The Victoria Fossil Cave findings

Top 5 Things on the Limestone Coast

Us with a thylacoleo carnifex


When you get there you’ll know, because most of the roads and houses on the Limestone Coast are a creamy white colour.  The limestone was formed by the accumulation of various deposits of marine life and shells over millions of years when the area was under the ocean.  About a million years ago, the sea retreated and allowed nature to take its course to create sinkholes, caves, salt lakes, and pockets of beautifully fertile red soil that is renowned for producing great wine and agriculture.


It took us about two weeks to complete the limestone coast from Nelson in Victoria to the mouth of the Murray River, and while we saw many things, here are our top five favourite destinations in this beautiful region of South Australia.



The Princess Rose Margaret Cave and Naracoorte Caves

These caves were both formed from limestone and exhibit excellent crystal formations that have developed over hundreds and thousands of years.



The Princess Rose Margaret Cave is a small gem with a fantastic story behind it, while the World Heritage Naracoorte Caves are historically significant as they contain fossils dating back to almost half a million years ago.


Coonawarra Wine Region

What’s not to love!?  This famous wine region is soaked in history and is considered to produce the best cabernet sauvignons in the country.  We recommend the small, boutique cellar doors instead of the big names.



Mount Gambier & the Blue Lake

Unlike the tap water, Mount Gambier does not leave a bad taste in your mouth.  The town is easy to navigate, has a great selection of pubs to tickle all fancies, and it is home to the beautiful Blue Lake.



Beachport & Post Office Rock

We weren’t expecting much of Beachport but it ended up being one of our favourite places on the Limestone Coast.  Go for a stroll on South Australia’s second longest jetty and explore beautiful Post Office Rock before having a refreshing dip in the Pool of Siloam, a salt lake that is seven times saltier than the sea.



Robe & the Mahalia Coffee Tour

There is an air of hospitality in Robe, with the main street lined with pubs, cafes, pizzerias and restaurants.  We ended up trying much of the fare and were thoroughly impressed with the goods – great coffee at Union Café, supplied by Mahalia Coffee, delicious pizza topped with fresh ingredients at VicStreetPIZZA, and a succulent ‘parmi’ at the Caledonian Inn.



We had a great time at the Mahalia Coffee Roasting House with a tour through the roasting house and a great chat with Mahalia that exposed her love and passion for coffee and providing a great product.


The Obelisk

Town Profile : Robe

We rolled into Robe at around lunchtime and realised it was quite a hospitable town.  Victoria Street is full of restaurants, cafes and pubs so we promised ourselves to stick around and sample the local fare.


The town sits on Guichen Bay and was founded in 1846 by the South Australian Government.  It ended up being the place where thousands of Chinese hopefuls looking for their fortune landed to prepare for their pilgrimage to the Victorian Goldfields in the 1850s.


The beach and view of the bay was stunning, and the clouds seem to be different compared to those in Victoria.



Robe Visitor Centre & Library

The lovely people at the visitor centre are more than happy to provide a plethora of information about the local attractions and excellent fishing spots.  You can pick up maps, tide guides and brochures that give you an indication of allowed fish sizes and quantities, as well as hire bikes for free so you can tour around town at your own pace.


The visitor centre is also the library and offers free wifi in a quiet and air-conditioned atmosphere.  Across the road is a public toilet block with cold showers, just in case you need to de-funkify yourself.

The Obelisk

This 40ft tall structure was built in 1855 and was originally all white.  The seamen complained that it was difficult to see while out on the ocean because the limestone cliffs were also lightly coloured.  The red stripes were introduced in 1862 to make it more visible and the Obelisk is now visible from 20km away on a clear day.
The Obelisk


Mahalia Coffee

A boutique roasting house and espresso bar just on the outskirts of town that sells coffee beans, tea, coffee percolators, plungers and grinders.  Mahalia Layzell started roasting her own coffee in 1999 and since then, her empire has grown to supply selected outlets around Australia.


Check out our exclusive post about mahalia coffee.


Attic House

This quaint little outlet was built over 100 years ago and was originally used as a tailor’s workshop.  The cellar door for Waterhouse Range Vineyard is located here, which was established in 1995 on terra rossa soil about 15km east of Robe.  They create a variety called Governor Robe Selections, and while their Chardonnay was fresh and fruity with flavours of nectarine and peach, the 2006 Merlot won us over.  It was light and juicy with a gorgeous garnet colour; perfect for the warm weather.  The 2005 Shiraz had a little more body and spice with lots of dark fruit flavours, but was a little rich for the 30 degree heat.

“We wish you health, wealth and happiness”


Wine tasting at the Attic House




Robe is a huge fishing town with a variety of locations to drop a line.  There are lakes and beaches, jetties and breakwaters or rugged cliffs where you can catch bream, flathead, flounder, whiting, salmon trout and a bunch of other good ‘uns.


We gave the lakes a go – Lake Nunan in particular – with the hope of catching some bream, but because our fishing schedule was out of sync with the tides, we had no luck.


Bike Riding

The information centre has free bike hire!  Make a booking and take the bikes for a spin around town.  Check out Lake Butler, the Obelisk and Old Gaol before cruising down Victoria Street.  It’s a healthy and environmentally friendly way to explore the town.



Union Cafe

This is the one café in Robe that is supplied by mahalia coffee, and they sure know how to brew a cup!  We stopped in briefly for a caffeine fix and found ourselves enjoying a smooth, creamy and tasty latte, compliments of mahalia coffee.



Pizza time!  We shared a medium pizza, half capricciosa and half Amazon.

The Capriciossa was topped with mushroom and fresh anchovies, not the super-salty ones out of the jar.  They were fresh little suckers and absolutely divine to bite into.

The Amazon pizza was topped with both fresh and semi-dried tomato, goats cheese, olive and basil. Apart from being very tomato-y, the cheese provided a tart but creamy dimension and the basil was a fresh relief.

Caledonian Inn

The oldest pub in town, the ‘Cally’ was established in 1859 and built from the wood of two shipwrecks that crashed upon Robe shores.  The insides have a truly traditional feel, with timber struts and support beams, old wooden floors and rustic limestone walls.

We ate dinner here – Dave ordered the fisherman’s basket while Juz got the ‘parmi’.  They came out quick and looked incredible!

Both plates had standard cut chips that were well seasoned with a salad that included mushrooms, cucumber and tomato.  Dave’s plate was full of deep-fried goodies like calamari, scallops, prawns and fish, while Juz’s ‘parmi’ was a little different from a Melbourne ‘parma’.  It was topped with a sauce that was more like roasted capsicum than Napoli sauce, and there was no ham.  Regardless, our dinners were delicious and were washed down with some liquid gold.



Discovery Holiday Parks

70 – 80 Esplanade, Robe – 08 8768 2237


Mahalia Coffee Boutique Roasting House

Mahalia Coffee

Coffee for most is a daily ritual.  We purchase our personal preference from our favourite coffee shop and sip away to get our morning slap, but how often do you truly stop to appreciate the flavours?  Is your coffee bitter or bland, creamy or sharp?  Is it made with love or greed?


At mahalia coffee, you know that you will always get a product made with passion, love, and with your preferences in mind.



Mahalia Layzell trained as a chef in Melbourne before moving to Robe.  She started running a café with her husband, Paul (who is also a chef) in 1996 and after three years, they decided to start roasting her own coffee beans.  After doing a lot of reading and research, Mahalia taught herself to become a master roaster, developing a recipe would produce a great cup of coffee!


The café became secondary to roasting and was eventually sold so Mahalia and Paul could focus their attention on perfecting their recipe and creating new blends.


Mahalia is a profiler, which means that she follows a specific recipe to cook the beans and there is a certain amount of attention to detail involved, as opposed to browning, which means that the beans are cooked until they are a certain colour, not considering temperature, air flow or flavours.  We were lucky enough to be given a tour of her roasting house and watch her do her magic!



The philosophy behind mahalia coffee is simple – quality over quantity.  It’s not about making a lot of product or growing the business into a multi-million dollar enterprise.  It’s about loving what you do and providing a product that produces the best results.  Mahalia has developed 5 blends, ranging from light and creamy to rich and robust, as well as a decaffeinated blend, and her coffee has won a variety of awards, including the Golden Bean Award in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010.


Today, her busy outlet sells coffee, tea and hot chocolate, as well as mugs and tea sets, coffee grinders, percolators, plungers and espresso machines.  She also offers consulting and espresso making courses to her customers.