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.
PLACES OF INTEREST
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
FOOD & ACCOMMODATION
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.
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