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“A great location if you are going to Kangaroo Island to see Wildlife”

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Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Flinders Chase
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 25, 2009

We really loved staying at the KIWR for three nights in June of 2009. We wanted to spend a lot of time at Flinder's Chase National Park so this was the perfect location, as it's one of the only (maybe THE only) hotel out on the far west side of the island. It is literally minutes from the park entrance, so we were often some of the first visitors there in the morning.

Our room was comfortable and clean. We were in a courtyard room so we had a deck going out to the courtyard with a little table & two chairs. We enjoyed coffee on the deck in the morning and a glass of wine on the deck in the evening. It was lovely to watch the little wallabies hop by! You may find a little bit of poop on your deck in the morning, but that's just what the animals do. My ONLY complaint about the room is that our room had an interior door connecting to the next room, and there was an inch gap at the bottom of the door. This means that we could often hear their voices and TV. A little annoying, considering we were some of the only guests in the courtyard rooms (why put us next to each other), but overall it wasn't a huge deal. I'm sure they would have moved us had we asked, but we didn't bother.

We only ate at the restaurant once, for breakfast one day. They had a nice continental breakfast and we filled up. We were the only people in the restaurant, so service was wonderful from our host! It was a little expensive, but well worth it for convenience.

The reception area is very spacious and inviting. Our first day there we were greeted by a fire in the stove. They have a basket of board games if you get bored, two computers with internet access, and a little store selling souvenirs, drinks, and snacks.

Overall, we loved our stay. If we were ever to go back to KI, we would stay here for sure.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank AmyGoes211
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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287 - 293 of 552 reviews

Reviewed July 23, 2009

Very basic accomodation that is a little disappointing given the amount your credit card has been hit for. It is in the middle of nowhere, in the South West corner of Kang Island and is therefore a good base to explore Flinders Chase National Park. However it appears to suffer from a lack of local competition... the rooms don't appear to have had money spent on them for decades, and while they're not uncomfortable, when you're paying $200+ per night in 2009 you expect more, even if it is for a room in a remote part of Australia.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Chris888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2009

We thoroughly enjoyed the K.I. Wilderness Retreat. Kangaroo Island was our third stop on a three week tour of Australia, preceded by Sydney and Broken Hill so it was our first "wildlife" stop. They had a resident kangaroo named "Bean" (because she was raised in a bean bag) and several wallabies that would follow you around and eat out of your hand...all you had to do was shake the little brown bag of pellets (for sale in the lobby cheap) and they were yours until the next guest shook their bag. Totally FUN!!! We are a couple in our early 50's but having had four children (now grown, not with us on the trip), we think kids would LOVE this hotel. We also had a peahen and a bush tailed possum and her baby come up to our deck to feed. We LOVED this place!

We were in a "Courtyard Suite" but it was really not a suite, just a room. Our room was nothing special or posh, but it had all we needed and was very comfortable, and we loved having a small private deck right outside our door facing the courtyard and the animals. I think it is a little pricey if you look only at the quality of the rooms and the ammenities at the hotel, but I think the interaction with the "resident" animals made it worth the price, at least for us.

With regard to the restaurant: we arrived at around 6:30 pm so took an 8:00 booking and our meal was quite good: we had a meat pie of kangaroo sausage, beef and lamb topped with mashed. However, we thought at $25 (this was the least expensive item on the menu! everything else was $35 or above) it was not any better than the meat pie we'd had at the Lord Nelson Pub in Sydney for $6. Anyway, we solved the over priced meal problem the next night by buying some VERY good take-away at the Vivonne Bay General Store just a few kilometers down the road. (We highly recommend this place as an alternative for food). We sipped our wine, ate our take-away (chicken wings and whiting burgers) and fed wallabies (I had 8 of them surrounding me at one point) on the deck outside our room and had a glorious time for far less money than they charged at the restaurant. I must add though, that even though we thought the food prices were too high, the restaurant staff was very accommodating when we wanted to take coffee back to our room one morning (no charge), they let us borrow plates and cutlery for our take-away meal, and they were also quite alright with us making a couple of sandwiches at breakfast to take with us on the road. We thought that was pretty nice, especially since they have boxed lunches for sale that they could have sold to us instead.

regarding internet: we had little use for it because all our children are grown so didn't need to check in at home, but yes, at one point we wanted to use it only to find that the access was closed at 6:00 pm when the office closed. However, we found the hosts of the KIWI just lovely, so are wondering what the one poster was talking about re: the "rude American host"?

regarding location: VERY close to all the southern coast attractions on K.I....it was a breeze to get anywhere, and yes, it was helpful to have a fuel station at the retreat although they charge a bit more than Kingscote or Penneshaw

regarding nocturnal tour: we didn't take the KIWR tour but instead we walked through the Koala Walk at Hanson Bay Sanctuary during the day and saw at least 25 koalas, one of which climbed down the tree right next to me and scurried off to another tree. I could have reached down and petted him right by my side. It cost $2 per person, honor system at the gate, as there was no one around, and it was money well spent. In the field outside the walk, there were many kangaroos grazing and hopping around so I would suggest a stop there.

tips on spotting wildlife on K.I.: keep an eye out for the tour company vans and follow their lead; we did a self drive around the island and at first were getting very frustrated because we weren't spotting kangaroos, wallabies or anything from the main road. We figured out that if you duck into some of the side dirt roads, that is where you'll see literally dozens of kangaroos. We just made it a point to duck into any side road that we saw a tour company car exit from and voila---all kinds of wildlife. Also, should you make it to the north side of the island, be sure to stop at Emu Bay to see the pelicans and if you get onto your knees and look into the "holes" in the beach walls, you will see the little fairy penguins sleeping.

Anyway, in conclusion, we consider the KIWI to be one of the highlights of our trip. Truly. Some of the negative comments from previous posters are valid (i.e. musty smell in room--but it aired out fine as soon as we opened windows) and it is certainly not a posh resort in any way, but we really enjoyed it. It is a very quiet peaceful, wildlife-filled place. I very much recommend it.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AnaEvergreen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2009

This is a fabulous eco-hotel near gates to the beautiful Flinders Chase National Park and Hanson Bay koala sanctuary. Most rooms face inner courtyard filled at night with kangaroos, wallabees and other assorted animals that literally feed out of your hands. A wonderful experience for kids. Rooms are basic but attractive. Restaurant serves great food by amateur but well-intentioned wait staff. Just a gorgeous property, on a spectacular island.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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Thank ChicagoLawyer1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2009

We stayed at the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat in March 09 for four nights. The location is excellent but three nights would have been ample to see everything. The room, a garden suite was comfortable and appropriate. The room was musty for the first day as it had been closed up. It is a pity that the American female owner had an unusually aggressive manner. She was extremely rude when I asked her if I could I borrow an umbrella later that day so that we would be able to walk to the restaurant from our room in the evening. It was raining! She said that they didn’t have fifty umbrellas (even though I asked for one between two) and told me I could buy one from them. As I had no intention of bringing back such a “souvenir” to Sydney and provide free marketing for the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat, I decided to buy a plain one in a shop elsewhere on Kangaroo Island. Considering that we paid this woman over $1200 it is appalling that she was so discourteous to us as guests. There is no place for such rudeness in our tourism industry. It hardly encourages anyone to travel in Australia. If you can avoid this woman, it should be very comfortable. Good luck.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank annagram09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2009

Pros:
The retreat uses rainwater which was a really cool thing

The retreat has one of the only 3 or so gas pumps on the island, so fill up!

The KIWR is near Flinders Chase which has some of the best sights around

The clerk told us about the Nocturnal walk at a neighboring retreat, which was one of our favorite things we did on the island

Wallabies were around day and night, and the staff sells generous bags of pellets for a cheap price

Free DVD rentals, and a decent selection.

The room was a fair size

Cons:

The service here was grim (if you cant find someone to help you, look for the smokers at the picnic tables. That is where I always found them)

If you want dinner, there are 2 time slots, 6:30ish and 8:00. That is it. You snooze, you lose. No lunches in the restaurant either.
Want to use the computers that they mention having? Be in the lobby before closing at 6pm

There are no clocks in the room, and we had no watch, so were surprised at the rude and abrupt scolding we got at 20 minutes past checkout time!

The food was VERY pricey, and since you are easily 45 mins from most of the bigger areas, and arent supposed to drive at night, you'll be eating at their restaurant.

As the owners pointed out in response to another review, this is not a RESORT, this is a RETREAT. Retreat means, "privacy", and though the resort can be a little loud, the location is definately far away from civilization. By no means confuse this with a resort.

Our room was dark, smelled musty and was very, very basic. Tiny TV, A/C accessible from a chair over a doorway, and old furniture. Oh, and a lovely worm which I stepped on beside the bed.

Internet was unavailable in our room, and someone who was staying near us said if we walked around with our laptop we may be able to find a connection. We didnt.

More details:
I was so very excited about the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat! Unfortunately I experienced was less than I expected. We arrived on the Ferry at around 6:30, and thanks to a few wrong turns, and driving at about 25 mph due to FREQUENT kangaroos hopping across the road, we arrived at the KIWR at 8:30pm. Little did we know, the last seating for dinner was at 8pm! Since we couldnt drive at night, and had no food, we complained. The desk clerk kindly ordered us a kids meal and a stack of vegetables. I took a few nibbles of the vegetable stack and ugh didnt eat it. Found out later it was a $30 stack of veggies!! (more about the restaurant later)
Instead of showing us to our room, the clerk pointed to a walk way (it was pitch black outside!!) and told us to count to the 8th section, and that was our room. We didnt see a switch for a porch light in the dark, so spend awhile poking about with the keys.
The rooms are very, very basic. Our room looked nothing like the rooms on the KIWR website, and in fact, there is a photo of an area of the KIWR that I never saw (modern room with white sofas). Our room smelled really stale, and was very dark. The photos on the main website page do not reflect the bathrooms in the 'normal' rooms. That must be the spa bathroom?
THe breakfast in the dining area was lovely. Dinner not so much. Especially if you are a vegetarian. I had a tomato soup which was $15, flavourless and very watery. When I had eaten about 4 spoons full, I let the server know it wasnt very nice, so she took it away and said she'd make a note of it. The note certainly wasnt reflected on our bill! My husband enjoyed his food thouroughly, so perhaps for meat eaters you'll be happier? The ambience in the restaurant is quite lovely. All wood with white accents and candles. Well done! The servers were not super, but were very friendly. The meals took so long, and the servers were absent for enough time that I saw 2 tables sneak bread from the server's bread basket!
The wallabies are gorgeous, and lovable. They were the saving grace. I could have fed them alllll day.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank bellajolie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2008

Lovely small resort simple wooden chalets around central courtyard well equipt and comfortable. Laidback atmosphere with very helpful staff and good food in the restaurant. 75 minutes from the airport in beautiful bush setting. Free DVDs to watch and free internet access. Walabies and possum come to be fed at dusk and nearby Koala Walk at night worth every penny - sorry, cent.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Michnoquet
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
Location: Australia > South Australia > Kangaroo Island > Flinders Chase
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center 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: $137 - $252 (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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