A melbourne to Robe South Australia Road Trip

Melbourne to Robe South Australia road trip pinterest pinPin Me Please

A road trip to Robe South Australia just has to be done at least once in your lifetime. Flying from one place to another sure gets you there quickly but if it's not necessary to be in a rush then why not consider enjoying a road trip from Melbourne for a short break.

Recently I decided to do just that and I chose a place that I have been wanting to go to for a few years now.

There's a wonderful little seaside hamlet called Robe, situated in the state of South Australia. I first read about it on my favorite seaglass site, Robe having one of the Australian beaches mentioned as being a seaglass collector's heaven.

I had a few days to spare so I started to plan my exciting road trip to the neighboring state of South Australia.

According to good old Google Maps, I had around 7 hours of driving to do through some of Victoria's most fascinating countryside. And at the other end of my drive there was plenty of accommodation to choose from.

It's always best to do some research before you go and in doing so I managed to find plenty of things to do apart from my seaglass collecting that would certainly fill my days and nights.

The drive, as it turned out, was a very easy one. Most of the roads are well sealed major highways and safe to drive on. I did as Siri directed at one stage(I have no idea why she sent me off on a tangent) and I found myself on a narrow country road filled with what I can only describe as mini sink holes! Common sense should have kept me on the major highway, Siri was just trying to save me 10 minutes drive time, I think!

There are plenty of places to stop if you need to rest up, a great selection of food places and petrol stations along the route.

Where is Robe South Australia and How to get there

The distance between Robe and Melbourne is 464 km.

Robe South Australia, is a town and fishing port located in the Limestone Coast of South Australia. The seaside hamlet lies on the southern shore of Guichen Bay, just off the Princes Highway.

It combines a dramatic rocky, windswept coastline with a number of attractive and secluded beaches including the beautiful, 17 km long Long Beach.

If you are driving, as I did, from Melbourne, there are several routes that you can take ...

From Great Ocean Road 
Suggest an overnight stay in
Warrnambool or Port Fairy.
Distance: 653 Kms
Time: 9 hours drive

Via The West. District 
One of the direct routes, achievable to get in Robe in one day.
Distance: 537 Kms
Time: 7.5 hours drive

Via Horsham
This is the fastest way to get to Robe SA, achievable in one day.
Distance: 561 Kms
Time: 7 hours drive

Bus Service
V-LINE runs several services to Mount Gambier. Premier Stateliner Coach Group operates from Mount Gambier to Robe SA.

google maps directions to robe south australiaGoogle maps directions to Robe South Australia
one hairy monster tree outcropCapturing the Hairy Monster near Robe South Australia

Driving to Robe South Australia provides some amazing opportunities to enjoy the Victorian and South Australian countryside. Personally, I never miss an opportunity to take a photo and this drive provided me with so much to capture along the way.

The picture above shows an eerie vine like growth, looking like something out of Harry Potter! We found this hairy monster about 20 minutes out of Robe. Just had to stop and take a pic'

So here we are! Make sure you take the opportunity to pick up a map of the area. These are usually free at service stations, pubs and selected stores. There is always interesting information to find for things to do and see.

Robe township MapRobe South Australia township Map

I've put together a few things that you must not miss out on doing when you visit Robe South Australia.

Things To Do In Robe South Australia

1 - Robe Seafarers Guides

Discover the Cape Dombey Obelisk, this is the icon for Robe South Australia, built in 1855 to once guide the ocean mariners safely into the bay. It is not a lighthouse and some of its history has it being used as a temporary goal for prisoners years ago.

Around overlooking Factory bay you will find the Robe Lighthouse. Established in 1973 and incorporates the latest in electronic optical equipment.

Robe ObeliskRobe Obelisk
Robe LighthouseRobe Lighthouse

2 - Robe Old Gaol - FREE Activity

Close by to the Obelisk you will find the remains of Robe's Old Gaol. Built in 1860 and was used until 1881 and then left to fall itno disrepair. It was renovated in 1995 now to allow visitors to wander through the different sections and get a feel for what it must have been like confined to this rugged piece of land set high overlooking the ocean.

robe's old gaol prison cellsOld Gaol Prison Cells in Robe South Australia
gaoler's roomsRemains of the Gaoler's room in Old Gaol in Robe SA

3 - Robe's Beaches

Guichen Bay houses several safe swimming beaches ...

  • Karatta Beach
  • Town Beach
  • Hoopers Beach
  • Fox's Beach Outlet
  • Long Beach

Long Beach is a safe family beach with gentle surf & is quite unique as it is one of the few beaches where you are able to drive your car onto the sand.  A unique part of Robe’s heritage

There are other beaches on the South West coastline that are great for snorkeling and skin diving but be aware of treacherous currents and undertow ...

  • Factory Bay
  • West Beach 
driving the beach at Long Beach RobeDriving the beach at Long Beach Robe South Australia

One of the most amazing experiences that I had visiting Robe, was driving my 2 wheel drive Nissan Xtrail along the vast stretch of sand at Long Beach. There were cars parked all along the beach for miles with folk enjoying the sunshine, playing ball and swimming in the shallow waters. Those more adventurous were out further surfing the small breaks! 

The soft sand is compacted hard so it is fine to drive on and you won't get bogged. Be aware though that this area is tidal, so don't get caught when the tide starts to come in. Just watch what everyone else is doing and follow their lead.

4 - Robe Historical Cottages and Heritage Walk

Still boasting more than 80 historic buildings and sites, you can walk the streets and coastal pathways, reliving Robe's remarkable history. A lot of these buildings are in and around the main street of Robe itself, so easily found and accessible by foot.

Just ask the locals for some suggestions or just drive around the township, as i did, and find these beutiful little examples of Colonial history.

Historical Cottages in Robe South AustraliaHistorical Cottages in Robe South Australia
Bed and breakfasts in Robe South AustraliaBed and breakfasts in Robe South Australia

5 - Robe Ice Cream and Lollie Shop

The Ice Cream Shop, 35 Victoria St, Robe

House made Ice Cream, Coffee, Hot Donuts, Milk Shakes, Hand Crafted Jewellery, Quality Sweets
Open for: Day Trading October to May,
                  Day & Night Trading January

Opening hours: 10 am 'ish to 5 pm 'ish 7 days a week and Weekends only in Winter months.

Not just an icecream shop but a visual experience. Check out the art work that is painted everywhere, some hanging from the ceiling. This is the quirky handwork of commercial artist Neil Welsh. He has a passion for story telling and loves to express the same colourful side of story telling in much of his art.

The Ice Cream Shop, owned by Neil himself, is home to one of Neil's most remarkable creations, the interactive Art MapsArt Maps Australia are the makers of hand crafted Tourism Art Maps. The aim of these maps is to guide visitors to interact with elements of a region's humanity and local culture, along with discovering the scenic treasures and activities through art.

The map can be accessed online and there is also a paper version to collect. You may be lucky to meet 'the man' himself. He loves a photo shoot and get Neil to sign your Art Mp for you!

Icecream Shop in Robe South AustraliaIcecream Shop in Robe South Australia
Art Maps Robe South AustraliaArt Maps Robe South Australia
Meeting artist Neil WelshMeeting artist Neil Welsh in Robe South Australia

There is a courtyard out the back with table and chairs to sit and relax at. Hot and cold food is available as well as a great selection of drinks. But of course, you are here to experience the ICE CREAM and boy, is there a great variety of flavours to choose from. 

Don't forget to pop into the Lollie Shop next door. Great gifts/souvenirs and art pieces to choose from and of course LOLLIES!

6 - Robe Seaglass

Well all I can say is this. It was worth a seven hour drive to find this beach! Tucked away in a tiny little cove, there is a small sandy stretch of sheltered beach walled either side by rocky limestone cliffs.

Blink and you can miss it. I first thought that the seaglass was at Factory Bay and yes, there were some small pieces that I found as I wandered along the soft and very deep sand. I found it hard to walk as I kept sinking in. 

Glass Beach RobeGlass Beach Robe South Australia

How I actually discovered the little tiny inlet was to use a process of elimination.

I had read this article and there were photos provided. These led me to the most amazing seaglass find I have ever come across.

At the intersection of Adam Lindsay Gordon Drive and Joy Terrace, follow along the sandy road (Joy Terrace) about 400 metres and there on your left there is a worn rocky pathway down to 'Glass Beach' 

I was in seaglass heaven!

glass pieces on glass beach robeGlass pieces on Glass Beach Robe

The official site for Robe, South Australia, states:
Factory Bay was originally the site of a canning factory that used to can snipe and rabbits.

After the World Wars it was used as Robe’s rubbish dump before people had an awareness of protecting the environment. Hotel green & brown bottles were dumped here and washed back into the cove.

The area was also known as Glass Beach from the polished sea glass.

At the end of Joy Terrace there is a concrete slab on the edge of the cliff. Here is where trucks backed up and tipped their loads into the ocean! There is still evidence of rubbish such as broken bottles and bits of plastic embedded into the sand. According to a discussion I had with one of the locals who often dives in this area, the sea floor is heavily covered with glass, metal and china!

On my little adventure I managed to find loads of brown, green and white seaglass along with some decent examples of pottery shards.

collected on glass beach robeCollected on Glass Beach Robe
tipping point robeOld tipping point at the back of Robe
Concrete slab at the tipping pointConcrete slab at the tipping point

7 - Ruffell Jewellers Robe

Martin and Lisa moved to Robe several years ago and realized that there was an opportunity to open a Jewellery Shop in the coastal village. Viola! The birth Ruffell Jewellers. Their Jewellery is handcrafted often using material sourced locally. Naturally what comes to mind is working with Robe's seaglass and that is exactly what they have done. 

They also make made to order, unique pieces, so maybe if you find a piece of seaglass that you would like to have made into a ring, ask Martin.

Lisa is great to chat with and is filled with a wealth of local knowledge that she loves to share.

Say hello when you are there and let them know that Marylyn from Family Getaways Melbourne introduced you.

Robe seaglass ringRobe Seaglass ring made by Ruffell Jewellers
Advertising Ruffell Jewellers RobeAdvertising Ruffell Jewellers Robe
Handcrafted Seaglass JewelleryHandcrafted Seaglass Jewellery made by Ruffell Jewellers Robe

8 - Transmutation in Robe- Home of the Bread Tag Basket

Transmutation can be found several streets back from main street Robe.

14 Flint Street
Robe SA

Tue - Sun 10am - 5pm
Closed Monday.
December - January - open 7 days.  

They recycle plastic and manufacture quality plastic products from waste materials. They also sell quality recycled and re-purposed products supplied from craft makers.

One of these products is the famous Bread Tag Basket, now being stocked by Country Road. 

The industry is run by Brad, an ex Queenslander, and his wife, Narelle, with both of them heavily invested in educating the public on recycling, reusing and reducing.

What an amazing place to visit and Brad was overly generous and only too pleased to 'ave a chat. In the short time I was there at the shop, I learn t so much about the different plastics used to make goods. I never knew there were so many different grades of plastic.

pouring melted plastic bread tagsBrad pouring melted plastic bread tags for Bread tag Bowl

The shop is stocked with products that they, themselves have made, such as the amazing Bread Tag Bowl.

These fabulous bowls are crafted from Breadtags collected all over Australia by Aussie Breadtags for Wheelchairs Charity.  The colours come from the original plastic materials. Other products on sale are recycled from such things as bowls made from local abandoned egg cartons, handmade bucket bags are made from used boat sails, abandoned festival tents and billboard skins and so much more.

If you can't get to Robe soon, check out their online shop

Bread Tag Bowl made by Transmutation RobeBread Tag Bowl made by Transmutation Robe

9 - Mahalia Coffee

2 Flint street Robe
8:30 am - 5 pm
Seven days per week

Just down the road from Transmutation you will find the home of Mahalia Coffee. Spend a delicious amount of time trying some different brews along with a delicious variety of yummy delights.

The coffee shop is filled with the most beautiful array of coffee and tea gadgets, china, books and other gifts and souvenirs. There is an outdoor area to sit at as well as tables and chairs inside.

Mahalia's core philosophy of profile roasting

"My core philosophy is the pursuit of bringing new coffee flavour experiences  through developing signature blends of the humble coffee bean to our customers to enjoy. "

Mahalia Coffee RobeMahalia Coffee Robe

10 - Robe Dairy

Julie and David Hinchliffe run a herd of Jersey cows at Robe. They milk our own small herd of Jersey cows to produce farmhouse cheese, milk and yoghurt.

The family uses the milk to make five varieties of cheese — two types of camembert, a brie, labneh and fromage blanc. They also sell milk and Greek yoghurt. Cheeses are sold through small retailers, to restaurants and directly to customers through an online shop.

We called in to meet these two and sample their beautiful, tasty cheeses. Lots of visitors turn up to sample their wares. There are cheese tastings and produce selling fast. 

cheese tasting at Robe DairyJulie and David Hinchliffe from Robe Dairy

11 - Robe South Australia Wine Region

Robe is a wine region located in the south east of South Australia immediately adjoining the town of Robe. The Robe wine region occupies a section of coastline about 20 kilometres (12 miles) wide extending from the north end of Guichen Bay where it borders the Mount Benson region to Beachport in the south.

Driving through this region is an eyeopener. These are the other winery regions that we passed through on our way to  the Naracoorte Caves ...

  • Coonawarra wine region
  • Mount Benson wine region
  • Padthaway wine region
  • Wrattonbully wine region
Robe wine regionRobe Wine Region

12 - Naracoorte Caves

Just over n hours drive from Robe you have to take the time to visit the world heritage Naracoorte Caves and Fossil Centre. Make sure that you eave plenty of time to visit several of them as each is unique. Of the 28 known caves in the park, four are open to the public. Other caves are set aside for scientific research or to protect the caves and their contents. Many of the caves contain spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.

You will need to book your tour as these caves are not open to the general public to wander through. You require a guide to show you the way in and out.

Alexandra Cave at the Naracoorte CavesNaracoorte Caves - Alexandra Cave
stalactites at naracoorte cavesNaracoorte Caves - Alexandra Cave

Looking For Accommodation In Robe South Australia

Throughout Robe you will find all sorts of accommodation styles to suit you ...

  • Bed and Breakfast Cottages
  • Self Contained Accommodation
  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Units
  • Caravan Parks and Cabins
  • Holiday Houses
  • Self Contained Cottages
  • Camping
  • Motorhome 

The accommodation that we booked was situated in the most amazing position! Unbeknown to me at the time, the cottage was opposite Glass Beach! I could actually see the spot where you start your decent. How amazing was that. Kalimna is booked through Happyshack.

You can find the cutest of cottages used for bed and breakfast accommodation wandering the streets of Robe. If you want a view there are plenty of places to choose from.

Kalimna Accommodation in RobeKalimna Accommodation in Robe
Bed and Breakfast RobeBed and Breakfast Robe

My travel partner, Booking.com, can help you out with top suggestions on where to stay whether it be in the city itself, the outer regions or even further out into the Victorian countryside.

Throughout the website I refer my visitors to a selection of professional Travel Companies who offer an online booking facility.

Booking.com is one such company that I am sure will provide all your travel accommodation requirements.

Book your Robe, South Australia accommodation here.


Please note that some links on this page are to companies that I have an affiliation with. By that I mean that if you purchase a product through them I receive a very small commission. This way of earning income is termed Monetization and it is a way for me to keep my site out here for you to enjoy. I will only affiliate with companies that I feel offer value for money and excellent back up service. These are Companies that I personally have used to purchase products for myself, my family and my friends. To learn more go to Disclaimer page

More in depth Information on Robe South Australia

almost an island - story of robe bookThe Story of Robe

Almost an Island - The Story of Robe

For a small place, tucked away on South Australia's rugged Limestone Coast, the village of Robe has played a remarkable role in history.

In what turned out to be a brief, golden heyday as one of southern Australia's busiest ports, during the 1850s it witnessed fine clipper ships bound for London with loads of wool, the arrival of thousands of Chinese on their way to the Victorian goldfields, and the hijinks of partying pastoralists. 

Fifty years later Robe cast off the doldrums to reinvent itself as a seaside health resort, lauded for its natural beauty, and the beneficial qualities of its cooling sea breezes and salt waters.

And fifty years after that, the first surfers arrived, establishing one of the world's oldest continuous surfing competitions. 

Almost an Island: The story of Robe brings together stories, memories and images gathered by generations of residents and holidaymakers. Here you will find pioneering settlers and aviators, fishermen braving wild seas in small wooden boats, famous painters and poets, chefs and winemakers, and meet some of the families drawn to this breathtaking virtual island to escape their hectic everyday lives.

Purchase your Story of Robe Here

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