Robe Township Guide

General Information About Robe

Robe is a quiet fishing village located in the middle of South Australia’s wine growing region, it has a mild summer and winter climate and is located about three hours drive away from Adelaide, so it is quite easy to see why Robe is such a popular getaway destination.
The vast majority of visitors come to Robe for a quiet relaxing holiday by the sea, they are not there for the theme parks or to visit spectacular local scenery they are there to relax, so you can expect to see people, sitting in some of Robe’s many coffee shops and restaurants or casually wandering around the town or on the beach. The proximity to some of Australia’s best wineries and the fresh local seafood is another reason why so many visitors come to Robe.
Robe has over the years run a variety of festivals to attract visitors however they have not been successful as most visitors are not looking to visit Robe just because there is a festival in the town. Attractions for most visitors tend to be conducive to a leisurely holiday, things like day trips to some of the local wineries or the limestone caves at Narracoorte, the just sightseeing along the coast in places such as Kingston or Beachport seem to be typical activities
Also for history buffs a walk around the town is a good way to fill in an hour or so. Robe has over 80 historically listed buildings and because of the towns compact size and flat terrain it is quite easy to to negotiate your way around the town. Some of the popular locations are listed below

The Customs House

This very imposing building was built in 1863 with the expectation that Robe would become a major port on the South Australian coast.

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The Old Gaol

In the 1850's over 17,000 Chinese disembarked at Robe on their way to the goldfields. The authorities built a huge gaol in anticipation, but it was hardly used and quickly fell into disrepair.

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The Obelisk

This small marine beacon has for some strange reason become a symbol of the town and frequently used in the towns advertising brochures. The obelisk sits at the end of small peninsula facing into the southern ocean

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Robe Attractions

Things To Do

The whole idea of going to Robe is generally to do nothing, so filling your holiday calendar with all sorts of activities is probably contradictory to most people's requirements, however if you feel the need to do something other than lay on the beach and relax, then the following suggestions might be suitable.
1. Fishing if you're looking for something to do in Robe, just marginally more physical than sunbathing, then fishing is the ideal choice. Robe is renown for its seafood and has some great spots including the wharf at boat harbour (which is almost in the centre of town) plus rock fishing in Guichen Bay, and surf fishing at Long Gully, Wrights Bay and Longbeach, the latter being a 17 kilometer stretch of sand which runs to the west of Robe and best accessed via 4 wheel drive vehicles ( pictured above ) .

Dining Out

2. Dining Out - Robe has a reputation for excellent quality food, so while you're in Robe take the time to sample some of Robe's local produce. In particular make sure you sample some of the local seafood before you leave.
3. Woakwine Cutting Robe's mini Panama canal - In 1960 Murray's McCourt, a local grazier (and ex-army engineer) borrowed money to buy a D7 Caterpillar tractor and a scraper used to build aircraft runways in World War II. For the next three years he worked at cutting a channel from his property to Lake George. The result transformed his property, from a snake infested swamp into fertile grazing land. You can see this mini engineering marvel about 15 kms East of Robe - The original Caterpillar D7 and scraper are on display close to a lookout point which is located just off the Robe, Beachport road.

Wineries

4. Visit Cape Jaffa / Mt Benson Wine Region,another activity which won't raise your heart rate unduly and sure to be enjoyable is to visit one of the many wineries in the Mount Benson region. This region is developing a reputation for the quality of its wines and there are a number of local wineries that welcome visitors to their property. Cellar door sales are available from Ralph Fowler wines, Norfolk Rise wines, Wangolina Station and Cape Jaffa wines. The village of Cape Jaffa is a base for some professional fishermen and now has a new $14M marina that is worth looking at.
5. Picnic On The Beach. Longbeach is one of a few beaches on the south coast that allows vehicle access and if you are a bit adventurous then a drive along Longbeach and a picnic on a secluded section of the beach is a great way to have your own Robinson Crusoe experience. It is generally recommended that you have a four wheel drive but there are plenty of two wheel drive vehicles that regularly use the beach as well. Before you go, pick up a leaflet from the Visitor Information Centre about the "Do's and Don'ts" of driving along the beach.

History

6. Heritage Walk - Most of Robe's classified buildings are all located within easy walking distance of the town centre, so call in to the Visitor Information Centre and pick up a map and spend a couple of hours discovering Robe's fascinating history.
7. The Coorong - Just to the north of Robe is one of South Australia's most significant National Parks. Located at the mouth of the Murray river, the Coorong is a long, shallow lagoon that extends for over 100 kms, from Goolwa in the north, almost to Kingston in the south. This delicate ecosystem depends on a fragile mix of fresh water from the Murray river and sea water that enters via the river mouth for its survival . There are a number of walking tours and cruises available and for anyone with more that a passing interest in the natural world, a visit to this area is highly recommended .

Exploring Robe

Location

Robe’s unique location on the edge of Guichen Bay has helped in creating its current popularity as a holiday getaway destination. Although the majority of South Australia’s coastline faces directly into the southern ocean, the township of Robe actually faces north and is sheltered from the southerly winds by a small peninsula which forms the southern tip of Guichen Bay.

Robe Overview

Robe has historically been a getaway destination for many South Australian residents, who over the years have come to Robe to relax, and today nothing much has changed.
Robe is still a destination where visitors come to put their feet up and unwind, the only difference these days is the visitors come from much greater distances. If you plan on visiting Robe then don’t expect to find lots of holiday activities in the town, there are no theme parks, no music festivals, no bush walking trails and no scenic landscapes, so apart from local restaurants and coffee shops there is not a lot else to do, but that is why most visitors come to the town.

The Goldrush

In the late 1850's, during the gold rush , approximately 17000 Chinese landed in Robe on their way to the Victorian diggings. They preferred to walk the 150 km to the gold fields across the Victorian border and avoid paying $20 tax, which they would have to pay if they had disembarked in Melbourne. The legacy of their brief visit still remains in Robe today. The influx of large numbers into the town prompted the building of a large jail which was never used to its full potential. It quickly fell into disrepair and was all but demolished. Local groups have restored the foundations of the jail and is now a listed historical site in Robe

Robe Entertainment

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Restaurants in Robe

Robe Pubs and Clubs

Harbour View Motel566 Raglan Parade

Mid Price

Set close to the centre of town, the Harbour View Motel takes in panoramic views of the Robe harbour and Guichen Bay. The upper level contains new luxury self contained apartments plus harbour view spa suites and the ground floor level has new harbour view suites. plus standard and budget rooms.

AVG/NIGHT$120 Web Site

Robe Haven Motel 4 Spence Street

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Economy

Robe Haven Motel overlooks Robe's scenic boat harbour and is just two blocks from Robe's main street. Robe Haven has its own licensed restaurant offering delicious meals at great prices, with local wines and fresh local seafood. All rooms are at ground floor level (non-smoking) and are spacious, clean and comfortable, with updated bathrooms and walk-in showers. Robe Haven Motel is a friendly, family run business

AVG/NIGHT$100 WEB SITE

Robetown Motor InnRobe

485 reviews

The Robetown Motor Inn is a stylish and modern 14 unit motel located about 300 metres from the centre of Robe. All rooms are at ground level, and some are available with their own undercover parking. Robetown Motor Inn also has its own indoor heated pool and spa . To visit the Robetown Motor Inn website click on this link

AVG/NIGHT$110 WEB SITE

Villa San Danci 23 Wrattonbully Rd

485 reviews

Gordon Biddle is Robe's distinguished elder statesman and also the owner of one of Robe's up market B andB's . The Villa San Danci is a luxury 4½ star rated fully self contained two bedroom apartment close to the centre of Robe. Elegantly appointed with quality furniture and fittings. Great sea views from the lounge and also direct access to the Robe town beach.

AVG/NIGHT$95 SELECT
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Robe Travel Options

Getting Here

There are a number of alternate way of getting to Robe but the most popular for anyone coming from Melbourne ( Mt Gambier) is via the Southern Ports Highway (B101) which turn off the main Princes Highway ( designated as B1 in South Australia) at Millicent). Although it is designated as a minor road the road surface is excellent and not too much different to the main highway. The Southern Ports Highway takes you past the small coastal villages of Southend and Beachport before arriving at Robe. From the Adelaide direction the best way is to take the Princess Highway (B1) to Kingston and then turn onto the Southern Port Highway (B101).

Local Travel

Most visitors to Robe arrive by car and even those without transport find getting around the township quite easy as the township is quite small, so there isn’t much demand for public transport in the town, but there is one taxi service operating in Robe and they provide services extending to the surrounding towns. Booking this service well in advance is recommended .

Public Transport

Robe’s has no rail or air service so the main connection with the outside world (using public transport) is via the Premier Stateliner coach service which run daily between Adelaide - Robe - Mt Gambier . The service runs 6 days a week ( no Saturday service) but in alternate directions each day so the coach does a Mt Gambier to Adelaide on a Monday and then do the Adelaide to Mt Gambier return trip on a Tuesday and repeats for Wednesday and Thursday then does a two way trip on the Friday. .