Most people have heard of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, but have you heard about the Limestone Coast in South Australia? If not, make sure you add it to your list. It’s a small stretch of coastline in South Australia right before the Victorian border. The area features incredible, natural limestone cliffs that are a beautiful white-wash, pastel colour.
I spent a couple of days on the Limestone Coast on a recent four-week road trip, and it was one of the highlights of my trip for sure. It has something for everyone: beautiful beaches; great coffee; award-winning food and wine; coastal walks and plenty of ocean views.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next trip, here are 9 fun things you can do while you’re on the Limestone Coast
1. The Robe Town Brewery
We arrived in Robe in the late afternoon, so naturally our first stop was the brewery. The Robe Town Brewery is located just outside of the main street, only a five-minute drive from the town centre. It has 17 different beers on tap, and you can choose four in a tasting paddle for $12.
There’s also a couple of wines on offer for the non beer-drinkers (like myself), although these are very limited. The brewery has a really cool, quirky, industrial vibe and is a nice spot to sit and relax in the sun. If sitting still isn’t your specialty or you’ve got kids with you, there are some pool tables too.
2. Robe coastal walk (feature the famous Obelisk!)
This was probably my highlight of Robe. What’s not to love about a good coastal walk? You get beautiful views, fresh sea air, an opportunity to fit in some exercise and it’s completely free. We parked the van at West Beach and walked towards the Robe Lighthouse before arriving at the Robe Obelisk (an icon of the town, and the star attraction of the coastal walk).
The Obelisk was originally used to help guide boats into the bay, and was painted with its iconic red stripes so it was easier to spot against the white limestone cliffs. Unfortunately, the limestone wall supporting the Obelisk is gradually crumbling down, so the structure’s future is at risk. The local community is torn between trying to save and relocate the Obelisk, or letting nature play its course and send it away into the sea when the time comes.
The walk passes several beautiful viewing platforms and ends back near town at the Robe Jetty, taking about an hour all up.
3. The Robe Jetty
The Robe Jetty is a lovely spot to go fishing, swimming, snorkeling or just simply sit in the sun and relax. Walking to the end of the jetty offers a nice view of the town and the limestone cliff face behind the water. We saw a big manta ray casually cruise past while we were chilling out on the jetty and a few others said they had just seen a turtle, so keep your eyes peeled.
I also think the limestone must affect the water colour down here, because it’s an incredibly chalky, lovely, baby-blue colour that’s much creamier than the east coast.
4. Stroll along Victoria Street
Robe has one main street, Victoria Street, which is dotted with cute little boutiques, cosy cafes, a bakery, ice creamery and small cellar door. If you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours, it’s a great place to do some shopping, enjoy a coffee or meal and simply watch the world go by.
5. Swim at one of the many beaches
Robe is a small town, but you’ve still got several beautiful beaches to choose from while you’re here. Town Beach is right at the end of the main street and is a protected spot for a swim or some fish and chips with a view of the jetty.
Around the corner is Long Beach which, shock horror, is very long. This is a good beach for a walk or run, and is right opposite the Discovery Parks Robe camping site (which by the way has to be one of the cleanest campgrounds I’ve ever stayed at). West Beach is further out of town (about a five-minute drive) and was a bit too rough for a swim, but a lovely spot to watch the sunset.
6. Go wine tasting in the Coonawarra region
If you’re not in a hurry to get to your next destination, on your way out of Robe you could duck inland to the Coonawarra wine region instead of driving along the coast. It’s only an hour from Robe, so would also make a good day trip option if you’ve got a bit of time.
The region isn’t as well-known as South Australia’s Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale, but it also isn’t as busy (and the wine is just as delicious!). Many of the family-run cellar doors offer free tastings, and the ones that charge for tasting often waive the fee if you buy some wine (which, trust me, you will).
7. Swim in a natural sinkhole
On our way from Robe to Mt.Gambier we stumbled across the Little Blue Lake. If you like to swim and are up for something a bit different, I’d definitely put this on your itinerary. It’s a natural volcanic sinkhole that seems to be in the middle of nowhere, with depths of over 40 meters and cliff walls more than eight meters above water level. We jumped in for a very cold but refreshing swim and had a bit of a look around the cliff walls with our snorkels.
The Little Blue Lake is about 20 minutes out from Mt.Gambier and free to access. There are some stairs down to the lake and a floating pontoon to get in the water. Even if you don’t want to have a swim, it’s still worth coming here and taking a look – I’ve never seen anything like it.
8. Umpherston Sinkhole
If swimming in a volcanic sinkhole doesn’t excite you (I know freezing cold water in a 40-meter deep hole isn’t for everyone!), then maybe walking in one will be. Instead of water, the Umpherston Sinkhole in Mt.Gambier has been turned into a lovely vertical garden. It feels like you’re in a scene from Jurassic Park when you’re standing in the bottom, looking up at the tall palm trees and hanging vines.
9. Blue Lake Mt. Gambier
This is one of the main attractions in Mt.Gambier, and it’s worth seeing even if you’re just passing through. And let me tell you, the name isn’t lying, this lake is incredibly blue. It’s also incredibly large, much bigger than I was expecting.
You can choose one of the several viewing platforms, or if you’re keen on stretching your legs after a long drive there’s a 3.5km flat walking track around the lake. The photos don’t really show just how blue the water is, so you do need to see it for yourself.
If I’ve convinced you to do a trip to the Limestone Coast, download the free CamperMate app for more things to see and do and places to camp while you’re there.