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The Islander Estate Vineyards

News & Reviews

We love sharing our wines and our favourite parts of our beautiful Kangaroo Island.  Our blog shares our team's favourite ways to get the most from your visit when you're exploring Kangaroo Island.  And of course we like to share the latest news and wine reviews with you too!

Cath Williams
 
24 July 2020 | Cath Williams

The Islander Estate’s favourite things to see & do on Kangaroo Island in winter

It’s a secret mostly only known by 'Islanders'.
Kangaroo Island may receive most visitors in warmer months,
but it is at its most beautiful in Winter. 

Spectacular windswept coastline, deserted beaches washed clean by the sea, stunning green fields full of winter lambs, wildlife in abundance.  And the best part?  You can join the locals in feeling like you have the Island almost to yourself.

With so many South Australians holidaying at home this year, the secret is out.  And local businesses like ours are loving having the Island humming during winter.  So, The Islander Estate team are sharing our favourite ways to make the most of Kangaroo Island during these stunning cool months.

Meander the delicious Tasting Trail

Where else could we start but with the opportunity to spend time with our fantastic array of local producers?
Our cellar doors and farm gates are so much quieter in winter.  Producers are always happy to see you and they have plenty of time to stop for a chat to share their story - and to learn yours.

Central to the Island, Cygnet River trail offers two cellar doors (The Islander Estate Vineyards and our neighbours Springs Road Wines), Australia’s most awarded gin at Kangaroo Island Spirits and the cosy, rustic Frogs N Roses the perfect spot for a handmade pizza by the fire (and save room for their fantastic cheesecake).

If you enjoy a brew as much as wine, then Kangaroo Island Brewery is a fantastic spot a little further afield on the way to Emu Bay.  Stop for a paddle of their fantastic hand-built beers by the fire (check their Facebook page for opening days).  A little along the road Emu Bay Lavender are super popular for their lavender products and their café fare – their lavender scones are legendary. 

Back a little towards Kingscote, the wine tasting trail continues at Bay of Shoals wines just five minutes outside of Kingscote.  You can’t visit Kangaroo Island without experiencing our famous Ligurian honey – both Island Beehive and Cliffords Honey Farm are worth a stop.

Head east, stop in at The Oyster Farm Shop in American River – oysters are at their prime in winter.  Then continue the tasting trail at Dudley Wines and the fantastic new False Cape Wines cellar door, their platters are fantastic.

 

A bird watcher's paradise

Kangaroo Island has over 260 bird species and they abound in winter in many sheltered spots.

Just minutes from The Islander Estate Tasting Room, Duck Lagoon fills with winter rains and attracts a huge array of birdlife (you might see more than one Koala sharing the trees with the birds).  Stop in for a visit at our Tasting Room, grab a bottle of wine, cheeses and French charcuterie then spend a peaceful hour or two picnicking and bird watching.

Stormy southerlies from the Southern Ocean often bring in albatross and other pelagic species – Cape du Couedic is a favourite location for local birders. Endangered Glossy Black-cockatoo are nesting at this time of year and feeding near Penneshaw, American River and Stokes Bay, as are Yellow-tailed Cocktaoos. Cape Barren Geese are also seen in abundance with their young during winter. Be sure to view nesting areas from afar to avoid disturbing nesting pairs.

In the quiet of winter evenings (the stars on Kangaroo Island are definitely worth an evening venture), you may hear Cuckoos calling – hearingtheir distintictive “mo-poke... mo-poke” call is something special.

 

Kangaroo Island winter beach walks

Stormy Beach Walks

Nothing is as refreshing as a beach walk during a winter storm to restore the soul – and of course to give you a good excuse to recover with an afternoon curled up with a wine by the fire.

For spectacular rolling surf, visit the south coast beaches like D’Estrees Bay, Vivonne Bay and Hanson Bay.  Kangaroo Island's north coast offers more protected beach walks, washed clean by the rain.  Our favourites include Western River Cove, Snellings Beach and Stokes Bay 

In the east of the Island, Antechamber Bay is truly spectacular and you can follow up a beach walk with a sheltered picnic by nearby Chapman River.

 

Winter lambs in the fields on Kangaroo Island

Green fields full of new life

Nothing represents the renewal that Winter brings to our region like vibrant green fields full of bounding baby lambs, bright white with their new wool. They represent the promise of future prosperity for our region’s farmers and they simply make you smile.  It's worth keeping an eye out in paddocks all over the Island and stopping the car to watch their antics.

At this time of year Echidnas begin breeding, if you see an Echidna train it’s a very lucky day indeed so keep an eye out on roadside verges and wherever you are hiking.  And baby joeys begun venturing from their mother’s pouch to feed all over the Island, but often visible at Pelican Lagoon.

Winter beach fishing on Kangaroo Island

Hauling in a bounty 

Kangaroo Islanders often say the best meal you can have is fish, freshly caught yourself, cooked and shared with friends (with a fantastic local wine of course). 

The weather may be a little wilder, but the fishing can be at its best during winter, especially in the calm that follows a storm, when the fish often bite the hardest.  Whether you are fishing from a beach, a jetty or boat, bringing home your bag limit of our famous King George Whiting is a satisfying way to spend a day.  They are at their plump best in winter and extra active as they breed.

Salmon Trout can be caught from beaches like Hanson Bay (our tip, cooked super fresh in a beer batter perfect with Pinot Gris) and squid from jetties.  If you have a boat, Nannygai are great catching and eating.

Do make sure you’re familiar with Kangaroo Island’s protected by Marine Parks and Marine Park Sanctuary Zones and bag and size limits before you head out fishing.  Get all the essential info from Tourism Kangaroo Island's KI Fishing Guide. Or for a guaranteed catch, hook up with one of Kangaroo Island’s fishing charters and let the experts find the fish.

And if you can't catch them yourself, stock up in American River at The Oyster Farm Shop or KI Fresh Seafoods in Kingscote for the freshest local fish.


Southern Wright Whale in the waters around Kangaroo Island

Watching monsters leap from the sea

There are over 80 whale species in the world, 29 of these species visit our South Australian waters each year.

The Southern Right Whale, one of the largest, weighs up to 80 tons and grows to 18 metres in length. They are the most frequent whale visitors to Kangaroo Island waters, and often travel past between May and September before they return to Antarctic waters in October. Look for them close inshore right around the coast. Mothers may rest with young in more sheltered bays.

Blue Whales and Humpback Whales also visit, and Killer Whales (Orcas) sometimes drop by for a seal meal.

 

Kangaroo Island's native orchids flower in Winter

Hunting for native orchids

With such amazing vistas and coastlines, it can easy to focus on the wider landscape when taking a winter hike on Kangaroo Island.

But for a mindfulness exercise that will have you reconnecting with the details and forgetting everything, there is no better activity a hunt for our native orchids. With over 80 native species, a hunt for these tiny but spectacular flower really makes you slow to a meander and absorb the beauty to be found on a micro-level.

Whether it’s these tiny flowers, lichen and fungi, flowering native ground shrubs or the spectacular Wattle it’s worth slowing down and meandering.

One of our favourite spots is American River’s Cannery Walk.  Find out more here

Cooking around the campfire is a special Kangaroo Island winter experience

Slow cooking over a Bonfire

Gather your mates, light a fire, have a few wines while you wait for the coals to burn low, then nestle a camp oven on the coals.  It takes a while to cook but there's nothing better than passing the time with good conversation, plenty of red wine and a jam if you have a guitar on hand.

Spending an afternoon this way is iconicially Kangaroo Island.  And there’s nothing better than slow cooked local lamb, vegetables and red wine simmered for hours.

So what are you waiting for?  Start planning your cool season trip to Kangaroo Island. 
We'll see you soon!

Tourism Kangaroo Island
South Australian Tourism Commission
Time Posted: 24/07/2020 at 9:00 AM
Cath Williams
 
7 April 2020 | Cath Williams

Our top 10 post-corona wine connections moments



10 ways our team will be reconnecting 
over a few wines post "the rona"

If you're like us at The Islander Estate Vineyards, you're passing isolation-time dreaming of all the things you'll do as soon as we're free to move around as we used to. 

And won't we all just appreciate the simple things so much more?  This is our team's list of way's we'll be re-connecting with the people and the place we love.
 

1.  At our heart centre

We had to start here.  It's our passion to connect with visitors to our share stories,
our passions & a good chat over a glass of wine.  

So many wine lovers from all over the world come to spend their precious holiday time with us learning a little about why Kangaroo Island is the world's undiscovered wine treasure.
We miss that connection dearly & can't wait to crack open our best wines for tasting and throw open the door to our Tasting Room.  Next time you visit, treat yourself to a Flagship wine tasting.

2.  Simple pleasures with family and friends

Is there anything better than the simple pleasures Kangaroo Island offers
like beach fishing while the sun sets? 

Finishing a day on KI with fresh fish you've caught yourself is unbeatable. We love doing it with the people we love & a great glass of wine by our side (we recommend our Pinot Gris with local fish). 

Our favourite spots for an evening fish?  We'll it's hard to beat Snellings Beach on our stunning north coast, Brown Beach on the Dudley Peninsula (if you're lucky for a few flathead) or Emu Bay for a family favourite (park the car up  on the beach, open the boot so you have somewhere to rest your wine & cheese platter).
 

3.  Campfire Catch-ups

If you live on Kangaroo Island, or you love visiting,
it's pretty much assured you love camping. 

With the cooler seasons coming on, we'll be packing up & heading out with friends with a bottle (or 10) of red and plenty of firewood to get us through the night - in our book the Majestic Plough Malbec is perfect for sharing with friends on cool nights. 
Our top Kangaroo Island camping spots?  Antechamber Bay campground where you can camp right next to the river & have a stunning beach just a few minutes away.  Stokes Bay Campground with the fantastic Rockpool Cafe right next door & one of the best beaches on the Island.  Vivonne Bay on the south coast to watch the surf roll in.

 

4.  Over a meal at our amazing local restaurants

Dinner with friends - oh how we can't wait

With a selection of Kangaroo Island restaurants each showcasing local cuisine in their own unique way & we can't wait to get out & enjoy it with friends again.
Whether its refined cuisine & spectacular views at Sunset Food & Wine, rustic seafood at Rockpool Cafe, high end pub food at the Ozone Hotel, Italian fare at the intimate Bella Cafe or contemporary cuisine in peaceful surrounds at Reflections Restaurant in American River, just to name of few options.

 

5.  Connecting to nature in our interior

Kangaroo Island has spectacular beaches & coastline,
but the interior comes to life in the cooler months. 

We love heading inland for a walk amongst nature - finished off with a picnic & wine of course!  There are so many spectacular inland hikes across the whole Island, many remain open after January's bushfires & the regeneration of bushland will be spectacular as winter progresses.
Or book a weekend away at one of the Island's many nature-based accommodation like our wonderful friends at Ecopia Retreat, where nature is right on your doorstep.

6.  Cool season weekends away with friends

If you're a Kangaroo Island local, then you know
the cooler seasons are the best time on Kangaroo Island.

Fires lit all season, stormy walks on the beach, flora & fauna at their peak (& the best season for fishing).  Plus, in these quieter seasons it feels almost like the Island is just yours.  We'll be inviting friends to reconnect with a weekend (or week) on the Island. 
If we're lucky we'll do it at spectacular accommodation like Hamilton & Dune - what a stunning place for long chats, board games & wine by the fire.  Pop some local lamb in the slow cooker to simmer all day & pair it with the Old Rowley for a simple but spectacular shared meal.

7.  Friday night sunset beach catchups

Friday night post-work wine on the beach - it's a Kangaroo Island ritual

Kids running wild in the surf, mates downloading news of the week.  For Islander's it beats rush hour traffic & crowded bars hands-down. 
Our absolute favourite for beach sundowners is The Rose but when even we can't get it, we turn to our other bestie SoFar SoGood Sauvignon Blanc all those tropical fruit notes suit the setting so well. Popular spots include Hog Bay Penneshaw, Island Beach and Emu Bay.

8.  Sharing home cooked feasts

Who else is brushing up on their cooking skills during home isolation? 
We can't wait to share all the new dishes we've learned with mates & family.

While we're all home cooking right now with our isolation-buddies, there's nothing like spending the whole day preparing a feast for extended family & friends. 
It's an act of love that deserves some cracking wines to while away the afternoon (Bark Hut Road hits the spot & pairs with so many dishes).  How spectacular is the spot at Lifetime Retreat's The Cliff House?  

9.  Family picnics

The simple act of sunshine, a picnic rug, friends or family & the shade of a tree

Don't we miss the simple things?  For us picnics need be no further than the lawns of our Tasting Room.
But we also love putting together a picnic of French charcuterie from Les Deux Coq, Alexandrina Fleurieu Peninsula cheeses, local produce & wine for guests (SoFar SoGood Shiraz is our favourite picnic red), then sending them to our team's favourite picnic spots.   Just a few minutes away from the Tasting Room in Cygnet River, Duck Lagoon is a great place to start. 

10. Getting the team back together

What are we most excited about?  Getting back to the business of wine.

Between January's bushfires & the current Coronavirus we're most excited about the prospect of having the full team back together at The Islander Estate Vineyards.
Later in the year we hope to begin welcoming guests back for private barrel room tastings & to see the vineyard rejuvenation.  It's a prospect that drives us forward in our mission to make the region's best wines.

We thank you for support during this difficult time,
we appreciate every order we receive online &
we can't wait to connect over a wine very soon.

Time Posted: 07/04/2020 at 11:30 AM
Cath Williams
 
5 January 2019 | Cath Williams

15 Things to do on Kangaroo Island

Travel journalist Irene Issacon travelled to Kangaroo Island for Travel2Next and shares her 15 must-do things to include in your itinerary to Kangaroo Island.  Thanks for the recommendation Irene!

Read her article on Travel2Next here

Time Posted: 05/01/2019 at 4:31 PM