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EBHH History

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A walk through Emu Bay Holiday Homes’ history

First owners: Gary and Joylene Watters

Gary had sold his farm on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula and came over to Kangaroo Island as a lay preacher for the Uniting Church. Later the church could no longer support a second preacher and that’s when Gary and Joylene invested in a 5-acre bare block of land overlooking Emu Bay – with a vision of building some holiday accommodation units and creating a lifestyle for themselves. In 1993 they built the shed and water tanks and lived in a caravan while building Shalom and Jireh. Next came the main house, now called Amani (Swahili for Peace), followed by the two cottages and then the two cabins. Gary loved birds and planned a garden that would attract the island’s beautiful native birds. He enjoyed  conducting penguin tours on Emu Bay Beach. Gary and Joylene often had groups over from churches in Adelaide. Sadly Joylene fell ill with cancer and eventually Gary sold the property. 

(Insert interview with Heather MacKenzie and John Watters.)

 

Dianne and Graham Morris bought Emu Bay Holiday Homes in June 2000 when their children returned to Kangaroo Island to farm. Dianne believed it was time for her and Gary to leave the farming to the kids. Being a man of few words, Gary enjoyed interacting with guests and became quite comfortable talking to people. Gary and Dianne built the steps in front of Bayview and added the verandas to the two cabins. They did the majority of work themselves, helped by just one cleaner. Initially they planned on having Emu Bay Holiday Homes for 2 years, but ended up selling it after 4 years, in March 2004.

 

Ann and Theo Horbelt had just returned to Australia from Germany after living abroad for 20 years. Ann was visiting her mother and saw an advertisement for Emu Bay Holiday Homes in the window of the local real estate agent. Ann’s mother was ill on the island, her dad and sister Sue had passed away and Ann wanted to be closer to her mother. The estate agent brought Ann out to Emu Bay for just a look, but she instantly fell in love with the view, sense of peace and tranquillity. Theo had always said he could never live on ‘The Rock’, so Ann had some convincing to do! The rest is history. In March 2004 they bought EBHH. Ann enjoyed interacting with the guests and loved waking up to the spectacular view every morning. They lived in the main house, kept EBHH neat and tidy and in 2007 added an en-suite bathroom, walk-in robe and patio to Jireh. Each summer their daughter Roanna returned from her studies in New Zealand to help.

Reflecting on their 14 years at EBHH, they reminisce about the views, the beautiful red cliffs in the afternoon sun, the variety of birds and the echidnas walking over their toes. But the joy is not lost: Ann and Theo built a new home in Emu Bay, just 400 metres down the road!

 

A new era: Rene and Johannes Steyn 

On 27 October 2017 Rene went to Emu Bay Holiday Homes to see Ann about an unrelated matter, fell in love with the view and discovered that the property had been on the market for a while. That same afternoon Rene and Johannes drove out to Emu Bay together to have another look. (Insert first photo taken.) 

Lots of discussion ensued about whether they could run a holiday accommodation business parallel to their professional careers. Recruiting Christine to help manage the bookings, Rene and Johannes took a leap of faith and invested in Emu Bay Holiday Homes. On 1 March 2018 they took over EBHH, ably supported by Christine and Michelle, one of the cleaners who had committed to stay on for a while. 

The property had been lovingly kept, but needed some renovations and upgrading. Rene and Johannes have since embarked on a gradual process of renovation and maintenance, and creating their own team.

Read our Blog on what has been done at Emu Bay Holiday Homes since March 2018.

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    Emu Labyrinth

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    Emu Labyrinth

    Welcome to Emu Labyrinth at Emu Bay Holiday Homes

    Emu Labyrinth at Emu Bay Holiday Homes was inspired by meeting Terry de Vries from South Africa on Lesvos in Greece in 2018 and helping her to build a labyrinth near the castle in Molyvos.  The flat area just above Jireh House with the beautiful sea views jumped out as the ideal place to build our labyrinth for guests of Emu Bay Holiday Homes to enjoy. Our labyrinth is only open to our guests.
    Emu Labyrinth
    Walking a labyrinth is an ancient practice that helps to reduce stress, quiets the mind and opens the heart. A labyrinth is not a maze. It has only one path that serpentines towards the centre with twists and turns, just like life, and follows the same path back out. It is seen as a mini pilgrimage, a tool for meditation or a walking prayer. A walk with your soul to transform and heal.
    Kangaroo Island Holiday Homes
    How do you use a labyrinth? 
    Think about the questions in your mind. Find a focus to hold onto for your walk.
    Walk quietly, slowly, with an open heart and mind. Contemplate a situation, question or feeling. Ask your spirit mentor to walk with you.
    In the center, pause and rest, reflect on your journey and seek insights into your living. Returning with contemplation is an important part of the journey.
    Emu Labyrinth
    Be grateful and give thanks before leaving the labyrinth.
    MAY THIS LABYRINTH BLESS YOU, CALM YOU AND GIVE YOU PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING.
    Be mindful of others on their labyrinth journey.
    ENJOY AND BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER  ALWAYS.

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      Reviews and testimonials

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      Emu Bay Testimonials
      Emu Bay Testimonials
      Emu Bay Testimonials

      Ideal location, great stay

      Two friends and I spend 3 lovely nights in a cabin at Emu Bay Holiday Homes over the final weekend of October. The cabin was very clean and well maintained. Rene warmly welcomed us on arrival and provided us with some great local tips. The cabin was well equipped and had everything we needed for a home away from home experience. Spectacular views of Emu Bay and convenient location. We return home to Adelaide refreshed and with many lovely memories. A big thank you to Rene and Johannes. We now keenly await our next memorable KI experience.

      – Holly P

      What a gem

      We had a fantastic five night stay with four other friends in Jireh House. Spotlessly clean and well appointed it was great location to enjoy the views set among beautiful gardens with numerous colourful flowering plants. Mornings and evenings on the front verandah were memorable in the tranquil setting with numerous birds using the bird bath or feeding on the flowers. Easy access to Island attractions. Great assistance and communication with all our arrangements from Christine and Rene. We’ll definitely recommend it to friends and return some time.

      – Peter F

      Family friendly home

      A house with stunning views. Home away from home comfort. Great facilities provided. A fantastic location . House situated amongst beautiful gardens so tranquil and peaceful.
      Beautiful grounds for taking a walk and enjoying the Australian flora and fauna. Spotting koalas in the trees near the house was a highlight.

      – Artkat