(This is part 5 of a 5 part series on Kangaroo Island. Click here to read the rest of the posts)
I can’t tell you how many times while travelling to countries around the world, locals have pointed out their local trees. “These are Eucalyptus trees” they will tell me “ they are native of Columbia/Portugal/Ghana/insert country name here”. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, Eucalyptus trees are all Aussie.
Eucalyptus oil is distilled from the leaf of the Eucalyptus and this particularly distillery on Kangaroo Island, the only in South Australia, opened in the 1880s. It is distilled in the traditional method here. The leaf is placed into a pot containing water, beneath which a fire is lit, steam carrying the oil is passed through a system of cooling pipes the oil separates and is piped off into containers. The raw oil undergoes another refining process to produce the final product that is a crystal clear oil. For a small fee you can either take a guided tour or a self guided tour (which we did), well worth it.
While there you will of course buy yourself some Eucalyptus oil because this is truly a miracle multi use product. You can use it to disinfect and clean surfaces, floors etc. It is a great stain remover from clothing, gum and even paint. You can wash clothes with it and it deodorizes. We often use it to disinfect cuts and small burns but it can also be used on acne, insect bites and even as an insect repellent. Friends use it as a mouthwash and hand cleaner. You can use it in the bath or inhale it to help decongest colds. A few drops down the throat will help relieve sore throats (apparently). If you are doing some DIY around the house, the oil will even clean paint brushes. It even removes fleas from pets. Yes, it does everything and it is a completely natural product.
The owners of Emu Ridge, Larry and Bev, are truly lovely. They are there to greet all visitors, answer questions and educate (make sure you climb up onto the old wagon in the shop to watch a video about the history of the place). There is a large store where you can buy anything you ever wanted made from eucalyptus oil, as well as arts and crafts, some made by artists creating right there in the store. There is also a popular café with some good Aussie classics and….a hot chocolate. Well, a version of a hot chocolate, I guess in some ways this hot chocolate is as Australian as eucalyptus oil! I had a Milo for the first time in many many years of travelling to Australia. Even though you can actually get Milo in many places around the world, it was originally invented in Australia and is sold by Nestle. It is a chocolate and malt powder mixed with hot milk.
Verdict: A great small business worth supporting. Don’t miss it. Emu Ridge Eucalyptus, Kangaroo Island, Australia