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Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge is reborn after $55M rebuild

Four years after devastating bushfires destroyed the luxury accommodation, Southern Ocean Lodge has reopened

After almost four years of planning, design and construction, Baillie Lodges flagship property Southern Ocean Lodge has reopened on the south coast of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island.

The original property was destroyed in 2020 when bushfires swept across Kangaroo Island- thankfully staff and guests were able to escape without injury. 

Southern Ocean Lodge’s original architect Max Pritchard and his team led the recreation of the property and have included all the features guests loved best along with some considered extras, set for a new era.

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The new iteration of the renowned Southern Ocean Lodge holds almost the same footprint as the original with the Great Room taking centre stage on the island’s limestone cliffs and with twenty-three luxurious suites easing along the coastline.

In a deft design manoeuvre, the guest suites have been reoriented to open towards the southeast, each taking in uninterrupted views of the Southern Ocean and rolling coastal wilderness. All guest suites feature private decks, an EcoSmart fireplace and sink-in bathtub.

New to the property is the ultra-premium Ocean Pavilion, cleverly designed to offer a single four-bedroom owner’s residence or two separate two-bedroom suites to create the ultimate Kangaroo Island hideaway for families and friends travelling together. The Great Room terrace now boasts a wet-edge pool, while spacious new surrounds for the Southern Spa allow for three treatment rooms, a gymnasium, sauna and hot and cold plunge pools.

Southern Ocean Lodge Kangaroo Island
Image: George Apostolidis.

Designed for a new generation of travel to Kangaroo Island and in the context of a changing climate, Southern Ocean Lodge sets new benchmarks for environmental sustainability in the tourism industry.

Clever design employs cutting-edge technologies including boosted rainwater water capture and solar power generation, smart building materials, a remote-controlled sprinkler system and a reinvigoration of the surrounding natural environment with some 45,000 biodiverse native plants propagated onsite and planted in a natural buffer from the wilderness. 

Guests arriving at Southern Ocean Lodge can tune in to a virtually guided welcome via Baillie Lodges Luxury Redefined podcast which features interviews with those closest to the lodge’s recreation, including Baillie Lodges founders James and Hayley, Southern Ocean Lodge General Managers Alison Heath & John Hird, architect Max Pritchard as well as local artists, winemakers and food producers – the podcast is ideal listening for guests as they commence their journey to the lodge.

Baillie Lodges founder James Baillie said the occasion to open the recreated Southern Ocean Lodge on December 6, 2023, was both a real privilege and an emotional day for the whole team.

“We feel very fortunate to be able to present the new-look Southern Ocean Lodge to the world. Hayley and I had lived and breathed the original lodge from the concept and planning stages to its award-winning reality, celebrated for its timeless design,” Mr Baillie said.

“With the benefit of hindsight and learning, we saw the chance to rebuild Southern Ocean Lodge as a special chance to return the property that seemed to touch so many guests over the years and with some considered additions to take her to a next generation traveller and a sustainable future,” he said.

Southern Ocean Lodge Kangaroo Island
Image: George Apostolidis.

“It’s a ‘full-circle moment’ for us and one that brings some closure to the past, as well as an optimistic look towards the future and an even more sustainable, leading experiential tourism offering for South Australia.”

Baillie Lodges founder Hayley Baillie said it had been wonderful to work with the original lodge’s local suppliers as well as discovering new entrants to the region, including food and beverage producers, artists and designers.

“We have a chance now to show the world the incredible depth and diversity of the regional Southern Australia and Kangaroo Island offering as it stands today and into the future, and we’re looking forward to working in rewarding partnerships with local communities once again,” Mrs Baillie said.

“We’ve been buoyed by the unwavering support of so many of our guests and the broader tourism industry for which we’re very grateful, and we’re thrilled to be bringing Southern Ocean Lodge back,” she said.

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