In summer, Robe is overrun with expensive, oversized four wheel drives, mostly driven by alpha males and/or their spawn. Attempting to get a park in the local supermarket can be akin to gladiatorial battle. Average sized cars may only win parks by deception and stealth, whilst the ever present herds of Prados and Pajeros use brute strength and belligerence to muscle in to their rightful park. Inside the supermarket you'll find no snags, no bacon and no bread after 10am, and an ill-defined queue for the checkout that snakes menacingly through the nearby isles. Don't even think about crossing through the queue without first making it clear that you are only doing so to reach the toilet paper in the next isle. The results can be life threatening. Then there's the bakery.
In winter time, however, Robe takes on the demeanour of an English seaside town. The four wheel drive herds are still present, although their behaviour seems to mellow in the colder weather. Perhaps it isn't mating season. The smell of wood fires permeates the streets. The sunlight is filtered by low cloud. People are courteous, even allowing you to cross the supermarket queue to get to the toilet paper.
Even though it's cold, and I mean cold, there is much to do in Robe in winter, most of which involves eating and drinking. A good place to stay is the cottages behind the Caledonian Inn, enabling instant access to the beach, the bar and the restaurants on Victoria Street. Cottages start at $185 per night, and include a basic breakfast. The ground floor consists of a living/dining area, kitchen and bathroom, whilst upstairs is divided into two sleeping areas furnished with a queen and two single beds.
Each cottage is heated by a wood combustion heater, with wood and paper supplied daily. As much as I consider myself to be a real man, with above average survival skills, I found it virtually impossible to get this thing to light. My advice is to go and ask one of the friendly staff to give you a helping hand at your earliest convenience, as there are some unique quirks to these heaters. It's not you, it's the thing.
The Caledonian Inn emits an irresistible magnetic force in winter, with it's Olde English front bar and an extensive range of beverages. After a quiet drink at the bar a meal in the dining room is a must. The food is deliciously hearty, and well priced, with a range of gluten free options available. Couple this with a wine selection from the nearby Coonawarra and Mount Benson regions, and you'll be settled in for the evening.
Despite the cold there are plenty of things to do during daylight hours in Robe as well. The fishing along this stretch of coast can be great, with beach, rock and estuary fishing available in the immediate vicinity of Robe. A coastal track enables walking along the cliff tops and beaches, with exceptional views of Guichen Bay. If you can handle the cold water there's also some good, uncrowded waves for experienced surfers in Little Dip Conservation Park. Don't tell the locals I told you though.
A short drive away is the beautiful fishing village of Nora Creina, whilst further south is Beachport. Well worth the half hour drive.
Victoria Street offers a range of shops that have earned Robe the nickname "Burnside by the Seaside". As a hetrosexual man, I'm not qualified to comment on these places, although my wonderfully discerning companion reported to me that there's good shopping to be had, amongst ridiculously expensive kitchenware and scented pink things. I'll take her word for it.
When the day is done, it's back to eating and drinking. Sails at Robe delivers a seafood-focused menu including locally caught lobster, whilst Vic Street Pizza offers quality gourmet pizzas and exceptional desserts. Robe Providore specialises in gourmet produce, and is the perfect spot for lunch after a morning of wandering or lounging.
There's plenty to do during winter in Robe, so pack an extra jacket and take a weekend to explore. Be sure to bring along your eating and drinking boots too.
The locals here love your work - comments absolutely spot on! However i also recommend robe in feb and march when kids r back at school - no rat race - freedom on the beaches - great barbies - thats the time of year that locals crave for...