Tucked away on South Australia’s rugged Limestone Coast, Robe has a remarkable history. The picturesque seaside town sits on the shores of Guichen Bay, named in honour of a French Admiral after it was sighted by explorer Nicolas Baudin, in 1802. Now it’s a destination for thousands of visitors, who travel there for the beauty, tranquility, seafood and other fantastic drawcards. We recently visited, and put together a list of our favourite 10 things to do.
1. There’s nothing like finding a hidden cellar door, and nothing meets that description more than Aunt Alice in Robe. Tucked away in the industrial back streets of the town, you’ll think you’re lost until you’re on their front doorstep. An absolute favourite of ours, this quaint little treasure is run by a husband and wife team, who love the beach. Come for the experience and the wine, stay for the platter and a chat.
2. If you love a bargain, you can’t go past Holiday warehouse sales during school holidays. With a HUGE (I mean HUGEEEE) range of gorgeous women’s clothing, at ridiculous prices, along with accessories and some homewares, it’s a shopper’s dream. Holiday is responsible for labels including Brave+True, Shanty, Daisy Says and Homelove.
3. Robe is known for its incredible seafood, none more coveted than their Southern Rock Lobsters. For a special night out in the town, head to Sails Restaurant, and enjoy half a lobster for around $110pp.
4. For those looking for a more affordable option, you can also grab a Lobster straight from the local seafood processor – Sky Seafoods for around $60/whole lobster to enjoy at home, or in your caravan as we did! You’ll find it just around the corner from Mahalia Coffee.
5. Speaking of Mahalia Coffee cafe, it’s a must-visit if you’re after a great caffeine hit! The cafe itself is full of gorgeous knick knacks for purchase, while the coffee and cake is as good as it gets. Best of all, if you have kids, there’s a good outdoor space which leads out to a playground, so the kids can run around, you can have your coffee, and if you have a shopper in your group, they can duck next door to the Holiday warehouse (during school holidays) to shop up a storm.
6. Looking for something more adventurous? Try Mountain biking around Robe! Kylie from TRACX Robe Adventure Tours is sensational, and will lead you and your group along bush tracks, coastal tracks, and the streets of Robe, giving you the ultimate tour along the way. She’ll tailor the tour to your abilities, so everyone can enjoy themselves. Our girls were only 6 & 8 when we took them, and we all had a great day out. There’s also talk of eBikes joining her offering, so stay tuned for that.
7. If you’re on holidays, wineries are a must (or is that just in my family?!). Wangolina is a definite destination to seek out. There you’ll find great wine, and an all woman team led by their award winning wine maker Anita. If you have kids there’s a lawn they can kick a ball around on, while you enjoy cheese and meat platters, not too far from Robe. Another great option
s is Cafe Jaffa, which is much bigger and more commercial. With great views, a cellar door and Loophole Brewery also on site, there’s plenty of reasons to visit. They also often have live music and food trucks on site. Karatta Wines is a cellar door found on the Main Street of Robe which also houses an art gallery and open fireplace. There’s great wine there too. Finally, for something a little different, head to Woodsoak Winery, which is also on the Main Street. It offers wine tastings with samosas and a great Indian twist.
8. For more of an experience while you’re in town, don’t forget to visit the Robe Town Brewery (located near Aunt Alice, Mahalia Coffee, Sky Seafoods & Holiday warehouse) for huge beer selection, Friday happy hour, live music and Rubens (check when food is available though as it’s not all the time).
9. To eat, we’d recommend Adventurous Spoon, which was by far our favourite brunch, lunch, and wine bar in Robe. Union cafe is also on the main drag, and while it has a basic fitout, the food is great. The Project Robe offers up good pizza and has the most amazing beer garden tucked away behind the venue. The perfect place to sit and have a wine on a sunny day!
10. While Robe has no distilleries to speak of, they do have Robe Gin. To check it out you’ll need to visit the Robe Holiday Park and do a gin tasting at the reception desk. It’s unconventional but the gin is decent if you’re after something local, plus the bottle looks sensational and makes a great gift. While you’re there also make sure to tour the caravan park – it’s a wooded wonderland!
Some honorable mentions that also need to be included are:
Long Beach – There aren’t too many beaches where you can take your vehicle down on to the sand, but Long Beach in Robe allows it in the summer months when the sand is very firm.. The beach itself is 17 kms long and is a sight to behold in January with hundreds of cars parked up the beach.
Humpalicious Camel Farm – Visit amazing and intriguing camels at the Humpalicious Camel Farm. Join a Morning Milking Tour and learn how a camel is milked, meet the camel babies and taste fresh camel milk and camel milk gelato ice cream!
Robe Dairy – If you’re after local cheese, milk or yoghurt, why not visit the Robe Dairy farmgate! Their farm shop is now open Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 2pm. Just sales, no tastings (due to Covid). Head to the farm and buy direct from them, only 5km from town at 346 Nora Creina Road (see Google Maps). Look for the red milk can and flag.
Billy Bob’s 4×4 Tours – Billybob’s 4X4 Tours are designed to show you the best beaches Robe has to offer, along with fantastic views and photo opportunities of Robe Long Beach, Boatswains Point and Little Dip Conservation Park. These three gems are iconic features in Robe and not to be missed! The tours explore sand dunes, boggy beaches and 4X4 tracks. You can also explore the rugged Limestone Coast and surrounding Robe area, visit local brewery and wineries, and breathe in the clean crisp sea air from The Great Southern Ocean, feel the sand between your toes at your new favourite beach, all while having a great time with Billybob’s 4X4 Tours, family and friends!
Transmutation – South Aussie company Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs collects bread tags from all over Australia, and then sends them to Robe, the only place in the country that can make something, from what would otherwise be rubbish. Transmutation, based in Robe, use a machine they’ve built themselves to compresses the bread tags, which allows them to be moulded into something beautiful. From hexagonal bowls, bread boards and soup dishes, the team at Transmutation ‘transform’ the rubbish into functional art, and sell the pieces, with proceeds going towards funding wheelchairs for kids in need in South Africa.
Mike’s Beef Jerky – Mike’s Beef Jerky is proudly a South Australian owned and operated company, creating a flavour sensation made from 100% premium Australian beef. Making smallgoods has been a favourite past time for many years and the demand for their home made beef jerky inspired Mike and Cindy to take the leap of faith and start producing commercially in late 2019. Mike’s Beef Jerky is packed full of flavour with a special blend of spices intensified with a delicate natural wood smoke finish. Once you bite into any one of the three flavours of Original, Black Pepper and Chilli jerky, you will understand why so many people are choosing Mike’s Beef Jerky as their new go-to jerky snack.
While you’re in Robe, don’t forget to check out the attractions nearby. The Naracoorte caves are just over an hour away & spectacular (and if you go all that way, carry on to Coonawarra where there’s dozens of wineries on the main drag so easy to visit, hit Penola, then take a right turn back to Robe).
For more information on Robe, and what’s on offer, head to the https://www.robe.com.au/