Robe: A Secret Food and Wine Gem Hidden in South Australia

Positioned on the Limestone Coast, in the south-eastern corner of South Australia, the small seaside town of Robe is one of the state’s hidden gems. While many who visit are attracted by the glorious beaches, fascinating heritage and laid-back lifestyle, there has been a surge in culinary tourism in recent years. Television shows such as MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules reflect a burgeoning interest worldwide in all things food and wine, and for wine connoisseurs (or even amateur wine lovers like most of us), this is an exciting area to get to know.

An emerging wine region

Think wine regions in Australia, and the names that usually spring to mind are the Hunter Valley, Margaret River and the Barossa Valley. However, there’s a number of emerging wine regions around the country that are well worth consideration. The Limestone Coast’s Robe and Mt Benson wine regions are just two of them. With a rich terra rossa soil and a cool climate, these regions are now producing a number of fine varieties, including Shiraz, Viognier, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Where to start

If you’re looking to discover the local wine regions, your first stop should be the Visitor Information Centre on Mundy Terrace in Robe. Here you can find information on local wineries and a map to cellar doors. If you’re after further details on specific wineries before visiting, scour the sites, Robe.com.au and www.mtbensonwineregion.com.au.

The wineries

The following are just a few options for your wine tasting pleasure.

  • Karatta Wines – Karatta’s 12 Mile Winery was the first winery in the Robe region, so is a great place to start. They also have a cellar door right in town on Robe Penola Road.
  • Governor Robe Wines – The cellar door in Attic House in the centre of town offers tastings with platters of delicious local cheese, always a great way to sample a drop.
  • Cape Jaffa – A biodynamic winery (it doesn’t use artificial fertilisers or pesticides), Cape Jaffa is best known for its Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Pinot Gris and Unwooded Chardonnay.
  • Ralph Fowler Wines – Discover hand-crafted premium wines at the family-owned Ralph Fowler vineyard. And should you pay a visit, be sure to have a look at Frog Island Winery, located on the same property.
  • Wehl’s Mount Benson Vineyards – Wehl’s is the oldest Mt Benson vineyard, and it is known for its tasty Sauvignon Blanc. They hold an annual “Event on the Estate”, where you can enjoy wines and live music in a picturesque setting.

A bite to match

When it comes to food, there are a number of great cafes and restaurants in Robe. Vic Street Pizzeria, Wild Mulberry Café and Robe Providore are just a few popular options. Families are well-catered for, as are those looking for a romantic night out. For a special occasion, be sure to book a table at Sails Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant that serves up a rotating menu of stunning culinary bites (thanks to renowned chef Adam Brook).

A festival affair

Of course, anyone who’s really keen on food and wine should make a date to visit Robe in January. The Cape Jaffa Seafood and Wine Festival is an annual event that showcases local produce and the new and exciting Robe and Mt Benson wines. This is also a great time to sample the local seafood, with crayfish a speciality that shouldn’t be missed.

And of course, while in Robe, you’ll need a place to stay! Check out the Robe Harbourview Motel, the only motel in Robe with uninterrupted views overlooking the marina and Guichen Bay.

Robe Accommodation, and a Food and Wine Affair

Nestled in the southeast corner of South Australia along the Limestone Coast, Robe is a small town rich in maritime history, and surrounded by wonderful natural delights. It’s a great place to spend a relaxing few days – or longer – exploring the beautiful beach, nearby national parks, and interesting historical landmarks. Take your pick from a wonderful array of Robe accommodation, and while here, you can also take advantage of the location to savour some excellent food and wine.

Seafood a speciality

Fishing is part and parcel of life in Robe, and every visitor should make the most of the location and sample the fresh and delicious seafood on offer, the including local speciality – crayfish. You can try it at any of the great restaurants and cafes around town. Or if you’re in the mood for a barbecue, stock up on the latest catch at Seafood Temptations on Denton Drive, and cook alfresco on one of the public barbecues situated around town. Then settle yourself on the water’s edge and enjoy a fantastic meal with a view.

A fine drop or two

The nearby Robe and Mount Benson wine regions have a growing reputation for crisp whites, and robust, spicy reds. Enjoy a day of wine tasting, ensuring your first stop is the Visitor Information Centre on Mundy Terrace in Robe. They can provide you with information, and maps on cellar doors. Also check the Mt Benson wine region site for information on where to head – and what to taste!

Follow your nose

The Limestone Real Food Trail is a journey through the restaurants, farmers’ markets, and fresh food producers of the Limestone Coast region. Here’s a guide to this wonderful food and wine region, and information on where to stop, and what to sample. For a gourmet foodie holiday, in relaxed and beautiful surrounds, it doesn’t get much better than a short break in Robe.

Eating out

There are also lots of options to eat out during your stay. If you’re not in the mood for cooking, you’re well catered-for around Robe with a mix of cafes, restaurants and takeaways. Here are just a few popular options:

  • Vic Street Pizzeria at 6 Victoria Street is a great choice for families or anyone seeking a relaxed and friendly environment. Enjoy a casual lunch or head here after a day at the beach for tasty pizza treats.
  • Wild Mulberry Café (Cnr Victoria and Robe Street) is a popular destination for breakfast and lunch, with an eclectic modern Australian and international menu and fantastic coffee. A perfect way to start the day!
  • Robe Providore (4 Victoria Street) is another great brunch spot with outdoor seating and friendly staff, ensuring it’s a good family option.
  • Robe Seafood and Takeaway (21 Victoria Street) is the place to head for cheap and cheerful takeaway.
  • Sails Restaurant (21 Victoria Street) is a fine-dining highlight. Chef Adam Brook serves up a seasonal menu of culinary delights, paired with regional wines. It’s a perfect holiday treat. It’s open for dinner (and lunch in summer). Be sure to book ahead.

And where to stay

Visitors to Robe are well catered-for in terms of accommodation with a mix of motels, hotels, guesthouses, cottages and apartments. Robe accommodation is available to suit all budgets, ranging from the cheap and cheerful, to the luxuriously lavish. History lovers may like staying in a heritage cottage. Those looking to enjoy seaside walks might enjoy a cottage or motel close to the water (www.robeharbourview.com.au). And there’s a selection of motels and holiday homes perfect for families, couples and groups of friends.

Robe: Accommodation for All Seasons

Robe: Accommodation for All Seasons

In the southeast corner of South Australia lies a diverse region of rugged coastline, sandy beaches, beautiful vineyards and charming villages. The Limestone Coast is home to the historic seaside town of Robe, which is an ideal base from which to explore the nearby natural wonders. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, there are plenty of options on hand.

The Water’s Edge

Robe is an ideal spot to make the most of aquatic activities, or simply relax and soak in the wide ocean views. For a beach hut with all the mod cons, consider Dunes at Robe, overlooking West Beach. The two cottages here are spacious, comfortable and ideal for couples and families. Looking to spoil yourself? 128 The Esplanade is a two-storey home with five bedrooms, a heated pool and everything you need for a luxury break. Head out the gate and meander down the track to Robe’s best swimming spot, Long Beach.

For those looking to self-cater, The Beach House, overlooking lovely Guichen Bay, is a three-bedroom home that’s superbly equipped with everything from air-conditioning to a barbeque, flat-screen TV and DVD selection. Or for romantics, there’s Driftwood House, an atmospheric timber home with views of Fox Lake, and only a short amble to the beach. Spa bath, breakfast hamper and wine are included.  The budget conscious haven’t been forgotten either, with Lakeside Tourist Park, Sea Vu Caravan Park and Robe Nampara Cabins all very good options for waterside holidays.

History and Heritage

In the 18th century Robe was a bustling port and home to ship crews, working fishermen and an influx of Chinese who arrived via Robe to seek their fortune in the Victorian goldfields. Why not immerse yourself in the history with a stay at one of the enchanting historic properties in and around Robe.

Victoria Cottage is a restored fisherman’s cottage in the heart of town, featuring an open fireplace, secluded cottage garden and attractive heritage decor. Built in 1847, the heritage-listed Robe House is a stonewalled property with a lovely wide verandah, relaxing garden and all the mod cons. Criterion is a two-bedroom settler’s cottage with a contemporary extension. And Cornerstone Cottage, “the second house built in Robe” is another centrally located and fully restored timber cottage, originally built around 1846. The charmingly named Granny Banks is a one-bedroom property with spa, open fireplace and a self-contained kitchen. And Robe Cottage is an atmospheric 150 year old stone cottage with four bedrooms, spa bath, spacious living areas and a private garden.

Unique and Award Winning

Robe has its share of quality and unique properties. Robe Harbour View Motel has won awards for its superior service and accommodation that is ideal for families, couples and groups. It has spacious, comfortable rooms, and assorted room types to suit all budgets. Check out the accommodation options at Robe Harbour View Motel.

Cricklewood Cottage is an award-winning two-bedroom option that has soaring ceilings, quality furnishings and enticing extras, including a deep claw-foot bath, plump towels and bathrobes. It’s set in a secluded location with lovely lake views, yet still only a short drive to the shops, restaurants and beach. The design-conscious may well appreciate the architecturally designed Adrift @ Robe. Finally, if you’re looking to experience something truly unique, don’t miss Honeyfield in Robe, a striking French-style 19th cottage with quality interiors, and a stunning lavender garden. It lies in the beautiful Mount Benson wine region, yet is still just a ten-minute drive from town.

Accommodation Details

For full details on all your Robe accommodation options, including booking links, visit the South Australian Tourism Commission and Robe tourism.

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