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Inside the 19th Century buildings still lining many of the streets, fashion boutiques and hole-in-the-wall antique and curio shops pop up at agreeable intervals, mixed with surf shops for those intent on taking on the waves around the corner at Knights Beach or beyond. If you want fresh food or handmade arts and crafts, head to the Port Elliot Market, held every first and third Saturday of the month at Lakala Reserve.
The town comes alive in summer as the shacks along the North Beach fill with city folk happy to sun themselves on golden sands or dip a line into Spencer Gulf to catch King George whiting or snapper.
If that fails, there are some excellent fish and chip shops, such as Pier One. Smelter cafe is attached to some delightful heritage-style accommodation. There are six at last count, including the Coopers Alehouse, an excellent place to soak up the views, along with a steak and a pint, and the occasional live band. Although the marina has brought a new dimension to the town, with its up-market houses and boat berths, the retail base is fairly standard for a small town. You can join sophisticated escapees from the city for an up-market degustation and retail therapy or you can just slip away to any of the beautiful beaches in and around the town and enjoy the sun and seafood you can pull from the Southern Ocean with your own hands.
Robe is always several degrees cooler than Adelaide, making it a premier summertime getaway spot, and the town has learnt to cater to many tastes. Restaurants such as Gather Food and Wine — awarded a two-fork rating in the Advertiser Good Food Guide — use wild and local ingredients to provide a unique food experience, while gastropub the Caledonian Inn joins the Sails at Robe in serving up fine seafood.
The cafe scene is alive and well in Robe and, in between wandering through the boutiques and homewares shops along Victoria St, you can relax with coffee and nibbles at Mahalia Coffee and No 4, which also offer artisan pantry items. Head to a local bakery or take the kids to Robe Ice Cream. If town life palls, you take the family to the pretty little town beach or drive them to Long Beach where you can park on the sand and enjoy surfing, diving or fishing with the rugged limestone cliffs as a glorious backdrop.