DESTINATION: ROBE, SA
Sitting on one of the stormiest, most rugged coastlines in Australia, Robe packs a big punch of ‘wild’ in south-east SA...
THE HISTORY OF ROBE, SA
The town itself is snuggled into a limestone headland at the southern end of Guichen Bay. Settled in the 1840s, Robe became an important port for exporting wool and horses. Then, during the Victorian gold rush, a rabble of gold seekers landed here and walked to the goldfields, and so avoided the poll tax the Victorian colony had placed on any newcomers arriving by sea.
Today Robe is a major fishing and crayfishing port and Victorians now flood the place, especially over summer, to drive the beaches (something they can’t do in Victoria) and to sample the incredible seafood, whether they catch it themselves or enjoy it at one of the restaurants in town.
GETTING TO ROBE
Robe is 350km from Adelaide and 580km from Melbourne. The charming little town of Beachport is just 52km south of Robe via the main road.
We recommend you begin your visit to Robe at the Little Dip Conservation Park. It starts just south of town and protects a strip of coast that includes a line of dunes just back from the high water mark, while low cliffs make up the intervening headlands.
Entering the dunes you’ll quickly come to a junction, the right hand track taking you onto a short length of beach, which just happens to be one of the softest in the area. Unless you want to practice your de-bogging skills, stick to the track through the dunes – there’ll be plenty of opportunity further south to drive onto the beach proper.
All the beaches, though, can be extremely soft, especially at the end of winter or early summer when they can also slope steeply towards the foaming sea.
Once heading south, the route behind the dunes winds amongst gullies and up and over hills of soft sand, occasionally coming onto the beach or a section of rocky ledge. The route is narrow at times and there is always the possibility of on-coming traffic, so take care.
You’ll pass Queen Head Beach, Bishops Pate (great spot), Long Gully and Errington Hole along with any number of windblown middens — shell heaps made from the discarded remains of shellfish when the original human inhabitants of the area feasted here on the bounty of the sea.
NORA CREINA TO BEACHPORT
Once at Errington Hole, which is at the southernmost end of Little Dip Conservation Park, a good track leads out to the main dirt road that heads south to Nora Creina. Here you’ll find one of those cracker little bays that are almost impossible to leave when you are lucky enough to be there on a delightful summer’s day.
From here the route south becomes a bit trickier as it heads onto the long sweep of Stinky Beach. Back off the beach there are a couple of big dunes and in one section the route now bypasses the Millicent Dune Buggy Club area. It’s a good idea to keep out of this area unless you are a member and know what’s going on as the buggies really do fly through the dunes – and you don’t want to hit one!
Just south of Five-Mile Rocks you enter the Beachport Conservation Park where you can stick to the coast and head south to Three-Mile Rocks or head inland to the shores of Lake George. Here at Five-Mile Drift, a large dune has drifted into the lake creating a stunning white beach ideal for a picnic and for swimming and sailing. Just south along the lake’s shore there are a couple of very pleasant camping areas to enjoy and stay awhile.
The small town of Beachport is just a short distance south and just 52km south of Robe via the blacktop. Still, expect to take close to a full day driving via the beaches.
THINGS TO DO IN ROBE
- Surf fishing
- Beach 4Wding
Visit turu.com.au for more information.