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“Fantastic personal service and wonderful ambience”

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Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Flinders Chase
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
Adelaide
14
Reviewed 31 May 2006

We had a long weekend at the Wilderness retreat and it was just wonderful. The owners Helen and James were really friendly and helpful and the staff were so lovely too, especially Tammy. The room was huge and really comfortable, and we had our own little balcony to sit out on too which was wonderful at dusk when the wallabies and possoms came out to play.
The food in the restaurant was great too and they even went out of their way to customise dishes for us. They also have a great locally produced wine list.
I would recommend this retreat to anyone, you need a car to get around, but to be able to do KI at your own pace but not have to worry about self catering etc it was just perfect.

4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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309 - 315 of 538 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Albany, Western Australia
14
Reviewed 27 May 2006

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at KIWR. I was there for a week but wished I had much longer. The owners and staff were friendly and welcoming and made me feel right at home. The rooms are comfortable, clean and well-appointed, the location quiet and peaceful. The friendly wallabies and possums that frequent the courtyard were absolutely delightful, although, as with any wild animals, there was no guarantee they would put in an appearance.

Kangaroo Island itself was quite magnificent and the wilderness retreat proved an excellent base from which to explore the attractions at the western end of the island. In addition to being right next door to Flinders Chase National Park, the Retreat is set amongst native bush with an abundance of wildlife. Fairy-wrens were regular visitors to the tree outside my window.

Walks around the tracks at the Retreat revealed plenty of other wildlife including echidnas, goannas, and a wide variety of birds. Birdwatchers will find plenty to occupy themselves – I heard a western whipbird calling, saw young rainbow lorikeets being fed by their parents, plus saw plenty of other birds including superb fairy-wrens and yellow-tailed black cockatoos. A highlight was seeing a young collared sparrowhawk perched on a car one morning just by the entrance to the eco-lodge - it showed no fear, even when I approached to only a couple of metres away. And all this just on the grounds of the retreat!

The KIWR is a perfect place to relax and unwind and I would definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2006

After doing much research - including reading all the reviews here on TripAdvisor - I booked a weekend getaway to the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat (KIWR) during the course of my month-long business trip to Australia this past February/March. Unfortunately, virtually everything about the island - and the KIWR - was a disappointment. Not soon after arriving at KIWR, I renamed it "Motel 8 in the Bush." The layout of the rooms around the center "courtyard" (basically a small, scrubby, bushland-type area) looks exactly like a large stable, with one stall/room right next to each other, offering no privacy whatsoever (I've included a photo). The room itself reminded me of a low-end Holiday Inn or Howard Johnson at best - absolutely nothing more than two stars (definitely NOT the four stars they claim on their website). I travel extensively for business and for pleasure, and I've stayed in everything from five-star hotels to tents that I've packed deep into the remote Canadian wilderness by myself - which is to say that I'm not complaining because the KIWR wasn't "posh" enough - I'm complaining because it absolutely does NOT live up to the promises it makes on its website.

In addition, the two owners - whom others have raved about - were utterly indifferent to me. I arrived full of good feelings and friendliness and the expectation of a warm reception - only to be greeted by people who seemed to consider my arrival an inconvenience. When I departed two days later I asked about a particular bird I'd seen the previous day, and they weren't even able (or interested) to help me identify it - despite the fact that I described it as a large, parrot-shaped bird with pink and gray feathers, which you wouldn't think would be difficult to identify. And it's not, as I soon discoverd when I picked up a "birds of Kangaroo Island" book (the bird was a "Galah") - it's just that either the owners really don't care that much about the wildlife there or they just couldn't be bothered to answer what seemed like a very simple question asked in a very friendly and genuinely curious way.

With the exception of a few wallabies and unremarkable birds, there was no wildlife anywhere to be seen around the retreat. I did several long walks on various trails that lead out from the facility, being sure to be very quiet as I went - but never encountered anything other than a spooked wallaby or two scampering into the underbrush in the distance. I went out in the early mornings, during the day and at nightfall - and it didn't matter, there just wasn't anything alive out there. I see more wildlife in my backyard here in North Carolina. However, this complaint isn't limited just to the KIWR itself - there was very little wildlife to be found ANYWHERE on Kangaroo Island. Despite several extended hikes on different days and at different times and in different parts of Flinders Chase National Park, I saw virtually no wildlife. Two kangaroos looking for handouts in the parking lot of the information center, a couple of large goanas on a hike, two or three colorful birds and some sea lions. Hardly the "Serengeti of Australia" that the Kangaroo Island official website promises (and I've been to the actual Serengeti, so I can tell the difference!). The only thing that didn't disappoint was the Hanson Bay Sanctuary, where I got to see a number of koalas up in the eucalyptus trees - including one koala that actually made a rather spectacular leap from one branch to another (a feat that I wouldn't have thought the little fellow capable of!).

I went to Kangaroo Island and the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat with high hopes for a wildlife-rich experience and a comfortable, secluded "eco-lodge" experience - but was disappointed to discover an island with very little wildlife (and believe me, I searched EVERYWHERE for it) and an accomodation that was much more "motel" than "eco-lodge." At the end of my stay I definitely felt as though the folks marketing both the island and the KIWR had decieved me. I notice that the KIWR owners have a tendency to respond to poor reviews and try to convince other readers that these reviews are inaccurate - and that all the issues could have been fixed "if only the person had come to us" - but that's simply not the case here. Having received a cold reception upon my arrival I wouldn't have been inclined to go to them anyway, but they wouldn't have been able to magically change the facility to match the sales pitch on their website or make animals suddenly appear where there aren't any! Overall, it was very much a letdown - enough so that I felt compelled to post a review - which I very rarely do - so that others could learn from my (disappointing) experience.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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31  Thank DrSWatson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2006

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Resort? Well it's on KI and it's certainly in the wilderness - the nearest shop, apart from Flinders Chase NP, is at least half an hours drive. Resort - I don't think so - it's a collection of average wooden chalets with not much else to offer. OK there are some tame wallabies and some less tame possums in the courtyard but apart from that it was pretty low on the animal quota on our night walks. Have seen more in 5 minutes in a moonlit stroll in TAS. So it fails for me as a Resort.

The chalets are of a reasonable size and fitted with a bed, sofa, fridge and TV. The rooms are not quiet and if there are parties sitting outside on their balcony then you'll have to keep the door closed.

Restaurant seems to have two sittings and closes fairly early. The menu is limited but good choice of local food and very good range of KI wines at reasonable price. Service is friendly and efficient, but would be nice to have a minute between starter and main course. The starters are fantastic and very different to usual hotel fare - the Medley of Dips and Breads sounds simple but was excellent. Also the Smoked Atlantic Stack is unusual but delicious. The mains - the meat/fish was great but the vegetables and sauces more than a little strange. Marinated Lamb Backstrap was really nice but was served with a large croquette of what tasted like mashed paper towel and also two separate sauces on the plate - first a wine reduction (I think) and a curry based sauce - really didn't complement the meal at all.

The owners are friendly and knowledgeable and the location is great and remote but didn't work for me

  • Stayed: February 2006
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11  Thank AFrequentTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 28 March 2006

As owners and hosts of the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat we are extremely concerned our guests from Surrey had such a disappointing stay, contrary to the opinions of many of our other guests. We certainly wish their disappointment was expressed to us personally, so that we may have had a chance to rectify any issues, before expressing them publicly.

One of the main issues which seems to have contributed to their disappointing stay is a belief that we were a Resort when in actual fact, as our name suggests, we are a Wilderness Retreat. The size of our establishment along with our self-sufficient and eco-friendly nature all suggest we are a Retreat or Lodge style complex rather than a Resort.

Unfortunately we can not guarantee an abundance of wildlife at all times apart from our resident Wallabies & Possums. If a guest has a particular interest in certain wildlife they can not find, we can suggest areas near the Retreat or perhaps a guided night walk at the Sanctuary adjacent. It is worth noting that some times of the year, such as the end of summer when this guest stayed, can be a particularly poor time to see wildlife, as there is very little food around until the first rains arrive.

Many of the other issues raised could have easily been addressed if the problems were communicated to us during their stay. We are owner operators and take pride in knowing each one of our guests is enjoying their stay therefore it is disconcerting to see negative comments second hand. We have contacted the guests personally to apologise for their disappointing stay and to reimburse them for the meal which was not to their liking.

If you are thinking about staying with us in the future I can assure you the opinions of this guest are not consistent with glowing comments expressed by the majority of our guests.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2006

This hotel is an absolute gem. Set 5 minutes drive from Flinders Chase National Park, which is breathtaking, and worth a few days of anyone's life. The food really is world class, and the log cabins are extremely well appointed. The owners are very friendly, so are the staff, and they really bend over backwards to make sure you have a good time. And you have the added bonus of sharing the place with a bunch of wallabies!

5  Thank annierose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 December 2005

You have to stay here, why. If its wildlife you come to see, they actually come to you!. We arrived on the 6.45 pm ferry, so it was getting dark when we arrived on the island, which means the wildlife starts popping out from everywhere. This slows down your progress so we didn't arrive at the resort until after 9pm. The staff were kind enough to cook a meal for us which was delicious. The food is brilliant (i think its cooked by james and helens mum). Possums and wallabies are seen each night outside the dining room and in the central grassed area between the rooms. The rooms are wooden cabin type construction which keeps in tone with the surroundings. The room was very clean and may have recently decorated (as there weren't any pictures on the walls). Its at the far end of the island nearest to the national park which was really handy for exploring. Unfortunately 2 nights weren't enough for us and we would love to go back and stay there again.

  • Stayed: November 2005
    • Value
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10  Thank chinaflyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Melbourne Australia
18
Reviewed 24 October 2005

We have just spent a week away, three nights being on Kangaroo Island.
A wonderful, unspoiled island with wild life, sensational scenery, interesting history and enterprising cottage industries.
Situated right on the edge of the Chase National Park is the Wilderness Resort.
This is a little gem, where the wallabies and possums are part of the Resort.
The accomodation is comfortable and the food at the restaurant is delicious. a menu to suit all tastes with a large selection of local wines all served with great style.
The young couple who run this Resort are most courteous, helpful and interested to make your stay a positive experience.
We thoroughly recommend this as a place to visit.

8  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat

Address: Lot 1 South Coast Road, Flinders Chase, Kangaroo Island, South Australia 5223, Australia
Region: Australia > South Australia > Kangaroo Island > Flinders Chase
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Flinders Chase
Price Range: £93 - £176 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat 3.5*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Perfectly situated adjacent Flinders Chase National Park a unique mix of eco-friendly facilities, local food and wine and located in the middle of the forrest provide an unforgettable wilderness experience. The idyllic location provides the perfect base for discovering the splendor of Kangaroo Island's natural wonders before returning to the tranquillity of the retreat to enjoy comfortable accommodation in the company of friendly native animals and an amazing array of birdlife. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat Hotel Flinders Chase
Hotel Kangaroo Island
Wilderness Retreat Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat Flinders Chase

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