Robe is on the Limestone Coast’s rocky cape in Guichen Bay, 340 kilometres south-east of Adelaide. It is a heritage centre of seafood and wine and offers adventures for four-wheel driving, fishing, surfing and diving. The track through Little Dip Conservation Park is loved by four-wheel drivers and the beach driving offers great challenges.
Early Scottish and Chinese adventurers disembarked here to seek their fortunes on the Ballarat and Bendigo goldfields well before the historic port was proclaimed in 1847, but whalers and seamen had long sought its protected waters. Soon after proclamation, woolgrowers moved in. Business was brisk for bullock teams bringing in wool or wheat. Until the railway arrived, most exports from the south-east left from Robe, but due to George Ormerod’s misgivings, the rail was never connected to Robe.
A stroll through the well-preserved streets takes you back to days when life was simple. It is a retreat for those who love to indulge in fresh local produce and wine.
Brian Lawrie and his three brothers are crayfishermen in Robe. They are the third generation of Lawries and Brian’s son is on his way to making the fourth.
Their season begins at the start of October and continues until late April. They head out to sea to remove the live catch from the pots, return to weigh and sell. Spawning females are returned to the water. They catch around 300 crays a day. Pots are then set and the process repeated the following day.
David Lawrie is one year younger than his brother Brian and has a commercial and tourist crayfishing business. He takes people on his boat No Fear to experience a day in the life of the crayfisher.
If you are thinking of spending time in Robe, Villa Pescatore, the Fisherman’s House, is a stylish place right on the beachfront.
It combines the history of an original stone Robe fisherman’s cottage with the luxury of contemporary architect-designed living. Restored with a French provincial style, it captures the essence of the ocean with a seaside flavour. The owners have collected many interesting pieces in their travels, along with many local artworks. From the deck on the top of the house you have superb views of Robe, Long Beach and Guichen Bay.
Villa Pescatore has polished floorboards, comfortable furnishings, glassed spa bathing area, canopied bedrooms and open fireplaces, all taking advantage of ocean views.
On arrival, guests find the refrigerator stocked with regional produce, including freshly made crayfish pate and a bottle of chilled, local white wine. The rustic larder is filled with eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, jams, breads, biscuits, coffee and teas. Coastal flowers add a wonderful finishing touch to the already beautiful house.
The original part of the house has a new stainless steel kitchen with European appliances. It adjoins a dining area, filled with French country antiques, hand forged iron candelabra and glass doors leading to the lawn and seaside garden.
The new part of the villa is linked by an internal paved courtyard which features teak couches, outdoor dining setting, market umbrella, gas barbecue and outdoor Mediterranean fireplace and bread oven.
There are two queen bedrooms, with whitewashed four-poster beds and two bathrooms. The original part of the house has a cosy area which will sleep another two people.
There are televisions, CD player and plenty of books once you have explored Robe, its galleries, shops and pubs. There are plenty of beautiful walks, national parks, swimming, boating, fishing, and breathtaking coastline right at your doorstep.