Oceanview Eco Villas review, Kangaroo Island, South Australia: The alternative to Southern Ocean Lodge

Our rating

4 out of 5

The Place

At the edge of a field which leads to a ruddy, isolated beach, two luxury villas sit, far apart enough for those in residence not to notice the existence of the other. Despite their location on the opposite end of the island, their clifftop locale is immediately reminiscent of Southern Ocean Lodge; and because they have fewer guests to house, they perhaps offer more of that "splendid isolation" Kangaroo Island does so well. Open for 18 months, the villas are run by islanders Tim and Tamsin Wendt, who wanted to work in harmony with the environment to create an off-grid, fully hosted experience. It will come as no surprise to learn that some of those involved in building Southern Ocean Lodge were also employed here.

The Location

Oceanview is situated at the head of north-facing Nepean Bay which looks out towards Kingscote and the Yorke Peninsula. This under-the-radar part of the island is called Redbanks, named for its ochre-red cliffs that line the deserted beach below, which guests can access. The villas sit on 202 hectares  of property, including grassland inhabited by kangaroos who magically appear at dusk. They're actually members of the tribe previously fostered by the couple as joeys and successfully returned to the wild. 

The Villas

No stone has been left unturned in the environmentally-friendly design, that does not compromise on customer experience. Working on a 160-kilometre footprint, 99 per cent of the build materials have been sourced in South Australia. The carpets, have been made from old fishnets; the decking from milk cartons, and a natural air circulation system keeps things cool. The bespoke furnishings have also been created by South Australian companies, and everything is comfortable and modern, without imposing on the natural surroundings.

Each villa has two bedrooms, walk-in wardrobe and bathrooms at each end of the house, separated by an open lounge, dining area and a kitchen. The rooms have floor to ceiling windows, including the beautiful bathroom where they've placed a tub by the window, inviting long candlelit soaks with a glass of local wine. The blinds in the bedroom are operated by remote control, negating the need to get out of bed to capture the sunrise - its north-facing position means that both sunsets and sunrises can be enjoyed here.

The Service

Tim, Tamsin and another staff member cook and serve every meal. Tim is a former tour guide and can help with advice on what to see and do around the island. Everything you need is in the villa, and the mini-bar is included in the rate.

The Food

In another nod to Southern Ocean Lodge, Tamsin, a former clinical psychologist, worked with two of its former chefs every week to learn how to cook for guests. Two-course breakfasts and three-course dinners are included in the package, sourced mostly from island producers, and artfully presented -  far from homestyle cooking. Breakfast may include colourful fruit platters, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and Fleurieu yoghurt with toffee and berries and for dinner, pan-grilled line-caught whiting (from Investigator Strait out the front) with fresh vegetables. They are, of course all served at your own dining room table and "dressing for dinner" is strongly discouraged.  The mini-bar includes Islander wine, KI beer plus soft drinks and snacks, which are handy to hijack for your daily excursions, as breakfast and dinner are plentiful.

Stepping Out

There's no escaping the fact you need a car on Kangaroo Island, and if you have wheels, they can take you anywhere your heart desires. In close proximity, however, are some of the island's great producers. Kangaroo Island Spirits, KI Brewery and the airport are about 20 minutes away - over on Dudley Peninsula, Dudley Wines and False Bay wines might be a pleasant stop on the way back to the villas after sightseeing.

The Verdict

Luxury and comfort can sometimes be opposing features when it comes to accommodation, but Oceanview has both. While they can't offer expensive French wines or chauffeured tours or even a spa like Southern Ocean Lodge, nothing says "relax" more than being served cocktails and a three-course dinner in a robe in your own space after a long day of sightseeing.

Essentials

Rates start at $1050 per person per night with a minimum two-night stay. That rate decreases with each additional guest. The villas are located at 31 Point Morrison Road, Nepean Bay, Kangaroo Island; contact info@oceanviewki.com.au; oceanviewkangarooisland.com.au

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Highlights

 Jock, the friendly kangaroo joey who the couple adopted after his mother died in a car accident. One of many the couple have taken care of, Jock loves attention (and possibly food) and will happily spend time with you on the villa's deck. He'd also love to join you inside for dinner, but he's not allowed.

Lowlights

Having to return to the property at 6pm for dinner can be both a blessing and a curse.

The writer was a guest of SATC