It’s no secret that South Australia is full of gourmet food and wine hot spots – it’s one of the reasons Lonely Planet ranked us in the Top 5 regions in the world to visit next year. And if you hadn’t already, you can add Kangaroo Island to that list.
Though the population is small, a growing number of locals are producing world-class food and drink. Add in spectacular scenery, unspoilt beaches and an abundance of wildlife and you have a dream destination. If you’re planning a trip to the Island this summer, make sure to check out some of these highlights:
Kangaroo Island Spirits
856 Playford Hwy, Cygnet River
Their Old Tom was recently named the best gin in Australia and it would be easy to spend an entire afternoon sampling the exquisite range of gins, vodkas and liqueurs at this cellar door. GlamAdelaide highly recommends doing just that, but they also sell a range of other goods including icecream made using leftover walnuts from the honey and walnut liqueur. For a truly indulgent experience, try the affogato made with that icecream and a dash of the liqueur itself – it may well be the highlight of your entire trip.
Oyster Farm Shop
483 Tangara Dr, American River
You won’t get much fresher than the oysters here, which are farmed in the bay out front and brought to the store each morning. Grab a dozen to eat on the wharf overlooking the water, or try some of the abalini (sweet baby abalone) or grilled King George whiting.
Enchanted Fig Tree
5997 N Coast Rd, Middle River
It’s not just the food at this destination that makes it incredible, but the magical setting: private dining rooms created by the branches of an ancient fig tree on KI’s spectacular North Shore. It’s unlike any other dining experience you’ll find, and the tasting menu developed by acclaimed chef Rachel Hannaford combines recipes from around the world with the finest local produce. The Enchanted Fig Tree is only open December through April, when the feast moves indoors to the charming Shearing Shed, on the same premises,
Vivonne Bay General Store
Lot 4117 S Coast Rd, Vivonne Bay
There’s nothing fancy about this spot, but that’s what makes it great. The fresh battered whiting on a long roll with salad is the perfect way to refuel after a dip in Vivonne Bay (judged the best beach in Australia a few years back). If that’s not enough, their chips and gravy servings are enormous, enough to feed a small army.
90 Cape Willoughby Rd, Penneshaw
If you want the best that KI has to offer but would prefer someone else to do the work, then this is your one-stop shop. Acclaimed local chef Kate Sumner puts together custom menus for any length of trip utilising a range of locally farmed and foraged products. Best of all, she’s located in Penneshaw so you can grab all the goodies straight off the ferry.
Island Pure Sheep Dairy
127 Gum Creek Rd, Cygnet River
Allow a bit of time at this stop, because the range of delicious sheep’s milk cheeses keeps expanding. They’ve just launched a blue, with soft cheeses on the way soon and other products include yoghurt and gelato. For our money, though, it’s hard to go past the deliciously creamy labneh spread on freshly baked bread. If you stop by at lunchtime, the new food truck does a mean lamb and gravy roll and by December there’ll be a working brewery onsite as well. If that’s not enough, there are tours of the farm and factory, and the dairy door shop stocks a wide range of other KI products, including figs, soaps, honey, beauty products, wine, jams, olives… the list goes on!
1153 Willoughby Road, Cuttlefish Bay
KI may not be a well known as a wine region, but this is one of the most spectacular cellar doors you’ll ever find. The clifftop location boasts stunning views across the Backstairs Passage and you can even hit a few golf balls across the gully while you enjoy a glass or two.
Andermel Marron Cafe
804 Harriet Road, Kangaroo Island
Demand for marron is so great that it’s hard to find the freshwater crayfish anywhere except KI these days. Fortunately they’re always on the menu at Andermel, in the “marronara” pasta and the enormous seafood platter. The shed next door lets you have a look at live marron (including rare blue ones) as well as sample wines and some of the teas, dips and liqueurs made with lemon and aniseed myrtle grown onsite.
The Kangaroo Island Stall
S17, Adelaide Central Market
And if you just can’t wait until your next trip to try any of these goodies, head to this stall in the markets to find the best that KI has to offer, and maybe add a few more stops to your list.