EBHH History

Emu Bay Holiday Homes History

Take a walk through Emu Bay Holiday Homes history

Emu Bay Holiday Homes History
The original owners of the Emu Bay Holiday Homes, Garry and Joyleen Watters had sold their 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 Garry and Joyleen 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, Garry and Joyleen built the shed and water tanks, living in a caravan while building Shalom and Jireh. Next came the main house, now called Amani (Swahili for Peace) with Bayview attached, followed by the two cottages and then the two cabins.
Garry loved birds and planned a garden that would attract the island’s beautiful native birds. He enjoyed conducting penguin tours on Emu Bay Beach. Garry and Joyleen often had groups over from churches in Adelaide. Sadly Joyleen fell ill with cancer and eventually Garry sold the property.
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 Graham to leave the farming to the kids. Being a man of few words, Graham enjoyed interacting with guests and became quite comfortable talking to people.
Graham 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.
Emu Bay Holiday Homes History
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.
Emu Bay Holiday Homes History
Reflecting on their 14 years at EBHH, Ann and Theo 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 Renè 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 Renè and Johannes drove out to Emu Bay together to have another look.

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, Renè 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. Renè and Johannes have since embarked on a gradual process of renovation and maintenance, including the addition of Kangaroo Island’s only labyrinth, and building their own team.

Click Here to Read our Emu Labyrinth Blog

Emu Bay Holiday Homes

Reviews and Testimonials

Divider illustration

Ideal location, great stay

Two friends and I spent 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 a 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