallaby Track a little further along the foreshore is an entirely different trail for the little visitors to explore. Look out for the signs at the start of this 3 km return hike which follows a spring-fed creek bed with naturally occurring waterfalls (in winter) into limestone features. Look out along the way for hidden animals, real and play. Find it here.
Head out of Penneshaw on the road towards Cape Willoughby lighthouse, and you can’t miss Dudley Wines cellar door. Relax on the deck with a pizza or platter and a wine paddle while you look back over the Backstairs Passage to mainland Australia and see if you can spot a whale. They have a great nature playground for little kids and a golf tee for the big ones. The Howards have a true family-run business incorporating wine and traditional farming on Kangaroo Island. www.dudleywines.com.au
After lunch, continue on the road towards Cape Willoughby lighthouse. After about 10 minutes, you’ll spy the signs for Lashmar Conservation Park, which includes the vast Antechamber Bay and the Chapman River flowing to the sea. A wonderland for kids, take the second Southern turn-off, and you’ll pass a great variety of picnic and camping spots dotted along the river. Continue to the end of this trail, and you’ll come to a picnic area beyond with a magical grove of stringybark trees to play amongst and gently sloping riverbanks, perfect for paddling, feeding the fish or kayaking.
Make your way down onto the Antechamber Bay beach, where you can walk on white sand for miles. Stunning views back to mainland Australia make this a tempting spot to stop for a play or an afternoon nap. Explore more here.
At the most easterly point of the island, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse has stood guard over this part of the Kangaroo Island coastline since 1852. A guided tour offers the chance to walk in the shoes of the lighthouse keepers and their families who worked 24 hours a day to assist the safe journey of ships passing through the treacherous stretch of water known as Backstairs Passage. Explore here.
Hint: While you’re here, stop and explore Windmill Bay's stunning granite boulders and surf.
After leaving Cape Willoughby, head west along Willson River Road & stop in for a wine & a platter at False Cape Wines. Their grapes are grown locally onsite & wine is made by the Follets of Lake Breeze Wines in Langhorne Creek. With a lovely outlook & plenty to keep the kids happy, it's well worth a stop. www.falsecapewines.com.au
Head back along Cape Willoughby Road and turn left onto Willson River Road until you come to East-West Road. From here, within 10 minutes, you’ll roll down the hill towards the coastline, landing at Brown Beach campground. A stunning place to pop open a bottle of wine you’ve collected during the day for a sundowner while the kids play or swim in the safe waters. Explore more.
If you’re equipped, take advantage of the excellent BBQ facilities here and stay for a casual dinner, head to American River to the Reflections Restaurant at the Mercure Hotel (see below) or otherwise complete your day's loop with a short drive back into Penneshaw for dinner at the Penneshaw Hotel (known as ‘The Penny’ by the locals).
Our favourite Dudley Peninsula dining options:
Sunset Food & Wine: Kangaroo Island foodies are doing a happy dance that Jack Ingram & Vanessa Chu are reopening the east end’s icon restaurant for the summer season. A modern bistro focusing on local produce, Sunset Food & Wine combines stunning views overlooking American Beach, a killer wine list & elegant dishes that are a work of art. Opening season - October to April (closed May to September). Bookings: www.sunsetfoodandwine.com
The Shy Wren, Penneshaw: The team at The Shy Wren offer a wine bar/kitchen/providore concert, a great place to enjoy a glass of local wine, a perfectly made cocktail and some share-style plates : www.facebook.com/theshywren
Two of our favourite places to stay on the eastern end of Kangaroo Island are: American River, Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge www.kilodge.com.au or Cape Willoughby, Sea Dragon Lodge: www.seadragonlodge.com.au
Let a local do the driving, there’s a range of local guides now offering unique cellar door trail experiences, two of our favourites: Exceptional Kangaroo Island www.exceptionalkangarooisland.com or Kangaroo Island Hire A Guide www.kiguide.com.au.