If you follow our Instagram account you may have noticed our love affair/infatuation with Kangaroo Island. And how could you blame us, really? Each and every photo of this magical piece of South Australia that we stumble across is more breathtaking than the last!
It goes without saying that these gorgeous pics got us more and more tempted, and over the Christmas break we may have dabbled in a little trip… After our getaway we have to say, with so many long weekends coming up in the next few months, we couldn’t recommend planning a local escape and heading to Kangaroo Island highly enough.
Now we know that there are plenty of things that you can read online about what you should be doing on KI, but we found that the information about were you should be eating was a little, well, lacking… Enter Team Glam! Being the awesome people (and food-a-holics) that we are, we set out to fix that! So after you are done gasping in wonder at the Remarkable Rocks, swimming with wild dolphins on the island’s North Coast or paddling at Australia’s number one beach (Vivonne Bay), you can refuel and indulge in some of the best ways possible. Here is our guide to eating Kangaroo Island:
Dudley Wines– 1153 Willoughby Rd, Penneshaw. One of our favourite spots on the Island. We’ve done the full wine tasting here at least 5 times but if we’re honest the free vino isn’t really why we keep going back. The view here is to die for, as are the wood oven pizza selections. If you only choose one thing from the menu it has to be the Whiting Pizza. Unlike any other pizza you’ve tasted, and packed with Kangaroo Island fresh produce. Plus you can grab a bucket of golf balls and have a swing while you soak up the ambience.
Zest and Thyme– 2695 Willoughby Rd, Cape Willoughby. A good spot if you’re planning on staying in Penneshaw. It’s a little off the beaten track (ok a lot) but you’ll have to get used to the dirt roads if you’re going to explore the best bits of this place. Nestled up on Cape Willoughby you’ll enjoy a great coffee (and huge ones at that) a cute brekky/brunch menu and a selection of satisfying lunch options. They display stunning local artwork in this relatively new cafe but what will bring us back? The Willoughby Road. Ok, so it’s just KI rocky road but we had a bag each and would happily have eaten more, had our jeans permitted.
Andermel Marron Cafe– Harriet Rd, Newland. Another one we tend to frequent on our trips to the island. Marron is essentially freshwater crayfish. Similar to a yabby, but bigger and only found on Kangaroo Island and in Western Australia. If you’re not into shellfish there’s plenty more on the menu to keep you happy, the Haloumi Salad, for example, was a fan fave among our group. But if you are a shellfish lover this is a must visit for the island, to experience something that’s pretty unique to this corner of the globe. They also have a cute little wine tasting section, and you can visit the marron farm too. We recommend you do this after you devour your meal.
The Rockpool Cafe– Stokes Bay. An unsuspecting spot that looks like a simple shack on the corner of popular Stokes Bay beach. But the food is of a high standard and always fresh. The Seafood Cone is a fave but we tend to keep an eye on the specials as the chefs here have a magic touch for whipping up something scrumptious from what the island and the sea has to offer. We absolutely love the service here, and it’s always good to get out of the sun and sink a beer/wine or two.
Enchanted Fig Tree (Hannaford and Sachs)– 5997 North Coast Rd, Midddle River. Now this was a true jewel in the crown. New to the restaurant dining scene (but experts in wedding catering) the Enchanted Fig Tree has only been open for lunch for a short period, but has already stolen the hearts of everyone who dines there. The food was nothing short of exceptional and the venue was like nothing else we’ve ever experienced. You dine amongst the branches of a 150 year old fig tree. FYI the dessert even contains the fruit from the tree itself! The banquet style dining had us absolutely stuffed. We really can’t rave about this place enough. Unfortunately due to being so off the beaten path they only open for lunch, but they also have the quirky Shearing Shed which opens for dinner and we can only assume is just as fabulous.
Frogs and Roses–705 Playford Hwy, Menzies. This place is taking rustic to a new level. Mismatched vintage crockery and furniture that’s reminiscent of an old English cottage in the countryside. Except when we visited it was like 40 degrees outside – definitely NOT England. There are only about 4 things on the menu, but each dish is fantastic in their own way. Wood oven pizza and a stunning chicken salad are the priorities. The beauty of this place is that the owner grows most of the produce served in her garden, which you’re welcome to wander through whilst your meal is being made. It’s a beautifully quaint place but, as we experienced, it is also filled with a lot of laughter because the whole family works here! Also, get yourself a slice of the homemade cheesecake with nut base. The flavour changes depending on the seasonal fruit in the garden, but we tried the apricot AND the plum (don’t you judge us). Both left us drooling.
KIS (Kangaroo Island Spirits)– 856 Playford Hwy, Cygnet River. We couldn’t go by without mentioning this little slice of heaven we like to swing by. You’ll probably have seen the fabulous KIS Wild Gin popping up in every quirky small bar (and even some of the bigger ones) on the Adelaide scene. But visiting the spot where it’s made is truly something else. We mean, it is literally the owner, John’s backyard. But that rustic charm is just so Kangaroo Island. Sip on KIS’s range of premium gins, vodkas and some exceptional liqueurs, complete with tasting notes in John’s back shed. Then once you’re good and merry, indulge in some cocktails on John’s back porch. Our all time favourite is the KIS Affogato made with Drunken Honey Ice Cream, a shot of coffee and KIS Honey and Walnut Liqueur. Oh. My. God.
Other notable KI food and wine destinations:
Bella– This restaurant is on the main stretch of Kingscote. The service is always lovely. Try the Blue Cheese Crumbed Lamb, you won’t regret it.
Island Beehive– There are plenty of spots on the island that you can visit and taste KI’s premium honey, but this is our fave. They have tours available but mainly they make a good coffee/tea with scones. Yum. Plus they are kid friendly.
The Lavender Farm– We are going to say it… This place has the best coffee in Emu Bay. It’s also the only coffee in Emu Bay, but that’s by the by. The gardens are beautiful to stroll through but we’re really here for the chocolate brownies.
Island Pure Sheep Dairy– Cheeeeese! This place does great cheese, which you’ll probably have spotted in plenty of supermarkets and grocers on the mainland. But it’s lovely to see where it all came from. We did the $6.50 full tour, to learn about the whole process but there is the $4.50 option which just gives you a tasting of the full range.
Helpful notes for trips to KI:
- Opening hours of restaurants, cafes and even most shops can chop and change. It would be wise to plan out your trip ahead of time to avoid being disappointed. For example many places in Kingscote (the biggest township) close mid afternoon on a weekend, so you won’t be able to swing by and grab some snags for your barbie at 4.45pm.
- Most things on the island are more expensive than the mainland, you should be aware of this before visiting. Don’t make café owners and their staff feel uncomfortable by exclaiming at the prices (as we heard a few people do). There are few places you can go that will provide you with the same prices as suburban Adelaide. What you will receive however, is great hospitality, produce and service.
- If you aren’t a confident driver, go with someone who is. The roads are nearly all high speed and often unsurfaced. You can frequently not see another car on the road for miles while you’re driving. This leads people to believe there are no other cars on the road. But if you pull out onto a road that for all intents and purposes is a highway and aren’t travelling fast enough, an unsuspecting truck can very quickly “come out of nowhere”. Unless you’re planning on safely staying in one spot for your whole trip you’ll need to be comfortable with this kind of driving.
- Enjoy this spectacular untouched part of the world. You can cram a lot into a day if you need, but you can enjoy a really long period here to just unwind and relax.