The perfect retreat for those who want time out from the hustle and bustle of the busy, man made, concrete jungle, to one where Mother Nature still reigns supreme."

In Greek mythology Gaia was the goddess of the earth - an aptly chosen name for cosy and comfortable accommodation in one of nature's gorgeous and secluded settings.

Gaia was built in 2003 by Graham Burnell who has lived on Kangaroo Island for many years. In 1979 he stumbled across the De Mole River valley en route to a fishing trip and was entranced by its beauty. He bought some land and started to make it home. Having built his own house, grown his own veggies and come to love living in this wonderful wilderness Graham decided to share the experience with fellow nature lovers. In 2002 he began building what was to become Gaia.

Gaia is the perfect bush hideaway. Unique in its remoteness the setting is tantilisingly tranquil and has incredible access to nature. This is heaven for nature enthusiasts and a haven for those wanting to escape the crowds. Tucked into the heart of Kangaroo Island's bush land, this unspoiled and peaceful sanctuary has something to offer everyone whether adventure, romance, family fun or simply the need to chill. With the best the Island has to offer, be it wildlife, birds, beaches or bushwalks, the De Mole River Retreat has it all. This idyllic spot is not on the tourist route and not easy to find but guests wanting a truly amazing experience are never deterred or disappointed.

To stay with us there is no need to lug heavy camping gear as we offer self-catering accommodation with the beautifully designed Gaia, a solar powered, eco-friendly modern home, surprisingly spacious. Built within 160 acres of natural bushland and surrounded by tall gum trees, with the picturesque De Mole River flowing through, the perfect place to wind down.

Visiting Gaia you will feel as though you have discovered your own secret wonderland in the heart of the Australian bush. Guests feel at home and enjoy the closeness of the animals as they are inevitably treated to regular visits by the kangaroos, birds and possums; nature on your doorstep.


Kangaroo Island is world famous for the amazing diversity of its flora and fauna, as well as its rugged coastlines and spectacular scenery. Nature is one of the main attractions of KI and people travel far and wide. Although many species can be found on Australia's mainland they are often widely dispersed whereas on Kangaroo Island they can be seen within close proximity.

De Mole River Retreat encapsulates all that KI has to offer. We cater to people who want to spend time in the habitat of our animals, birds, flowers, plants and trees. We don't take bookings from large tour groups or people just dropping in for one day. What we offer is a unique experience for our guests many of whom try to extend their stay or, at the very least, pledge to return!

If your aim is to seek out the elusive glossy black cockatoo; cuddle up to Australia's infamous kangaroo; ogle the wild flowers and orchids; perfect the ultimate sea eagle photo; study the habits of endemics; or simply spend time relaxing on this beautiful peaceful island then look no further. Commonly seen around Gaia are the ubiquitous wallabies and possums, over 150 species of bird, lizards, echidnas, native orchids, seasonal wildflowers, unusual mammals and marsupials, plus, of course, our very own family of kangaroos! Here's a small sample of what you may experience on your visit:

  • The bright blues of delicate Fairy Wrens and the vibrant reds of Robins as they hop around.
  • Flocks of Rainbow Lorikeets decorating the trees (most impressive when the eucalypts flower).
  • The rare and magnificent Glossy Black Cockatoo, which shyly visits throughout the year.
  • The curious Echidna nosing around the creek in front of the house.
  • An occasional Koala sleeping in the branches.
  • A prehistoric Rosenberg's Goanna seeking summer shade.
  • Colourful and plentiful wildflowers pushing through in springtime.
  • Wedgetail and Sea Eagles soaring overhead (a rare treat for those heading on our coastal walks).
  • Our friendly kangaroos enthusiastically thumping along Gaia's deck to greet you morning and night!