Kangaroo Island: Eco-Chic and Rugged Beauty in South Australia (VIDEO)

11/30/2010 06:51 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

About a month ago, just before departing for a media trip to South Australia, I met celebrity chef Tom Colicchio at Craft in Los Angeles. Colicchio is a brand ambassador for S. Oz and he recently toured the state. On said night he was also helping promote a Qantas sweepstakes for free unlimited flights to S. Oz.

He's been inspired by the local cuisine. So that night, I sampled some of his kangaroo tartar. Little did I know then that during my Australian travels I would have an eight-month-old kangaroo named Oliver on my lap while riding through the dunes in a dusty off-road vehicle (the same type of vehicle that everyone in LA polishes up in preparation for Saturday night cruising on Sunset Boulevard). Um, sorry Ollie.

In any case, Colicchio raved about Kangaroo Island -- a magical, fairly isolated ecological preserve not far from Adelaide -- and more specifically about its Southern Ocean Lodge.

A design-savvy and high-end eco centerpiece of the island (at least in regards to international repute), it was Australia's first true"'luxury lodge." Chef Tom said "your jaw literally drops when you see it." He added that he had enjoyed one of the best meals he'd ever had in their restaurant -- and I'm sure this man's had plenty of none-too-shabby dining experiences.

I wanted to believe him. But this was, after all, the same guy who had only 15 minutes earlier pushed my gullibility button by recounting a terrifying fiction. When he heard that I was going to be snorkeling with tuna in S. Australia's Port Lincoln, he had jokingly warned me about the massive fish: "If one of them comes at you at full speed the impact can kill you." This city slicker bought it. So, I took the sardonic chef's guidance with, well, the appropriate grain of salt.

Ultimately, Kangaroo Island and the dreamy Southern Ocean Lodge ended up being beyond my wildest dreams and Colicchio's tallest tales. With its seemingly-Photoshopped sea cliff vistas and its Eucalypts for kilometers, K.I. is an island I would enjoy being marooned on. Check out my short Kangaroo Island video below for an overview of this natural utopia and its jewel of a Lodge.