The dining scene is local, seasonal, boutique, artisan and always close to its source. Devour oysters metres from where they were plucked, pull up a seat under the boughs of a century-old tree for an unforgettable feast surrounded by nature, then wash it all down with a local gin or wine. Dig into our foodie’s guide to Kangaroo Island including the best places to eat, cellar doors and island-fresh produce.

1. MILLIE MAE’S PANTRY, PENNESHAW

Millie Mae’s Pantry is a labour of love created by Jan, a sixth generation Kangaroo Islander. The cafe’s concept has been born from her wholesome childhood centred around food, farming and fresh produce. Millie Mae’s Pantry is in Penneshaw and its lovingly sourced and prepared Kangaroo Island food is dished up daily for breakfast and lunch. Relax in the garden under the established fruit trees and leave with some of the local produce from their pantry store.

2. THE ENCHANTED FIG TREE, MIDDLE RIVER

Pull up a seat for lunch under the dappled light of a 120-year-old fig tree as the gentle sounds of lapping waves beyond provide the soundtrack to a magical dining experience. Tucked off the picture-perfect shores of Kangaroo Island’s Snelling Beach, your table is set under the gnarled branches of the ancient Enchanted Fig Tree. Planted some 120 years ago to sustain the first settlers of the island, its bending boughs and shaded canopy now provide a magical setting for a feast worthy of a fairy tale. From progressive long lunches to decadent dinners dished up by some of South Australia’s best chefs including Simon Bryant and Africola’s Duncan Welgemoed, the Enchanted Fig Tree is the ultimate destination dining experience.

3. KANGAROO ISLAND SPIRITS, CYGNET RIVER

At Kangaroo Island Spirits, native botanicals sourced from around the island are distilled to create some of Australia’s most awarded gins. South Australia’s first boutique distillery established in 2005, the cellar door is located half an hour’s drive away from Kingscote in Cygnet River. Here, you taste your way through the tasting notes before settling down in their tranquil gin garden with some good food from the onsite food van, Mini De Lights. All KIS products are handmade in small batches using hand crafted copper pot stills and continue to receive major awards in London, New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong. Their O’Gin, distilled with native coastal daisy, was named the 2019 best contemporary gin at the International Wine and Spirits competition in London.

4. DUDLEY WINES, PENNESHAW

Sip wine overlooking the roaring Southern Ocean at Dudley Cellar Door. Snag a seat on the deck and while away an afternoon with goo enjoying Dudley’s locally produced, award-winning wines and drinking in the epic coastal view. Established in 1997, Dudley Wines is Kangaroo Island’s pioneer winery and includes a one hole, one par clifftop golf course. The Cellar Door is just 12 kilometres from Penneshaw, perched on Kangaroo Island’s stunning north coast.

5. FALSE CAPE WINES, DUDLEY EAST

On the other side of the Dudley Peninsula and a twenty-minute drive away, False Cape Wines is a new cellar door where you can sample and buy their minimal intervention wines that honour sustainable and time-honoured wine practices. With a deck that looks onto the Terra Rosa soils of limestone on the banks of the Willson River flat, False Cape Wines’ cellar door has an idyllic Australian setting. Keep your eyes open for the local mob of Kangaroos!

6. BAY OF SHOALS WINES, KINGSCOTE

Bay of Shoals Wines takes its name from its breathtaking location. Perched over a stunning bay and just minutes from Kingscote, here you can sip wine with a view over the ocean below. The surrounding 50 acres of vines include cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Planted just 30 metres from the edge of the ocean, their riesling vines are thought to be the closest to the sea in the Southern Hemisphere. The maritime climate results in intense varietal flavours which are best paired with a local produce hamper. You can even take advantage of the stunning location and cosy up for the night in your own private glamping tent.

7. THE OYSTER FARM SHOP, AMERICAN RIVER

You can’t come to Kangaroo Island, let alone South Australia, without enjoying the local seafood, and there’s no better place to start than The Oyster Farm Shop. With views across to the calm waters of American Bay spanning to the oyster lease in the distance, here you can taste fresh pacific and native oysters as you watch the day’s haul brought to shore. After you’ve had your fill of oysters, taste your way through local marron, abalone and King George whiting at the iconic turquoise shack.

8. CLIFFORD’S HONEY FARM, KINGSCOTE

Kangaroo Island produces the purest form of Ligurian honey in the world, brought to the island by European beekeepers in 1881 in a move that inadvertently saved this northern Italy bee species. One of the best places to taste the island’s famous Ligurian products is at Clifford’s Honey Farm gate, where honey stars in everything from honey pots, mead, candles, ice cream, drinks and cosmetics. Learn about beekeeping, see a working hive, then taste your way through premium honey ranges to choose your favourite to take home. Be sure to also stop off at Island Beehive and stock up on their famous honey mead after a tasting and tour.  

9. CACTUS, KINGSCOTE

For good coffee, always go where the locals go. In this case it’s Cactus in Kingscote. The coffee is smooth and perfect every time, the food is bursting with flavour and the setting is a mix between laid back Tulum, Mexico vibes with a kick of country KI. Dishing up breakfast and lunch 7 days a week, the food is generous, fresh and delicious with a menu spanning fully loaded big breakfasts, and pancakes to pastas, dumplings and curries.

10. EMU BAY LAVENDER FARM, EMU BAY

People flock to Emu Bay Lavender Farm for the iconic, lavender-infused scones that are pumped out of the oven all day. Smothered with house-made lavender jam and a generous helping of cream, they are certainly worth the drive alone, but there’s also plenty of other tasty morsels on the menu to satisfy hungry travellers. The curry is famous on the island. Surrounded by rows of lavender and with a range of lavender products made on site for sale, it’s a must visit on Kangaroo Island.

11. KANGAROO ISLAND BREWING, KINGSCOTE

After taste-testing your way around the island, wash it all down with a cold beer from Kangaroo Island Brewery. Tucked on 20 acres of picturesque land just outside Kingscote, settle in for the afternoon and sample your way through eight different craft beers accompanied with a platter or wood-fired pizza. The brewery has been crafted from recycled materials gathered from all over the island including shearing sheds and local stone, with most of the ingredients for the beer also sourced locally.

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