Tucked away in the southeast corner of South Australia lies a hidden gem. Robe is a charming seaside town boasting a fascinating history, fabulous local wineries and wonderful natural attractions. Located at the southern end of Guichen Bay, Robe is one of the Limestone Coast’s star destinations, and it’s ideal to visit any time of year.
Rich in History
Robe has a rich maritime history, and was a major port for wool export during the last century, and has been a hub for working fisherman for well over a hundred years. During the 1850s, it was also the arrival port for over 16,000 Chinese, who left poverty and violence in their homeland to seek their fortune across the other side of the globe. Today, the town’s Chinese Memorial on Victoria Street commemorates those who arrived and incredibly, walked the 400 kilometres to the Victorian Goldfields.
Why not pay a visit to Robe House, the town’s oldest home, which was built in 1847. You can wander through the renovated stone cottage and its lovely gardens. Be sure also to visit the Obelisk shipping marker on Cape Dombey, the Old Gaol and the Beacon Hill Lookout, which affords fabulous views of the town and the wide blue Southern Ocean. There are also several walking trails, such as the Chinese Gold Trail, that are well worth exploring.
Long Beach is Robe’s main beach, boasting 17km of wide golden sand, and gentle rolling waves. You can drive right up to the water’s edge, and enjoy a swim, surf, or even a spot of fishing. For a change of pace, Little Dip Conservation Park is just one of several nearby parks great for a four-wheel drive, or bushwalk. Or, if you’re looking for a real adventure, why not take a helicopter flight over Robe and the spectacular rugged coastline.
A little further afield you’ll discover Mount Gambier’s stunning Blue Lake (the water is a striking vivid cobalt) and the megafauna fossils in the World Heritage Listed Naracoorte Caves.
Wining and Dining
The rich red soil of the Limestone Coast is ideal for wine growing, and Robe is fast becoming one of the state’s most interesting wine regions. Vineyards sprang up in the ‘90s, and are now producing a variety of first class grapes, including shiraz, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Both Karatta Wines on the Robe Penola road, and Governor Robe Wines, have cellar doors (the latter in town), where you can sample a selection of these cool-climate tipples with a tasty cheese platter.
The Mount Benson wine region is also nearby, and specialises in reds such as shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and pinot noir. Make a day of it by plotting your visit to the cellar doors, and staying for a picnic. Or, if your time is short, head to the Mount Benson Wine and Tourism Centre where you can taste and purchase wine from the local vineyards.
There are several dining options in Robe. Choose from friendly cafes, casual bistros, or wonderful restaurants. The town is known for its crayfish, but be sure to sample a selection of other seafood and local produce such as olives and berries.
A Festive Food Affair
Visiting in January? Then don’t miss The Cape Jaffa Seafood and Wine Festival. This annual event brings together the wonderful wines of the Robe and Mt Benson regions, with succulent seafood and fine local produce.
Like to Know More?
There’s plenty to discover in Robe and along the beautiful Limestone Coast. For more information and tips on just what to do, where to visit, and where to stay, take a look at the following websites: