Robe is a picturesque coastal town along the stunning Limestone Coast. It is less than a 4-hour drive from Adelaide via the Adelaide Hills. With many beautiful attractions along this drive, a trip to Robe makes the perfect weekend getaway from Adelaide.
Along the drive from Adelaide to Robe, there are many exciting places to stop by, such as Adelaide Hills, Murray Bridge, Pink Lake, Meningie, Coorong National Park, and Kingston.
To help plan your weekend getaway from Adelaide to Robe, I have put together a detailed 2-Day Road Trip Itinerary from Adelaide to Robe, based on my recent visit to the beautiful Limestone Coast. I hope you can find this itinerary helpful.
Suggestions on where to eat & stay during this road trip between Adelaide and Robe are also provided for your convenience.
Day 1 – Adelaide to Robe
On the first day of this road trip, we will take a 4-hour drive from Adelaide & stop by Hahndorf, Murray Bridge, the Pink Lakes, Meningie, Coorong National Park, and Kingston SE before arriving at Robe tonight.
With a strong German heritage, Hahndorf is one of the most visited attractions in the Adelaide Hills.
It is undeniable that Hahndorf is a charming hilltop village. However, with its huge popularity among visitors, Hahndorf’s tree-lined Main Street tends to become very busy during the day.
With that being said, if you are here in the early mornings, you can expect to enjoy this adorable village all by yourself.
Brunch at Kichen 2C or the Beerenberg Cafe
After taking in the beautiful street views along Hahndorf’s Main Street, you may wish to check out one of the cafes and bakeries along this buzzing street. My top two suggestions are Kitchen 2C and the Beerenberg Cafe.
Kitchen 2C is a cozy little cafe tucked away on Hahndorf’s Main Street. It offers a great selection of breakfast items, amazing coffees, and a relaxing vibe.
Beerenberg Cafe is a few minutes drive from the buzzing Hahndorf Main Street. Adjacent to a pick-your-own strawberry farm, you can also enjoy some freshly picked strawberries straight after your delicious brunch.
Murray Bridge is a 30-minute drive up the freeway from Hahndorf.
Established along the banks of River Murray, Murray Bridge is a peaceful regional town with a range of family-friendly activities. It is a great place to stretch your legs & spend an hour or so along the river.
Sturt Reserve is a large reserve along River Murray. It offers a relaxing walking trail along the peaceful River Murray, which is also the beginning of a 300+ km long Lavender Federation Trail.
There is also a large playground and skate park within the Sturt Reserve for kids to play in. Cafes and public toilets are available within Sturt Reserve as well.
Murray Bridge Bunyip
Within Sturt Reserve, you can find an iconic & old-school Murray bridge attraction, the Murray Bridge Bunyip.
The Murray Bridge Bunyip is a local novelty based on an Aboriginal Dreamtime Story. It is near the Murray River, just opposite the playground. There is a button on its right-hand side, which will activate the Bunyip when pressed.
Once activated, you will see a slimy, green monster slowly emerging from the water, accompanied by a scary sound effect. This sound effect can even be heard from a fair distance away. It was fun to watch, but I believe it can be a little intimidating for little kids.
Pink Lake (Meningie)
A 40-minute drive along Princes Highway from the Murray Bridge, you will come across your first pink lake along this drive, the Meningie Pink Lake.
The Meningie Pink Lake is located on the left-hand side of Princes Highway when driving from Adelaide to Robe. There are parking spots on the side of the road, so you can safely pull over to enjoy the views.
Similar to many other pink lakes, the pinkness of Meningie Pink Lake also increases as it dries out in the summer.
I, unfortunately, visited it on a rainy day in May. As you can see from the photos, the lake only had a tinge of pink when I visited. It was still pretty and worth pulling off when driving by. However, I won’t travel here just to see the Pink Lake itself.
Side Note: You may be tempted to walk or even drive on the foreshore area, so you can get closer to the Pink Lake itself. Judging from the tyre marks and footprints, many people have done that. However, the mud around the lake was deep and sticky! So think twice before stepping or driving in.
A further 10-minute drive along Princes Highway from the Pink Lake, you will arrive at the beautiful lakeside village, Meningie.
Meningie is a small country town overlooking the tranquil Lake Albert. With a spacious park along Lake Albert, the well-established playgrounds and public toilets, and various eateries and shops, Meningie is the perfect spot to stretch your legs and grab something to eat along your drive between Adelaide and Robe.
Lunch at Meningie Bakery
Meningie Bakery is a cute country bakery tucked behind a local IGA. It offers a good selection of baked goods and hot drinks. It is the best place for a lunch break along your drive between Adelaide and Robe.
Pink Lake (Magrath Flat / Parnka Point)
This is another pink lake I came across along this drive between Adelaide and Robe. Different to Meningie Pink Lake, there was no signage for this pink lake & I couldn’t find its name anywhere. On the map, this lake appears to be the ‘Magrath Flat’, but I highly doubt it.
The easiest way for locating this lake is by navigating yourself to Parnka Point. Instead of turning right (when driving from Adelaide to Robe) to Parnka Point, you need to pull over on the side of Princes Highway & this pink lake will be on your left-hand side.
This pink lake is much smaller than Meningie Pink Lake, but it was prettier! The waterline was much higher, so you don’t need to walk out to see the lake. More importantly, it was much pinker than the Meningie Pink Lake. I think it will be even prettier when dried up a bit more.
Jack Point Observation Deck (Coorong National Park)
The carpark for Jack Point Observation Deck is a 30-minute drive from Meningie via Princes Highway. It is among one of the few places you can visit without a 4WD in Coorong National Park.
Side Note: Some people may argue that you can still visit places like Parnka Point without a 4WD. However, I’m not a risk-taker & the rough dirt roads to many of the places in Coorong National Park were simply too much for my tiny heart to handle.
From the carpark, it is a 1.1 km of return walk to visit Jack Point Observation Deck. It is a relatively flat walk, with only small sections of gentle uphills. It took me just under 20 minutes for this return walk in a leisurely manner.
From Jack Point Observation Deck, you can view many of the popular pelican breeding islands in Coorong National Park (from a distance). However, I actually didn’t see any pelicans when I visited.
To spot the pelicans from these pelican breeding islands, I believe you will need to bring a pair of binoculars (these islands are all hundreds of metres away from Jack Point). You may also need to time your visit according to the pelican breeding season, which is typically between June and March.
Although I didn’t spot any pelicans, it was still a nice walk to get a glimpse of the beautiful Coorong National Park and stretch my legs. I also met a couple of wallabies & a variety of other birds along this walk.
The Big Lobster
The Big Lobster, Larry, is a 17-metre long lobster sculpture in Kingston SE. Ever since Larry was built in 1979, it has been a popular tourist attraction in this region.
Since Larry is conveniently located on the side of Princes Highway, make sure you also stop by & snap a selfie with Larry.
Cape Jaffa Lighthouse
To my surprise, Cape Jaffa Lighthouse is actually not on the water! I was looking for it along the foreshore area, but it is actually within a block of residential buildings. Surprise!
Cape Jaffa Lighthouse was initially erected offshore near Cape Jaffa in 1872. It was decommissioned in 1973 and re-erected on land to where it is now in 1976.
Since its relocation, Cape Jaffa Lighthouse has been functioning as a museum for visitors to learn the history of the lighthouse and the life of the lighthouse keepers.
An entry ticket is required to access the lighthouse. This ticket also includes a guided lighthouse tour. For up-to-date ticket pricing & tour starting times, please check out their website from the link above.
After visiting Cape Jaffa Lighthouse, make sure you also take a walk along Kingston’s beautiful foreshore area & visit the stunning Kingston Jetty.
Public toilets are also available near Kingston Jetty.
With a further 30-minute drive from Kingston SE, along South Ports Highway, you will eventually arrive at the picturesque Robe Town.
Being surrounded by a spectacular coastline and gorgeous beaches, Robe is the perfect place to catch that fairy tale sunset view.
You can visit the famous Robe Obelisk for a dramatic sunset view with the white and red striped obelisk; enjoy a sunset walk along the soft sandy beach on Long Beach; check out the beautiful Town Beach after dinner on Victoria Street.
Dinner in Robe
Apart from its pristine coastline, Robe is also well-known for its Southern Rock Lobsters.
As a licensed restaurant, Sails at Robe offers a full menu with a range of beverages to choose from. It is closed on Sundays & open for dinners for the rest of the week. Lunches are also available at Sails at Robe on selected days only (please check out their website for up-to-date trading hours). If lobsters are what you are after, you may need to phone the restaurant ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Sky Seafoods is a seafood wholesaler, which is famous for its fresh live lobsters. Since it is a seafood wholesaler, it does not provide full service as a restaurant would. During the warmer months, there are chefs on-site to prepare your freshly picked lobsters in-store (lunchtime only). However, during the colder months, chefs are only available from Friday to Sunday. Alternatively, you can also purchase a fresh live lobster from the store & cook it yourself.
In addition to these two places, you can also check out Caledonian Inn for fresh lobsters. It is conveniently located just across the road from Sails at Robe.
Where to Stay in Robe
Caledonian Inn is a historic local hotel, established in the 1850s. Conveniently located between Town Beach and Victoria Street, Caledonian Inn is a popular gathering place for both locals and visitors. In addition to its amazing pub, Caledonian Inn also offers accommodations for visitors.
During my visit, I stayed in a single room (with shared bathrooms) upstairs of this historic hotel. It was very clean and reasonably priced (I paid only AUD 77 for one night’s stay via Booking.com). It was conveniently located & with friendly staff. The only negative was that there was no heating available within the room, so it was quite cold at night. There is, however, a fan for cooling, but I’m not sure if it was going to be sufficient on those hot summer days.
If you are travelling as a couple or family, you may want to check out their self-contained cottages at the beachfront. They are even better positioned & have much cosier rooms than the ones within the hotel’s historic building.
Alternatively, there is a range of other accommodation choices around Robe, which you can check out here on Booking.com.
Day 2 – Robe
Breakfast at Drift Cafe
The next morning, I started my day with a light breakfast at Drift Cafe.
Drift Cafe is conveniently located just next to Caledonian Inn (I think they have the same owner). It offers a relaxing vibe with both indoor and outdoor dining options. The coffee was a little too milky for my liking, but the ham, cheese, and tomato croissant was so crispy and buttery soft.
Alternatively, you may wish to check out Robe Store by Mahalia Coffee. Their coffee was amazing & they also offer a decent brunch menu.
Town Beach & Robe Customs House
After breakfast at Drift Cafe, be sure to take a relaxing stroll along Town Beach to feel the sea breeze and appreciate how peaceful this little coastal town is in the early morning.
With a 10-minute short walk along Town Beach, you will find a distinctive limestone building, sitting on a small sandhill near the Seafarers’ Memorial. This is the Robe Customs House.
Robe Customs House was established in the 1860s as a Customs House when Robe was a busy port. It is now used as a maritime museum for people to learn the history of Robe & Australia’s gold rush era.
The Robe Customs House Museum is run by volunteers, so its opening hours do change on day to day basis. You may wish to give them a call for up-to-date opening hours before visiting.
Robe Obelisk is the most iconic landmark in Robe. Built in the 1850s to help safely navigate ships into the bay, Robe Obelisk has been standing strong on this narrow sandstone cliff for around 170 years.
Nowadays, although the obelisk itself is still standing strong, the sandstone cliff it is standing on has already eroded significantly. As a result, access to this distinctive white and red striped obelisk is currently fenced off for safety concerns. It is predicted that the iconic Robe Obelisk will eventually fall into the sea at some point.
Although access to Robe Obelisk is fenced off, visitors can still get a decent view of this stunning obelisk from behind the fence. It is still well worth a visit when in Robe.
Car access to Robe Obelisk has also been restricted over the past years. When I visited in May 2022, the road to Robe Obelisk was blocked off near the Robe Gaol Ruins.
There are plenty of parking spots available at the gaol ruins & you will, unfortunately, need to walk about 5 minutes from the Robe Gaol Ruins to Robe Obelisk. The walk itself is on a bitumen road, so it was relatively flat and easy to walk on.
Archway Rock (via Robe Coastal Walk)
From Robe Obelisk, you can either follow the famous Robe Coastal Walk or take a short drive to visit the beautiful Archway Rock. My suggestion is to take the coastal walk where possible.
In my opinion, the views along this walk are much much better than the views from the Archway Rock Lookout.
Along the coastal walk, you will be greeted by a rugged coastline and some explosive waves. You will also get to view the beautiful Robe Obelisk and Archway Rock from different angles. There were a lot fewer people along the coastal walk as well.
If you are taking the entire Robe Coastal Walk from start to finish, it will take you over one hour (one-way) to complete. However, if you are only following the coastal walk between Robe Obelisk and the Archway Rock, it only takes around 10 minutes one way.
Glass Beach & Robe Lighthouse
Glass Beach is a pristine little beach between the Archway Rock and Robe Lighthouse. It is only a less than 5 minutes walk from the Archway Rock Lookout.
As the name suggests, Glass Beach is famous for its perfectly polished sea glasses. However, the beach was super clean when I visited & I did not find any sea glass (or I just did not look hard enough?). Nonetheless, I still had a lot of fun, enjoying the fabulous views from Glass Beach.
Robe Lighthouse is a modern-looking lighthouse, only a few hundred meters away from Glass Beach. In my opinion, Robe Lighthouse is too modern for my taste. I found it better looking from afar than up close. However, you may think otherwise, so I will leave it to you to decide.
Robe Gaol Ruins & Robe Jetty
On the way back to the carpark, make sure you take a few minutes to check out the Robe Gaol Ruins as well.
Robe Gaol was originally opened in 1861 and permanently closed 20 years later. The site has since been in disrepair and partially dismantled. With recent restoration works, visitors can now wander around Robe Gaol Ruins to re-imagine what life was like within the gaol.
Entry to Robe Gaol Ruins is free. There is no gate or fence around it, so you can check it out at any time.
If you still have time, you may also wish to take a 5-minute walk to visit the picturesque Robe Jetty. It is a well-hidden little spot & you can also enjoy some fishing time along the jetty.
Lunch at Adventurous Spoon
For lunch, I checked out the well-recommended Adventurous Spoon & it did not disappoint.
I ordered a pork burger with chips, and it was delicious. They also offer a brunch menu, which runs from 8 am to 2.30 pm. Vegetarian and Gluten-Free options are available as well.
Alternatively, you can also check out Robe Store by Mahalia Coffee for a light lunch, or Sky Seafood for some freshly-caught lobsters.
Beacon Hill Lookout
After lunch, I then visited the Beacon Hill Lookout.
Sitting on a tiny hill, the Beacon Hill Lookout tower was built in 1996 to commemorate the 150th year of Robe Town’s proclamation.
Beacon Hill Lookout is now a popular spot for locals and visitors to obtain a stunning panoramic view of Robe and its impressive coastline.
Long Beach is a 17km long sandy beach in Robe. It is a great spot for swimming, surfing, or just a leisure stroll. Long Beach is also well-known for its drive-on access for vehicles.
Cars are permitted to drive on Robe’s Long Beach, providing they obey all road rules and drive to a speed limit of 25km/hr.
You do not have to use a 4WD to drive on Long Beach, but it is much suggested to reduce your risks of getting bogged on the beach.
In addition, summertime is a better season for driving on Long Beach, as the foreshore area is wider and the sand is firmer in those warmer months.
After spending a relaxing afternoon at Long Beach, it is time for us to either get back to Adelaide or continue to explore our next destination!
To explore a different region, you can either drive further along the Limestone Coast to visit Beachport and Mount Gambier or drive towards Adelaide’s direction to visit Victor Harbor and the Fleurieu Peninsula.
For information on visiting Mount Gambier, feel free to check out this: ‘Best Free Things to do in Mount Gambier‘.
For information on visiting Victor Harbor, feel free to check out this: ‘Victor Harbor Day Trip Itinerary‘.
For information on Day Trips from Adelaide, feel free to check out this: ‘10 Best Day Trips from Adelaide’.