Robe, on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, is a favourite holiday destination for many in both South Australia and Victoria. It started with the beach as its main attraction, but today there is so much more on offer. Here are all the things to do in Robe
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TL;DR? Here's the outline
- Top Things to Do in Robe SA
- Places to See in Robe
- Historical Things to Do in Robe
- Active Things to Do in Robe
- Trying the Local Robe Produce
- Nature in Robe
- Things to do in Robe at Night
- Shopping in Robe
- Events in Robe
- Where to Eat
- Day Trips
- More Robe Essentials
- Robe SA FAQs
Robe is a gem with charming cottages, a lively harbour, and beautiful beaches. There is so much to do like taking a relaxing stroll along Long Beach for some sun and sea.
Visit the Robe Cemetery, an intriguing historic site that sheds light on the past. Lastly, wine enthusiasts can enjoy the local wineries and appreciate the region’s best.
Robe has a bit of everything – history, coastline, and good food and drink. Get ready for an adventure in this coastal paradise!
Here are the things to do in Robe, South Australia
The Robe area is the traditional land of the Bunganditj and Meintangk peoples.
Top Things to Do in Robe SA
Robe is best known as a summer coastal town. During the school holidays, it is packed to the rafters with visitors from South Australia, Victoria and beyond. But is Robe worth visiting in winter?
I visited in recently July, and, in fact, while summer might seem like the best time to visit Robe, winter might just be a better time if you want to enjoy the brisk sea air and avoid the crowds.
There were still plenty of things to do in Robe in winter – we stayed four nights and were busy the whole time, so don’t discard it when deciding on your winter destinations. It’s an ideal stop on a road trip to the South East too.
Take a look at this huge list of things to do in Robe – there really is something here for everyone.
Humpalicious Camel Farm
Just out of town you can visit Humpalicious Camel Farm to do a milking tour of the farm and learn about milking camels and the benefits of camel milk.
If you’re in Robe with kids, they will love this. They can hand-feed the babies and taste fresh camel milk and see all the other animals on the farm. Also try the camel milk gelato ice cream – it’s surprisingly good.
Robe Tours offers two different options for four-wheel driving adventure tours exploring Robe and the surrounding areas (and beaches!).
Book them to drive you around on their Backbeach Tour or join in with your own 4WD on a Tag Along tour, where you will also be given hints and tips to teach you to drive in the sand dunes.
Scenic Flight in Tiger Moth
Take a scenic flight over the beaches and coastline around Robe in a tiger moth – how cool is this? Flights are for fifteen minutes and you can find the contact details over on the Facebook page.
If a tiger moth is not your thing, perhaps you would prefer a scenic helicopter flight over the Limestone Coast? Heli Eyre is now sending one of their helicopters to Robe each summer to show off this stunning area from the air.
Contact them through their website here.
The Robe Sign
Like any good town worth visiting Robe has a large sign at the entrance. Stop and take a photo with the sign – go on, you know you want to!
Limestone Coast Boat Tours
Just starting for the first time this summer, Limestone Coast Boat Tours have just started running coastal tours of the waters around Robe and Cape Jaffa.
The 90-minute Robe tour leaves from the Lake Butler Marina right in the centre of town.
Since they have only just started up, they are releasing cruise dates periodically. The best place to check the upcoming dates is on their Facebook page.
I would anticipate more dates will become available as Robe gets busier over the summer.
Places to See in Robe
This is one of those towns with not just a pile of things to do, but there is a pile of things to see in Robe too. Take a day to drive around and admire these scenic points and monuments.
Beacon Hill Lookout
Start your visit by getting your bearings at the Beacon Hill Lookout. Climb the view tower and look over the town of Robe out to sea beyond. Visit at sunset to watch the sun sink into the ocean.
Robe Fishermen’s Memorial
Like any seaside town, there have been many local lives lost to the ocean. This memorial mentions them all, from the earliest days to some recent losses. The memorial is near the entrance to the Lake Butler Marina.
There’s a lighthouse, and the Obelisk here at Robe, so I was curious about the other tall structure not too far away. What could it possibly be for?
As it turns out, it’s simply a sculpture, erected in 2002 to pay tribute to Robe’s ongoing maritime traditions.
Lake Butler Marina
Take a stroll around the Lake Bulter Marina, home of many of the town’s recreational boats as well as the cray fishing fleet that delivers those tasty morsels fresh to our plates.
Robe’s first jetty was built back in 1855 to be used in the export of wool. It wasn’t well constructed, and soon after was replaced. And then replaced again – and again.
The jetty you see today is the fourth to have been erected here and is mostly used now for fishing and recreation rather than for any commercial purposes.
This modern lighthouse was built in 1972 to replace the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse (which originally sat on a reef out to sea but can now be seen in the nearby town of Kingston SE) to steer ships away from the rugged coastline.
It’s a concrete star-shaped structure that has always been automated, so it doesn’t have the romantic air of older lighthouses, but it is still worth a quick look.
I didn’t have a chance to see this myself, but I have heard that the people who run the historic Narraburra Woolshed just outside of Robe open up to visitors during shearing time.
I recommend asking about it at the Visitor Information Centre when you are in town if you are interested in having a look.
Historical Things to Do in Robe
When planning what to do in Robe, include some activities to learn about the history of the region.
An obvious starting point is the Historic Interpretative Centre located in the Library Building on Smillie Street. The centre was built as a library in 1868 and recently modernised contains an extensive visual history of the district.
It is open Mon – Fri 10.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. – 5.00 p.m. and on Saturday from 8.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Cape Dombey Obelisk
This is the symbol of Robe and commonly seen in photographs of the area. The Obelisk was built back in 1855 to help guide ships into Guichen Bay. It’s 12 metres tall and can be seen up to 16km out to sea.
The sandstone cliffs of Cape Dombey it sits on are slowly being eroded bit by bit, and sometime over the next decade or two, it is likely that the Obelisk will sadly collapse into the sea.
Royal Circus & Customs House
The Royal Circus sounds particularly fancy, but in reality, it’s simply a large roundabout. Robe Customs House is a neat brick building built on the Royal Circus.
Originally it was used to process goods as they arrived by ship into the harbour here at the Port of Robe.
Today it functions as a small National Trust museum. Entry is by gold coin donation, but hours depend on volunteers, so check at the Tourist Information Office to find out when they are open during your visit.
Robe Gaol Ruins
The gaol here at Robe was the first in the South East region, dating from 1861. It doesn’t seem to have been too effective over the years though, with a number of escapes.
It was officially closed (for the second time) in 1881 and fell into disrepair with many of the stones pulled down to use as road rubble.
In recent years, restoration work has seen the lower part of the walls rebuilt so that the footprint of the gaol is again visible to all.
Our Lady Star of the Sea Church
This pretty church was one of the first Catholic churches built in South Australia, and it is connected to Australia’s only saint, Mary MacKillop.
It was built by her mentor, Father Julian Tennyson Woods and a branch of the school they set up was housed in this church. Services are still held here if you would like to join in.
Robe’s Tombstone Tales
Download the app and listen to tales about interesting characters and historical events as you wander amongst the tombstones in Robe’s historical cemetery.
I was hooked by the first story we listened to as we stood at the grave of a 17-year-old who had been accidentally shot by his younger brother because he wouldn’t get out of bed!
Details and audio files can be found on the RobeWalk.com website.
The Chinese Monument
This is not something I expected to see in Robe, a red gate sitting in the ocean with Chinese characters on it.
Thankfully there is an explanation nearby. Robe was the landing place for thousands of Chinese as they were on their way to the Victorian goldfields. Take a moment to remember them as you pass by.
Active Things to Do in Robe
With so many great options, it’s easy to get active. Some of these ideas are the best things to do in Robe with kids too, especially to combat all that energy they have on holiday.
Hit the Beach
Okay, this may or may not be active, depending on exactly how you decide to spend the day, but since Robe is one of SA’s most popular beach destinations, this has to be on your list.
Whether you simply stroll along the shore, spend your day amongst the waves or lie on the sand, it is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
Mountain biking is becoming very popular around Robe with the creation of the Beacon Hill Mountain Biking Trails.
You can head off on your own and get that adrenalin pumping, or you can contact Kylie from Tracx for a personalised tour that can suit all abilities.
Bikes are available for hire at Robe Auto and Marine
Robe Historic Walk
If history is your thing, pick up a brochure from the Visitor Information Centre and learn about the history of Robe as you wander around the centre of town. You can also download the PDF here.
Robe Coastal Walking Trail
The Robe Coastal Walking Trail is a great way to spend a couple of hours and see many of the sights mentioned here.
Start the walk from the small car park where the Esplanade and Dawson Drive meet near the L Drain Outlet and follow the well-signed coastal path all the way to the lighthouse.
Walk back via the centre of town, where you can stop for a coffee or a meal on the way.
Charlie’s Surf School
Book in for a surfing lesson with a Robe local. Classes are held every day in summer, everything is provided, and they are suitable for all ages. Take a look at the details here.
There are so many different options for fishing here in Robe. Whether it’s tossing a line in off the jetty or doing some surf fishing on Long Beach you’re almost certain to catch enough to take home for dinner.
There’s also fishing from rocks and fishing in the marina and lakes, so plenty of options.
To make sure of it there is a local fishing guide in town (Jamie Rogers 0455 530 344) who would love to show you all the best spots.
If you want to head out in a boat and try your hand at some larger fish, fishing charters are also available. They run from January to June and all bait and tackle is supplied. Contact Mark on 0428 854 917.
If you don’t have your own rod but want to do some fishing, they can be hired from Robe Auto and Marine.
If you would like to enjoy some tranquillity while you are on holiday, join in on a yoga class.
Held at the Robe Institute right behind the Tourist Information Centre (and beach yoga starting soon), classes are held at various times throughout the week. Look out for fliers around town.
Robe Kayak Hire
Hire a kayak or canoe and hit the water, exploring the many lakes and inlets in the area. Canoes and Kayaks are available from Robe Auto & Marine.
Trying the Local Robe Produce
For a small town, Robe punches well above its weight when it comes to the fresh produce, wines, beers and more that are made right here. A visit is not complete without trying at least some of these.
Robe Town Brewery
This is a fabulous craft brewery to try the huge range of beers made here in Robe.
As a non-beer drinker, I tagged along while my husband had a tasting paddle but was convinced to try the Raspberry Sour, and I’ve finally discovered a beer I can drink.
Sadly it’s a limited run, but perhaps they will have something else for the non-beer drinkers in your party too.
There are eighteen wine regions in South Australia, and two of them are right here – the Robe region, and the neighbouring Mount Benson. Each of them has a number of wineries and cellar doors.
Here are just a few you might like to try
- Karatta Wines
- Woodsoak Wines
- Norfolk Wines
- Cape Jaffa Wines
- Ralph Fowler Wines
- Mount Benson Estate
Mahalia Coffee started in Robe in 2003 as a small roastery supplying the local cafes with their favourite beans. Since then the coffee has become available all over the state (I have had it at Penong, all the way over on the Nullarbor!).
They have now opened the most beautiful little cafe that serves meals alongside all the coffee and tea supplies, giftwares and homewares. At a very minimum, call in to try their coffee – I bet you will be back for more.
Robe Gin (Robe Holiday Park, Sky Seafood, Robe … )
Robe Gin remained elusive during my visit but I am told that it can be tasted at Robe Holiday Park, Sky Seafood and the Robe Town Brewery.
Mike’s Beef Jerky
Even a non-meat-eater can’t help but be drawn in by the delicious smells of cured meats wafting out from Mike’s Beef Jerky!
While I may not have been able to eat it, my husband sure can, and we went home with two packets of each flavour which he declared some of the best he’s ever had.
The Loophole Brewery is part of Cape Jaffa Wines and you can taste their beers alongside the wines at their cellar door, or call into the tap room near the Caledonian Hotel to try them while you are in Robe.
While I didn’t get a chance to try them, we spotted their wine sours while we were wine tasting at Cape Jaffa – how fun!
This was another one my husband got to try out but I could not as they don’t have any vegan options available. What they do have is a huge range of locally made chocolates that will satisfy (almost) every sweet tooth!
We took home some chocolate-coated rocky road to share with the family.
Nature in Robe
The good thing about holidays in small towns is that nature is not too far away. Here are some of the best Robe attractions in nature for you to enjoy.
This freshwater lake almost right in town is referred to by locals as the ski lake. This is where in summer you will see ski boats doing laps with squeals of delight coming from those in the rear.
This arch-like rock formation sits just off the rugged Limestone Coast between the Obelisk and the lighthouse. Follow the path to get the best views.
Long Beach, as its name suggests, is long! 12km long in fact. It’s a perfect arc of white sand with a shallow beach and gentle waves.
You can access the beach from various areas along it’s length, and in some places you can drive your car onto the beach as the sand is very firm.
In summer, it is THE place to be. Long Beach is a safe place for kids to swim towards the town, and further along the surfers like it for catching some waves.
Even in winter, I enjoyed a long morning walk on the beach, enjoying the colours as the sun rose.
Town Beach, Stinger Beach & Glass Beach
While Long Beach gets all the accolades, it’s not the only beach in Robe. Town Beach is a small beach right in the centre of town. With a grassy area, and playground, it’s great for a short visit with kids.
Stinger and Glass Beaches are two smaller but interesting beaches to explore. Look out for caves in the cliff faces, soft white sand, and on Glass Beach you may just find yourself some sea glass, worn smooth by years in the ocean.
Little Dip Conservation Park
Just a couple of kilometres out of town, in the Nora Creina area, is the Little Dip Conservation Park. This is a great area to come and do a short hike, either the Freshwater Lake Hike or the Lake Eliza Hike – or both!
We did both walking trails, and they are each very different. It was fun to see an echidna and kangaroos, and plenty of evidence there are wombats here too.
This area is also great for a picnic, 4WDing along the beaches, and you can extend your stay by camping at one of the campgrounds. See the National Parks website for details.
During winter Humpback and Southern Right Whales pass by Robe as they are migrating north to give birth, and then later, south to take their young back to Antarctica.
Any time you are looking out to sea, watch for the tell-tale spurt of water as the whales come up for air – you might be lucky to spot some whales as they pass.
Things to do in Robe at Night
Most country towns go to sleep when the sun goes down, but you will find a little entertainment to be had here in Robe. You can head to one of the two pubs in Robe or you can try one of these evening activities.
On various evenings throughout the week, the Robe Cinema will be playing the latest movies, so pop in for a choc top, some popcorn and some old-style entertainment during your visit.
Live Music @ Robe Town Brewery
If you are in Robe on a Friday night, then head out to the Robe Town Brewery to enjoy a beer or two while listening to a range of live music.
Shopping in Robe
Those who enjoy browsing boutiques and hunting down bargains during their holidays will not be disappointed here in Robe.
Here are just a few places to find something unique. Don’t forget to check out the op-shops too – you never know when you could find a treasure!
I am not a shopper, but I ended up visiting Holiday twice and picked out two beautiful jackets that were both on sale. There is so much lovely stuff here that I could have bought a whole lot more too.
Limestone Coast Food Farmers and Makers Market
Find some of the best local produce, artworks and crafts at markets. They occur periodically throughout the year (more often in the busy summer months) in Robe all over the Limestone Coast. Find all the latest dates and locations over on the website here.
Transmutation is all about recycling and reusing and is one of those hidden gems I love finding when I travel. They began by using plastic bread tags to create unique bowls and plates, and have now started to use styrofoam too.
The shop also sells other fun gifts and items that match its philosophy.
If you are in Robe over the weekend, call into the Lapwing Gallery to enjoy some of the local artwork and perhaps pick up a unique souvenir to take home. The gift shop also has some other items available for purchase.
For all your surf gear, popular brands and outdoor essentials.
Events in Robe
Throughout the year there are a range of events happening in and around Robe. Keep an eye out for information when you are in town. Here are a few of them.
Southern Ocean Art Prize
The Southern Ocean Art Prize culminates with a weekend of exhibitions (usually in early November) showing all the entries in the competition. The divisions include 2D, 3D, photography and digital artworks.
Blessing of the Fleet
Help get the Robe fishermen ready for the upcoming season with the blessing of the fleet. Includes a BBQ and other festivities. Happens around the end of August each year.
Karatta Food Weekend (first weekend of each month)
On the first weekend of each. month head to Karatta Wines and enjoy their food. A different home-style option will be offered each month. Look out for the fliers around town to find out what is on the menu.
Robe Beer Festival
The name of the event pretty much explains it, come and enjoy the Robe Beer Festival. Each October (Oktoberfest?) not only can you try the beers from the two local brewers, but other craft breweries from all over the state come to show off their beers too.
Robe Easter Classic
The Robe Easter Classic is a surfing event held each year over the Easter weekend
On the second Sunday of each month head to the Robe Town Brewery for an afternoon of fun as locals and visitors alike take to the mic. Who knows, maybe you are the next big star and you should have a go yourself.
Look out for other events at Robe Town Brewery too. We missed out on a show by a visiting singer by one night.
Where to Eat
There are plenty of places to eat in Robe, from seafood to pub meals, wood fired pizza to Chinese. If you find yourself in Robe in winter, the historic Caledonian Inn is always open for meals and has a roaring fire to keep you warm.
Robe is one of the towns on the Limestone Coast that is home to the Southern Rock Lobster fishing fleet.
While you will find fresh lobster available all over town best places to try it are Sails Restaurant for a more formal meal and Sky Seafood if you are looking for something more casual.
Here are a few of the other options
- Olive’s Robe
- Union Café
- Sails at Robe
- Sky Seafood
- Robe Ice Cream Shop
- Dragon Village Chinese Restaurant
- Robe Bakery
- Viet 21
Are you – like me – vegan? Take a look here at what I ate while I was in Robe.
Mayura Station is not in Robe, but it is not too far away and it is one of the top culinary experiences in South Australia. If you are a meat-lover, particularly beef, then it’s worth driving the 85km just to have dinner here.
If there’s not already enough to keep you busy without leaving Robe, then there are some great day trips to the neighbouring regions surrounding Robe too. Take a look at these things to do around Robe.
The site of South Australia’s only UNESCO World Heritage site, the Naracoorte Caves. Visit to learn about the megafauna that roamed the area 40000 years ago.
The Coonawarra wine region is located near the town of Penola and is a must if you are a lover of Cabernet Sauvignon. The unique terra rosa soil in this small sliver of land is said to produce some of the best cab savs in the world.
Mount Gambier is South Australia’s largest regional centre and there is plenty to do here for a day. Visit the popular Blue Lake and Umperstons Sinkhole, climb a volcano and snorkel in a sinkhole, while exploring the city.
Admella Discovery Trail
If you are interested in Maritime history, call into the Visitor Information Centre and pick up the brochure for the Admella Discovery Trail.
The trail will take you to 21 sites around the region that will tell the story of the wreck of the Admella, one of Australia’s worst maritime disasters with 89 lives lost.
More Robe Essentials
There are always a few small extra things that can help with your stay.
For More Information
Make your way to the Robe Visitor Information Centre, located at the Robe Library.
Getting Around Robe
Do you want to do a wine tour, or perhaps go out for dinner without worrying about the drive back to your accommodation? There are some options. Give one of these a call:
- Amanda’s Passenger Service 0427 876 861
- Robe Runner Shuttle Service 0493 180 234
Visiting Robe with a Dog
In general, Robe is a great option if you are holidaying with your furry friend. There are a number of pet-friendly Robe accommodation options such as Discovery Parks Robe caravan park, Nampara Cottages and Wrentree Holiday Home.
For all the information you need about off and on-leash areas and other doggy info, call into the Visitor Information Centre and pick up their “Dogs in Robe” brochure.
Robe SA FAQs
Want some quick answers? These FAQs are just for you
Q: When is the best time to visit Robe?
A: Robe is fantastic year-round, but for the perfect beach weather and outdoor activities, visit during the summer months from December to February. Spring and autumn are also great with milder weather and fewer crowds.
Q: How do I get to Robe?
A: You can reach Robe by road, approximately a 3.5-hour drive from Adelaide. If you’re flying in, the nearest airport is Mount Gambier, about 1.5 hours away by car.
Q: What are the must-visit attractions in Robe?
A: You won’t want to miss the historic Cape Dombey Obelisk, the stunning Long Beach, the great wineries and the charming Robe town itself with its boutique shops and local eateries.
Q: Is there a good place for surfing in Robe?
A: Absolutely! The Long Beach is famous for its surf breaks. It’s a fantastic spot for both beginners and experienced surfers. You can even rent surfboards locally if you don’t have your own. West Beach is also popular with surfers.
Q: Can I go fishing in Robe?
A: Fishing enthusiasts will be in paradise here! You can fish from the jetties, the beach, or charter a boat for some deep-sea action. The local seafood is also a must-try.
Q: Are there any good walking trails in the area?
A: Robe boasts some breathtaking walking trails. The Robe Coastal Walk offers stunning views of the coastline, and the Lakeside and Obelisk trails provide a chance to explore the town’s history.
Q: Where can I stay in Robe?
A: Robe has a range of accommodation options, from luxurious boutique hotels to cozy cottages and caravan parks. Be sure to book well in advance, especially during peak seasons.
Q: What’s the local cuisine like in Robe?
A: You’re in for a treat! Robe is known for its delicious seafood, so make sure to try the local crayfish. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants serving up fresh, regional produce.
Q: Can I bring my pet to Robe?
A: Robe is a pet-friendly destination, and you’ll find several pet-friendly accommodations and areas to enjoy with your furry friend. Just make sure to follow local regulations.
Q:Are there any annual events or festivals in Robe?
A: Yes, indeed! Robe hosts various events throughout the year, including the Robe Christmas Parade, the Spirit of Robe Boat Show, and the Robe Beer Festival. Check the event calendar to see what’s on during your visit.
Before you go…
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