Birdseye view of Oceanview Eco Villas, Kangaroo Island, Australia

Oceanview Eco Villas
Kangaroo Island, Australia


Spectacular, sustainable and sublime: all words that describe our time at Oceanview Eco Villas. Owners Tam and Tim have spun a slice of paradise – stemming from a true love of Kangaroo Island and a desire to showcase to worldly, environmentally-conscious travellers all that is local, logical, luxurious and lovely about the island.

Set on 500 acres of coastal land, in a part of the island known as Redbanks, and perched on a hill overlooking the northerly Nepean Bay, are two impressive, two-bedroom villas. They’re identical twins, intentionally eco-friendly – almost mid-Century modern in feel, but also futuristic and timeless – each handcrafted from limestone paddock stone and recycled jarrah timber. But what makes them special are their sustainability credentials. We came to learn that Tam and Tim are absolute sticklers for material sourcing and provenance, uncompromising in ensuring that the villas create the smallest possible environmental footprint at build and in their lifetimes, yet still deliver on the demands and expectations that come with luxury, five-star accommodation.

Oceanview Eco Villas are entirely ‘off-grid’, drawing power from solar panels. They feature the best in eco technology; there’s no air conditioning for example, but at a flick of a switch, some sea-facing vents open up automatically and in rushes a refreshing sea breeze. The polished concrete floors felt cool underfoot in the summer heat, but in colder climes, provide thermal mass, especially when added heat is provided by the large and contemporary, natural gas fireplace.

Handcrafted wood cabinetry in earthy, neutral colours matches furnishings and interior design that showcase the best of South Australian craftsmanship. A large, communal lounge and open-plan kitchen and dining area are flanked by large, Viridian smart-glass doors that span the length of the space, opening out to a Modwood timber deck. Whether indoors or outdoors, we were induced to spend hours looking out to infinity and beyond, with the breathtaking view of the sun, sea and horizon ever-changing, dependent on the time of day.

The central space branched out symmetrically to two large bedrooms. In ours, impossibly soft Cavalier Bremworth carpet, made from recycled synthetics, cushioned our feet. A large, comfy bed was the centrepiece of the bedroom. Lying on it, we looked up at special OEV sky windows, designed and positioned so that we could watch the stunning, star-filled sky at night.

At the end of a day of touring, we filled our large bath with a view with heated, filtered rainwater, accented by locally sourced Kangaroo Island bath salts. We poured ourselves a glass of organic Grenache from Tscharke wines in the Barossa Valley, recommended by Tim, who had spent a considerable amount of time at the vineyard ensuring that its sustainability credentials matched that of Oceanview Eco Villas. It’s called ‘A Thing of Beauty’ but it delivers in substance as well as style. A hand-poured, scented soy candle by Adelaide-based Ells and Moush – made especially for the property – flickered alongside. It was easy to get into a chilled-out state of mind here, all part of Oceanview’s philosophy of helping their guests unwind.

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While you’re Out There
Kangaroo Island may in Australian terms be a small island, but it is actually seven times the size of Singapore. It’s a haven for nature and wildlife, as well as stunning natural landscapes. Plus there are little hidden gems that only islanders really know about. Ocean Eco Villa’s owners also own the Kangaroo Island Touring Company, whose expert guides offer immersive, bespoke private tours, drives (in their state-of-the-art Mercedes touring vehicles), picnic lunches and experiences, that take in everything from the spellbinding Flinders Chase National Park to the island’s gin-distillery.

The food, lovingly prepared by Tam and Tim each night, continues to reflect their dedication to sustainable sourcing. Menus have been designed with the input of local, islander chefs and showcase fresh, seasonal Kangaroo Island produce. Every morsel on the plate, whether at breakfast or during a three-course dinner, has a story. There are eggs laid by chickens, who are protected from hawks by friendly Maremma dogs. Our overnight oats were grown right here on the island, a variety known as Kowari that has been developed with increased levels of beta gluten that helps reduce blood cholesterol re-absorption. Everything we put in our mouths was organic and had a spectacular origin story.

Our delicious shrimp starter was also local, caught by Tam’s bare hands… no, we jest, it comes from a local fisherman directly across the water in Kingscote. The lengths that Tam and Tim went to, to create the perfect model for sustainable travel here, are undoubtedly impressive and it is heartwarming that they want to share the stories with their guests, but at times (especially mealtimes) come across a little over-egged.

The enormous piece of land that the property sits on is also home to a number of native fauna, including the endangered white-bellied sea eagles, wallabies and kangaroos. Look long enough into the distance and you’ll see dolphins frolicking in the water.

Despite the island’s name, kangaroos are not always easy to spot in daylight hours because they’re nocturnal. So, imagine our surprise when a court of them came bouncing along, just as we were having a goldfish-bowl-sized glass of organic (of course), spiced gin and tonic on the deck at dusk. We were taken aback when one came right up, begging for affection like a puppy. It turns out that the kangaroo is called Katie, who was rescued as a joey by Tam and Tim, bottled-fed and nursed back to health after her mother was killed in a road accident. When she was ready, they released her back into the wild, but ever thankful, she sometimes returns with her own joey in tow and thrills guests, ourselves included.

Oceanview Eco Villas has its own secluded beach, just down the cliff from the property. As it sits right on the coast, there are miles of secluded beaches that come as standard. We enjoyed having the rocky stretch of sand here to ourselves one late afternoon and took a walk for what seemed like a happy eternity, with the sea constantly lapping at our side. It dealt us a proper dose of escapism.

There is a magnetism and special power here at Oceanview Eco Villas. It’s a place that inspires reconnection: with the sea, nature, islanders and each other. In our time here, we’ve learnt to appreciate what it means to travel deeper and be a better custodian of the amazing planet we live on. But, it is also a true model of what sustainable tourism and hospitality can be, matched with unabashed and uncompromising detail, design prowess and almost perfection in service. It proves that luxury and regenerative travel can certainly co-exist.

Photography courtesy of Oceanview Eco Villas

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