A future of beauty and solitude on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, the Cape Cassini Wilderness Retreat is surrounded by 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of protected Australian bush and sits on 1.2 miles (2 km) of pristine coastline. Guests travel from around the world to experience the area while treading lightly on the Earth.

David and Pat Welford, the retreat’s owners, host up to six guests at a time in the three guest rooms. Aiming to be self-sufficient, the retreat features a 2.5 kilowatt wind generator and 16 solar panels that supply 240 volts of AC power. Built on a waffle pod concrete raft, eliminating labor-intensive trenching, the house features rammed-earth and stone walls that lead to a raked-pine wood ceiling. The lounge boasts a large wood-burning fireplace, and the conservatory, which sustains herbs and plants, offers guests a place to socialize and relax while watching wild animals. Windows and overhangs on the building’s northern side ensure it is warm in winter and cool in summer. Colored-concrete floors and a built-in vacuum system reduce allergy problems.

Guests are offered several guided tour options, including Kangaroo Island Wildlife Highlights, Birdwatcher’s Delight and a Nocturnal Tour. For those who venture out on their own, bushwalking trails range from easy to difficult and meander through gullies, along a cliff and through the wilderness surrounding the retreat. Other activities include fishing, swimming, snorkeling, bird watching and stargazing.

Twenty-six identified bird species, as well as echidnas, snakes and goannas, often are spotted in the orchard. On summer days, dolphins can be seen frolicking in the ocean, and the water is so clear that fish can be seen deep in the water.

The Cape Cassini Wilderness Retreat is the only accommodation in South Australia to receive Green Globe benchmarking, a global certification system developed to encourage the global travel and tourism industry to become sustainable. To garner that mark, the retreat achieved best practices in water consumption, waste recycling, community commitment and contributions, and cleaning products. The retreat also has earned Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation from Ecotourism Australia, Brisbane. That accreditation is based on economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social sustainability. In 2003, Cape Cassini achieved Advanced Accreditation under the Nature and Ecotourism Accreditation Program from Ecotourism Australia. The accreditation recognizes the retreat’s focus on natural areas and sustainability, education, local communities, cultural history and sensitivity, and customer satisfaction and responsible marketing.

  • Credit: CAPE CASSINI WILDERNESS RETREAT