How long have you lived on Kangaroo Island?
We always had a love affair with Kangaroo Island (KI) as during our lives we both had occasions to visit the island for holidays, through a volunteer organisation (St John Ambulance) or to have a weekend for fishing. We have mostly lived in Adelaide where we raised two daughters. We always thought that some day it would be great to buy land on the island for investment or perhaps simply as a holiday destination with a beach shack.
When we were in our early to mid fifties we started to look at possible locations along the coastline of SA for a beach house. Some locations we remembered from previous visits had been transformed into typical suburban type developments ie big houses with gutters almost touching. This was not our scene.
Friends of ours had expressed interest in looking at a shack in Penneshaw KI so we came with them one weekend to inspect the property. We loved the town and the 1960s/1970s shack style development around Hog Bay at Penneshaw. Things then seem to come together – our previous love of the island, the latent thought of buying land on the island, retirement was looming, the kids had moved out of the family home.
Raelene had always wanted to operate a B&B and Ian thought he would go into “semi retirement” to undertake building maintenance or similar. We seized the opportunity in 2004, bought a block of land in Penneshaw, designed two beach houses (one for us and one for rental). We also sold the family home. Some displeasure being expressed from the two girls related to both selling and moving “overseas”. However we simply reminded them that they packed up and moved out, it was now our turn to do the same and besides, told them what great holidays they could expect for themselves and the grand kids.
What are some of the great things about living on Kangaroo Island?
The great things about living on KI include the weather, looking out over Backstairs Passage to the mainland, the wilderness and natural beauty of the island, living in Penneshaw which is a small country town (one pub, post office and a small IGL store). We enjoy the relative isolation from the hassle and bustle of the mainland although there are times when the geographical remoteness from family and close friends becomes one of the not so good things. Its only about two hours by road but there is that 17 Km stretch of water in between that sometimes makes ready travel difficult. We also enjoy meeting and greeting the guests we have to SeaShells Penneshaw
And the not so good things?
We do not have really any other not so good things as the choice to live here has been ours and what other people may regard as a difficulty or a compromise we see as something new to be discovered or experienced.
Have you worked in the hospitality industry before?
Other than Raelene being an air hostess in times gone by we have never formally been in the hospitality industry. We have however always enjoyed being part of the team for organising events or functions.
Is it challenging running an accommodation establishment ‘so far’ from Adelaide?
Running our accommodation so far from Adelaide is not a challenge and in fact to the contrary, we offer a place for people to holiday and get away from Adelaide or any other place of work or “normal” living.
Are there any amusing experiences you have had?
I guess we have had a few which we will not venture into at this time. Amusing things always happen when you are dealing with people.
Where to next?
We have not really thought about that too much as we are just finishing off what we started about five years ago in terms of our establishment but we have some plans for the way we run our business. We may take a holiday next year and put some real purpose into why we own a camper van.