Robe: A Fleeting Visit

Thursday afternoon. 4:30pm. I’m sat at my desk reading about the TCAS (traffic alert and collision avoidance system) of an Airbus A320, debating whether I should go out and buy a coffee, or just make one myself. The argument I’m having with myself comes to an abrupt halt when my partner Kelsey walks through the door, arriving home from work.

“We’re going to Robe for the weekend” she says without even so much as a ‘hello’. The coffee argument is now an afterthought as my mind is flooded with the idea of going on a trip! Within minutes we’re sat down planning everything that we want to do and see, in and around Robe.

Come Friday afternoon, the bags are packed, the car is loaded, and we set off on the long drive south. Less than half an hour in and we’re already going wrong. We miss a turn and without realising, end up heading 20 minutes in the opposite direction. Great start… Eventually however, we find our way, and after an almost non-stop 4-hour drive through pouring rain, we arrive in Robe.

We’ve booked a little cabin at a lakeside campsite. Very small. Very cold. We don’t want to spend too much time here and it’s only 9pm, so we drop off our things and head to the local pub for a drink.

We go to the Caledonian Inn after a recommendation from a friend. To my utter delight, we find that there are no pokies (fruit machines), there is a grand fire-place with a lovely smoldering heat filling the room, and it feels like a proper pub; something I’ve struggled to find since being here in Australia. And as an added bonus, they serve Guinness! Fantastic. We sit at the bar and have a couple of drinks before heading back to the cabin to sleep.

The next morning we get going nice and early to make the most of our only full day in Robe. We start off by having a spot of breakfast at a café called Adventurous Spoon. The food here is great. I go for the Arancini, which I wouldn’t have ever thought of having for breakfast, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how well it went with everything. The coffee is excellent, if a tad cold, but I drink it too quickly to care.

With our stomachs filled we head over to the tip of Robe, where there are a number of sites to see. This area is like a little peninsula sticking out into the ocean from the main part of the town. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and we spend a couple of hours exploring.

We start at the Obelisk, which is Robe’s defining image. When you search for Robe on Google, the most frequent image you will see will be of the Obelisk, and for good reason because it’s fantastic to photograph. We spend a lot of time trying to get some amazing photos ourselves. I’ll let you decide whether or not we achieve that.

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We carry on exploring, finding old Gaols, lighthouses, jetties, and beaches. For those of you wondering, a Gaol is just the old name for a jail. The only thing left of it are the bottoms of the walls and even those have had to be reinforced with concrete to stop them falling apart. It’s a cool place to have a wonder round, with some interesting history.

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Fun fact: the walls of the Gaol were reinforced with steel boilerplates from a nearby shipwreck, after two prisoners escaped by chiseling through the walls.

Once we are done exploring, we decide to indulge with more coffee. Before we came to Robe, a few people told us that we had to try Mahalia coffee. Mahalia coffee is primarily a coffee roaster, roasting their own coffee beans and supplying cafes and restaurants all over South Australia and Victoria, and a few places across the rest of Australia. They have a café and shop at their roasting site, so we decide to head over there to see what all the fuss is about. We are not disappointed. The coffee is amazing, and the shop is gorgeous. I feel like I just want to buy everything in the shop, but it’s all very expensive, so I don’t… They also have an incredibly friendly cat who will welcome you into the shop.

Now re-energised with coffee, we head out of town to explore some nearby lakes and beaches. It’s tipping down with rain at this point so we don’t spend too long out here, and on our way back to Robe we spot a small brewery!

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Robe Town Brewery is a tiny little place on the outskirts of town. A young couple brews a range of ales, from a light refreshing pale ale, to a dark full flavoured stout, using traditional methods such as using a wood fire and straw filtration. You can go inside and taste their full collection and if you feel so inclined, buy a bottle or two for yourself. I find myself that way inclined and I buy a bottle of their Pigface Pale Ale. Yum!

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By the time dinner comes around we’re absolutely starving. We head into town to the Pizza Project restaurant for a good old pizza before heading back to the cabin for a well deserved sleep.

It’s Sunday morning and we’re awake at 6am, eager to get back down to the Obelisk to watch the sunrise. Hopefully we can get some more photos with some amazing colours in the background. Unfortunately it’s not as spectacular as we had hoped, but we still managed to capture some good images.

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Finally being finished with the Obelisk, we go back and check out of our cabin. Once checked out we begin our journey home, but quickly decide that we want to visit another town a bit further south. Beachport.

Beachport is another small coastal town with not much going on in the winter months. We don’t spend too long here, just a quick tour of the town by following the ‘Beachport Scenic Drive’ route. It’s a lovely town but we’re eager to get back on the road so leave fairly promptly.

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We stop at a few places on the way back, the most notable being Kingston. Widely known around Australia, and possibly the world, Kingston is made famous by one of its more unusual residents. You can see me posing with him in the picture below. It’s Larry the Lobster! Built in the late 70’s, his purpose was to attract visitors to the restaurant situated behind him. Now he is an attraction in himself. As well as Larry, Kingston has an old lighthouse and a beautiful old looking post office.

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Having had some breakfast/lunch, we set off for home again, eventually making our way back after another 4-hour drive.

In conclusion Robe is a really nice place to visit and a great place to chill out for a couple of days. If you’re passing by then I would definitely recommend stopping for a day or two. Any longer than that however, and you may run out of things to do.

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