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Kangaroo Island's new foodie experience

Escape to rugged Kangaroo Island for a journey of gastronomic discovery and incredible scenery.

By Dan F Stapleton
Published: 11 September, 2017

The bucolic shores of Kangaroo Island in South Australia have long lured travellers in search of serenity, surf beaches and up-close encounters with Aussie wildlife. But in recent years, this picture-postcard destination has added another string to its bow: it’s established itself as one of Australia’s most captivating destinations for foodies. The island – affectionately referred to as “KI” by locals – is close to fertile South Australian farmland and its shores are teeming with top-notch seafood. New dairies and vineyards on KI are producing some of Australia’s most acclaimed produce and several notable Australian chefs aren’t only ambassadors of KI produce – now they’re actually relocating to the island! A new, three-day tour promises unparalleled access to Kangaroo Island’s best foodie locations, making a trip to this tucked-away location all the more appealing.

Go gourmet at Sunset Food & Wine

Sunset Food & Wine, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Perhaps the biggest recent change to KI’s foodie scene has been the influx of big-city chefs who have brought with them knowledge and recipes garnered during stints in Sydney and Melbourne’s most acclaimed kitchens. The Sensations of Kangaroo Island tour includes a meal at the island’s newest major restaurant, Sunset Food & Wine, helmed by Jack Ingram, former executive chef at nearby luxury resort, Southern Ocean Lodge. Since opening the venue last year, Ingram has won plaudits for his commitment to locally sourced produce and flair for wine pairings. Prepare for a truly memorable gastronomic experience.

Let a local cook for you

Enchanted Fig Tree, Hannaford & Sachs, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

More than 70 years ago, chef Rachel Hannaford’s grandparents built a shack in the sandhills at Snellings Beach on the secluded north coast of Kangaroo Island. Ever since, the Hannaford family has been an integral part of the KI community – and today, Rachel is one of its most prominent foodies. On the tour, you’ll experience a curated meal experience put together by Rachel’s company, Hannaford & Sachs, in one of several unique locations. Their Enchanted Fig Tree experience, for example, will have you eating lunch inside an ancient fig tree. Its leafy canopy is so enormous that distinct “rooms” have been created underneath its branches.

Tour the island’s biggest vineyard

Islander Estate Vineyard, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

When French winemaker Jacques Lurton first visited Kangaroo Island in 1997, he was struck by its natural beauty and recognised the island’s significant viticultural potential. Three years later, he established the Islander Estate Vineyard, an 11ha (27-acre) planting that turns out distinctive varieties of cabernet franc, malbec, sangiovese, shiraz, grenache, viognier and semillon. An onsite winery with French equipment is responsible for vintages of the highest quality. On tour, you’ll take a trip to the vineyard and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of Australia’s most significant new wineries.

Sample world-class gin, cheese and honey

KI Spirits Distillery, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

KI’s unpolluted environment and fertile soil make it a remarkably versatile place to produce food. Unbuckle your belt – there are opportunities to sample some of the island’s most delectable produce throughout the trip, including treats such as locally distilled gin from KI Spirits, cheese and yoghurt from Island Pure Sheep Dairy and honey from Island Beehive. And if you’re worried about your waistline, stop – beach visits and rambles have been seamlessly incorporated into the itinerary, so all that snacking needn’t lead to morning-after regret.

Prefer a tour of an artisan drink scene?