Australia

Published on June 1st, 2013 | by Ann Rickard

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Delight the Senses – visit Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island – a brisk ferry ride or a short plane hop from Adelaide – is a place of nature’s gifts.

It is a wildlife sanctuary without fences, an atoll of sea-pounded cliffs and artistic rock formations, an adventure park of towering sand dunes, shimmering lagoons and dense forest.

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But we were there to eat.

When you have celebrity chef George Calombaris preparing abalone for 150 people in a pop-up marquee at Kingscote Wharf on a balmy moonlit night and Maggie Beer setting up to present a Roman Feast, nature’s gifts can wait awhile.

Kangaroo Island - George

It was the weekend of the Kangaroo Island Feastival and a bounty of island produce and wines had to be addressed. Locally distilled gin, too. More about that in a minute.

Kangaroo Island Feastival is a celebration of the island’s fast-growing reputation as a food and wine destination.DSC00647

It kicked off with a grand dinner. Visitors packed the marquee to meet local producers and winemakers and to eat roast goose and marron and yabbies from a menu prepared by Calombaris. Indulgent. But there was learning, too.

The next day at Clifford’s Honey Farm the Ligurian bees, brought to Kangaroo Island from Italy, were going about their high-yield work to help owners expand their range of honey products. Kangaroo Island, or KI as it is called by the 4600 locals, is the only place in the world with a population of wild bees.

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Licking cones of honey ice-cream kept us quiet for a while. So too did the tasting of premium wines at Islander Estate Vineyard, part owned by Frenchman Jacques Lurton.

After the wine, sheep called for our attention. You might think (as we shamefully did) that watching sheep being milked at the Island Pure Sheep Dairy and Cheese factory is a bit too country.

But these KI sheep are groomed and pampered, happy to follow each other into a milking room fully on display to visitors, where they eat while their prized milk is drawn. The quality of the cheeses and yogurts produced from their milk leaves you in no doubt why these sheep are so mollycoddled.DSC00698

Gin came after the sheep. This is an island of pleasing diversity.

That night over a gin-inspired dinner at Kangaroo Island Spirits, South Australia’s first boutique distillery, we learnt the history of gin (you might be surprised to know distilling goes back to the first century AD) from Jon and Sarah Lark who hand-make high-quality liqueurs and spirits on their property.

A blind gin tasting proved we were no gin experts but willing pupils and a gin-inspired five-course dinner showed us anything is possible with a little imagination and a good drop.

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Food and wine might be king and queen on KI during Festival time, but the wildlife rules throughout the year.

Fat sea lions pose for the camera between diving and dozing at Seal Bay – the same goes for the koalas, and a kangaroo seems to be waiting for you around every corner.

Then there is the jaw-dropping splendour of the KI coastline with surf-pounded cliffs, tranquil coves and vast stretches of sand.

Accommodation options are as many as they are varied.

We loved the space and comfort of the Aurora Ozone Hotel at Kingscote.

/kangaroo-island. Ann

KI will have its way with you whether you are there for the food, the wine, the scenery or the wildlife.

The writer was a guest of South Australia Tourism Commission

For more Infomation –  Tourism Kangaroo Island

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About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.



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