Wander Community //
A Kangaroo Island custodian and culinary craftsman.
You won’t find too many people in this world as passionate about a place as Nick Hannaford is with Kangaroo Island. A Creative Director of all the senses, Nick has had over 25 years’ experience in bringing together magical and immersive hospitality and dining adventures all around Australia. Now, he’s come back home to where it all began.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
“I grew up in the kitchen cooking with mum as a kid on Kangaroo Island, on some evenings we would drag a net on the beach and catch bags of mullet and then eat them fresh from a fire bbq on the beach.“
You have spent a lot of time growing up on Kangaroo Island, and now your kids are growing up there, what do you love most about the place? What makes it so special for you?
I grew up in the kitchen cooking with mum as a kid on Kangaroo Island. On some evenings we would drag a net on the beach and catch bags of mullet and then eat them fresh from a fire bbq on the beach. We always ate out in nature with picnics and inside a huge fig tree. Which is now where the Gastronomo Dining Enchanted Fig Tree is… right where I grew up.
What was your vision when you created Gastronomo Wilderness Dining?
As the years went on I started a special events management business where we created amazing corporate and incentive events around Australia and the Asia pacific.
Last year, when Covid came and the restaurant industry was in turmoil I believed there was a fantastic opportunity to bring my 30 years of events and hospitality experience together to create immersive dining events that connected people to the spirit of a place – an experience that incorporated nature that also had a bit of theatre, magic and the element of surprise! Enter Gastronomo dining.
Who has been your biggest supporter?
There are a few. The South Australian Tourism Commission, the local Kangaroo Island Tourism Associations and hospitality businesses, and of course the local government – the bushfire recovery grant gave me the incentive to jump in and make the Gastronomo concept a reality.
What makes you particularly proud about being part of the Kangaroo Island community? Who are your local heroes?
Kangaroo Island has been through a very tough time of late – The resilience of our community to reinvent or reimagine has been inspiring. New opportunities have also been created that has taken people on new and exciting paths.
What’s your one piece of advice for an out of towner? What is something they must try?
Most people don’t realise the size of the island – my advice is book a minimum of 3 days – preferably 4+. Use the opportunity to slow down, have a break and connect with the things that matter in life with friends and family – KI can be your culinary and wilderness playground.
Inspired by our Australian landscapes and our local culture and history, Gastronomo brings the magic of outdoor dining to you – artfully combined with a flourish of theatre, a few new tastes and a touch of the unexpected.
What do most people not know about you that you can share?
I come across as a very confident person but I am continually doubting myself! I also once ate whale sperm in Japan and thought it was one of the most challenging flavours I have ever eaten!
Can you tell us a bit about where you get your inspiration from?
The world around me, childhood, awesome past experiences and past lives….
What are your dreams for the future?
Happiness, good health of me and the people I love and serious steps are made towards preserving the health of our planet.
How have you recently changed anything in your business or home life to become more sustainable?
To be sustainable as a business and happy functioning person I think we need to embrace now more than ever that everything changes and try not to be surprised by it (good or bad), I try to be ready for change, I plan for change – and work on ways to embrace it.
What do you think about the future of travel?
After such a hard year with Covid and the focus back on the value of our time, I think we have a huge opportunity in Australia to connect people to our amazing wilderness, food, and community assets through immersive transformational travel experiences. It’s Australia’s time to shine again and we are incredibly excited to work with Wander – together, nature’s magic and amazing memories will become a reality!
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