(This is part 4 of a 5 part series on Kangaroo Island. Click here to read the rest of the posts)
I have a confession to make – I’ve fallen in love with Rustic Blue. Rustic Blue is a former shearing shed which has been transformed into a modern gallery space exhibiting emerging to international award-winning Kangaroo Island and Australian artists.
If you’re lucky enough to visit, pick a seat under the giant gum or one of the little mosaic covered tables sprinkled throughout the lush garden. There is more secret seating in an old garden shed around the corner.
Once you sit down and order you are likely to have Smiley, one of the owners, come up and have a chat. He will also likely bring over a large book which outlines the history of the business, how it transformed from the old shearing shed to the great business it is today. Don’t shove it aside, as it is surprisingly interesting and full of interesting pictures. Smiley has all sorts of great stories and is very good at telling whether you want to hear more or whether you want to be left alone (hear more!).
The food is fantastic. We ordered the dip plate with eggplant and beetroot dips (we licked both bowls). We had some small sandwiches and finished off with their delicious carrot cake. We would have ordered more food if it hasn’t been so close to closing time.
Of course I had to order a hot chocolate, and if you do, don’t believe it when Coralie says her hot chocolate is nothing special. It is made with love and you can taste that. It is, as they described, chocolate melted in hot milk. That’s all you need isn’t it?! This whole spot is full of love and I am not exaggerating when I say that despite all of the beautiful things that we saw on the Island, Rustic Blue was one of our highlights. Plus every drink comes with a little boy or girl chocolate cookie. Yes please.
Rustic Blue is also a kangaroo refuge. Old males come here so they don’t need to fight against the young males out in the wild. They come right up to the café where Smiley sometimes gives them water and snacks. They also take care of orphan joeys (kangaroo babies) and possums.
Before you leave have a walk around the gallery. It is full of interesting pieces, photography, paintings, sculpture, crafts, some conversation starts, and maybe some you will take home. The gallery isn’t only inside. The whole property is dotted with unique pieces that will bring a smile to your face. They also host all sorts of interesting events including music events and weddings.
What else is there to visit along the South Sideof KI?
We spent one full day visiting the southern side of the island. After a good sleep in and a run around the beach where we were staying on the northern side, we drove south for lunch at the Andermel Marron & Café. The Marron is delicious, although expensive and it was interesting to see how they grow them in the tanks. Vivonne Bay is considered the most beautiful beach in Australia which would make it one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Apparently a professor did a national study of all of the beaches in the country and settled on this one as the winner for this grand title.
If you have the budget, the Southern Ocean Lodge is a boutique hotel with views along the stunning coastline of the Island. We spent a good hour at Little Sahara and I would recommend it, especially if it is quiet. These are giant sand dunes that you can climb up to get a view of the island (the dune goes up 70 metres above sea level). When we arrived at the parking lot, our expectations were low as you coulnd’t see any evidence of sand dunes from the virtually empty car park. After a short walk into the bush, past the admissions desk, we soon realized the hype was true as we reached a giant sand dune. You can even rent a type of surfboard to surf your way down the dunes. Seal Bay is another must stop to see thousands of seals up close and personal. You have the choice of either taking a tour to go down to the sand with a guide to see the seals close up or you can watch them from the walkway just above the beach. We spent a long time just watching the seals enjoying life from the walkway, and were perfectly happy with that.
Verdict: No matter what you do, make Rustic Blue part of your KI trip. And make sure you ring the giant gong at the back of the art gallery! Rustic Blue, Kangaroo Island, Australia