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What in the World is a Cittàslow?

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by Karen Ross (subscribe)
I love slow travel, slow food and discovering new adventures and delicious regional food in new locations. Check my travel tips on Instagram
Published April 10th 2022
Good things take time in Goolwa
Cittàslow (pronounced chitta-slow) is a philosophy, or mindset, shared by those who value quality of life. It's not about doing things at a snail's pace but doing things at the right pace. It encourages the rare pleasure of stopping to celebrate what is happening around us.

The movement began, in 1999, in Italy and there are now around 130 towns, around the globe, that are certified Cittàslow towns.

Welcome to Goolwa
Welcome to Goolwa

Each town focuses on honouring its history and heritage, preserving local traditions, respecting and protecting the environment, valuing local producers, artists and artisans and celebrating community identity. Goolwa became Australia's first accredited Cittàslow town in 2007.

Cittaslow Goolwa plaque
Cittaslow Goolwa plaque

Goolwa has a rich Indigenous history, and, from more modern times, a history of riverboats and trade. Paddle steamers and barges were built at this river port and used to transport wool, wheat and other necessities from further up the Murray River in bygone days. Horse-drawn trains and later steam trains transported this produce along South Australia's first railway line to inland towns. Goolwa still has paddle steamers and steam trains. They provide fun for tourists and a source of pride for locals.

Oscar W Paddle steamer, Goolwa
Oscar W Paddle steamer, Goolwa

Goolwa presents an alluring environment due to its unique location, between the River and the Southern Ocean. Visitors flock during winter in the hope of spotting the Southern Right Whales that come to calf in waters off the coast. Goolwa Beach draws crowds during summer, not only for water sports but also to gather Goolwa Pipis.

Celebrating Pipi Season at Goolwa Beach
Celebrating Pipi Season at Goolwa Beach

Nearby The Coorong is a unique ecosystem featuring an expanse of saltwater lagoons and sand dunes that sweep along the coast. The Ngarrindjeri people are the traditional custodians of this special land where birdlife is prolific and the air is pristine.

A Coorong Path
A Coorong Path

Cittàslow Goolwa's 'headquarters' is a historic building on the main street. Local food and produce is sold here as well as products in keeping with Cittàslow's focus on sustainability and protection of the environment.

Cittaslow Corner, Cadell Street, Goolwa
Cittaslow Corner, Cadell Street

Present-day Goolwa is home to a bounty of artists and artisans who find inspiration in these surroundings and help to promote creativity and productivity, adding to the quality of life for residents and visitors.

Cittàslow Market is held twice each month on Sundays with stalls selling locally produced crafts and locally grown produce.

The Cittàslow Community Garden facilitates the growing and sharing of fresh, chemical-free produce.

Local artisans gather to engage in creative projects involving the community.

Volunteers prepare mosaic designs
Volunteers prepare mosaic designs

A Cittàslow management committee, and the affiliated Food and Wine group, organise regular community events. These events generally involve local musicians, local wine and local food.

Quince Cakes At The Wharf
A celebration involving quince cakes

The events are free and popular with locals and visitors to the town.

Local music
Local music

The town is a proud representation of Slow Movement ideology. If you haven't yet visited Goolwa put it on your list of things to do. You're sure to enjoy it - slowly.

Cittaslow Goolwa friendship Seat
Cittaslow Goolwa friendship Seat

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Why? Because good things take time
When: Visit Goolwa anytime
Where: Cadell Street, Goolwa, South Australia 5214
Cost: Free
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