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Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Flinders Chase
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 19, 2010

I would agree with most other reviews on this place - basic rooms for what you get. Food in the restaurant is good. One thing not mentioned but which really spoiled the place for our group was the smell of the sewerage system! Every time we stepped outside we were assailed by it. It seemed worse in the evening and eating outside and having that smell waft by is not pleasant. We did tell management so hopefully they will do something about it.

Stayed: March 2010
Thank PRAust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KimKangarooIsland, Manager at Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded December 27, 2010

We have recently had the septic system upgraded and the orignal plant has been completely removed from the area it was in. Now the septic system is far away from the rooms and restaurant and located where our guests can not see nor smellanything.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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258 - 264 of 521 reviews

Reviewed March 4, 2010

We spent one night at the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat in January 2010. The appeal of the place is that it is at the west end of the island, in the wilds, but as a result the price of accommodation is quite high for what you get.

We stayed in a courtyard room. It was very much like a roadside motel, not quite what I expected for the price, but at a roadside motel you don't have wallabies hopping around on your deck! The room was clean, but basic and the notices about water shortages made me feel guilty about having a shower.

On the upside, the staff were friendly and the food in the restaurant very good. It was the only place to eat in the evening for miles and miles, so you are somewhat restricted. Breakfast the next morning was adequate and we also purchased a packed lunch to take away with us. Unfortunately we had to wait around for it as the chef had forgotten to prepare it. There is free, if slow, internet access in reception, which was a nice touch.

I'd recommend the hotel due to the good food and friendly wallabies, but be warned, it's not the cheapest and you won't be wowed by the room's decor.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Blondie247772
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2010

Takes a while to get here, but worth the trip. I hired a car from Adelaide and used the ferry. Word of advice though. Tell the hire co. that you are going to K.I. As there can be issues with insurance, courtesy of careless Roos in roads.
The Wilderness Retreat Hotel is lovely & it's in a great location in real Aussie bush.
Get to see local wildlife literally on your doorstep. Feed the Wallaby's from your hand, (food available from reception). Restaurant highly recommended which is just as well as it's a long way from anywhere. Petrol available here too.

Stayed: November 2007
Thank ozboy63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2010

We stayed at the Wilderness Retreat in January, peak time when the placed was fully booked. We needed two rooms to accommodate our family and frankly these rooms could not have been further apart.
Despite having a responsible 15 year old and well behaved younger children (11 and 12 years), management was firm that one parent had to be in each room. I was a little affronted that they could not take our word that our children would not run amok. No other hotel has ever enforced this. Then again, no other hotel has ever place us in such distant rooms!
One room was extremely basic and did not even have a television. Given the cost of the place, we were expecting something a little better. A few nights later we stayed at the Intercontinental in Adelaide with all luxuries imaginable, for less than the cost of KI Wilderness Retreat!
When we arrived to check in at 2.30pm we were told that our rooms would not be ready for around another hour. At this time we were greeted by the female half of the management team. She was friendly, but a little too 'in your face' for my liking. However, the male half of this team was far worse- he was, at best, surly and unhelpful.
KI Wilderness Retreat is a long way from anywhere and there are virtually no dining options. With this in mind we made a reservation for dinner at the in-house restaurant. We were booked to do a dusk quad bike wilderness tour (approx 30 minute drive from the Retreat) that evening, but had neglected to find out the time of the tour. When we were finally shown to the room with the phone (yes! only one room had a phone!!) we discovered the tour started at 6.30pm and ended at 8pm. Originally we booked dinner for 6.30pm. When I rang to change the time, explaining our situation, I was told that 8.30pm was absolutely the latest they would accept guests for dinner. I asked if we could pre- order so as not to detain staff. I was told that was not possible. I asked if there were any options available to us (could we simply have a plate of sandwiches for example?) and was told 'NO'. I asked him to please understand that we would have three hungry children and no alternatives available to us. He showed little regard.
The short version is that we made it back to the restaurant by about 8.40pm, asked if we could place our orders and then quickly go back to the rooms to get cleaned up. We sat to look at the menu and had the female manager lecture us on not being late back for our food as it was simply magnificent food and would be spoiled if not eaten immediately after serving!
The food WAS quite nice. However, in such a location something rustic and with an Australian flavour would be more suitable than attempting European delicacies! It was so pretentious! The food and the prices seem totally incongruous with the decor and setting.
I would probably recommend that travellers look at possible alternatives to this accommodation. It was our least favourite for our holiday.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank FisherFamily5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2010

We would agree with other reviewers, and with comments from fellow guests during our stay. The place is over priced for what it is. Even the courtyard rooms are really no better than standard motel rooms - nice and clean enough, but nothing out of the ordinary. We avoided breakfast at the retreat, following the advice to go to the Flinders Chase Visitors Centre which was very good and friendly. We also usually tried to have a big lunch at the Visitors Centre, then brought sandwiches and cake back to the room for the evening which worked fine. We did have dinner in the restaurant on our first night and it was OK.
The main advantage is the location, especially for getting out at dawn or dusk. The sunset was wonderful at Remarkable Rocks. We also got up at dawn to try and see platypus in the National Park, but then found out no one had actually seen one there for 3 years!! Still, it was a lovely dawn walk and we saw dozens of kangaroos really close up.
The chap in the room next to us didn't have a booking, and haggled them down to $180 on the price, saving nearly $100 on what we'd paid - worth bearing in mind!

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank haveh0rsewilltravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2009

We stayed at the KI Wilderness Retreat while visiting Kangaroo Island for two nights. The retreat was amazing with kangaroos and wallabies all around the place. There was food to feed the animals and you could hand feed them at anytime. It was quite amazing!! It was very expensive to stay at the Wilderness Retreat though. We stayed in the Eco-Lodge and I do not think it was worth the price we paid. Also, the only option for food on the west side of the island for dinner is their restuarant. It was highly expensive and not very good. We only ate here one night and drove into Kingscote the next night for dinner. We ate at Bella while in Kingscote and it was wonderful. Much better than the restaurant at the retreat. It was very close to Flinder's Chase which was great! Just be prepared to spend a lot while staying at the retreat!

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank hookem79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2009

The primary goal of our trip to Australia was to see animals in the wild, and Kangaroo Island exceeded our expectations beyond measure. We stayed for (only) three nights at the K.I. Wilderness Retreat, in a courtyard room, and only wish we could have extended our trip. (But we're already thinking about returning--from Los Angeles!) Its location, for us, is perfect--near the entrance to Flinders Chase (5-10 mins by car, 45-60 mins walking, and yes, we walked) and in the other direction, even closer, the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Koala Walk.

Compared to other places we stayed in Australia, we found the KIWR very reasonable. The courtyard room is very big, with a refrigerator, and the spacious bathroom had modern furnishings that look new. Like many readers have posted, the clean patio faces the courtyard where one evening I counted seven wallabies. The restaurant is across the way and looked very nice, but we were not interested in paying nearly $30 for breakfast and twice or more for dinner. They do not serve lunch there. We wish we had known about the fridge or we would've purchased more at the Kingscote IGA on our drive to the hotel. For meals, we ate powerbars for breakfast and lunched every day at the very nice cafe in Flinders Chase. It unfortunately isn't open for dinner but we made do with some takeaway items and our own peanut butter sandwiches! :) The lobby also sells some snacks and refrigerated soft drinks, along with wine and other souvenirs, and they have a couple computers where you can check email for free.

Dusk is where it all happens on Kangaroo Island, so if you can time your arrival to just before dark, drive VERY CAREFULLY and you'll see plenty of wallabies and kangaroos before you even arrive at the hotel. (Sadly you will also see roadkill, sniff sniff.) Highly recommend a dusk walk from KIWR to Hanson Bay; in half an hour we counted over 30 wallabies and about a dozen kangaroos including a joey. They have a nocturnal guided tour, which was closed that night, but no matter--we saw so much koala activity on our own! The return walk was dark (the hotel gives you a flashlight, but do pack or buy one on your way in as well, you'll need it), so although the critters had retreated to the bushes, we had the opportunity to ogle at the stars and constellations we'd never seen.

Flinders Chase also has wonderful hiking trails and unpaved roads leading to secluded, pristine beaches. Definitely rent an SUV or 4WD for the visit if your itinerary resembles ours. We rented our 4WD in Adelaide, drove down to the ferry, and then to the KIWR at the opposite end of the island.

And if you somehow manage to miss seeing 'em in the wild, the KIWR has a resident roo, Beanie, and she is special. :)

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BaggioCat
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: $113 - $233 (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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