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Cockling at Goolwa Beach

Home > Adelaide > Beaches | Food and Wine | Fun for Children | Fun Things To Do | Outdoor
by Karen Ross (subscribe)
I love walking, and I love eating good food. The more I eat, the more I need to walk, so I plan to walk all around the world, eating good food, at nice places. It's a worthwhile quest and I'd love you to follow at www.walkeatshare.wordpress.com
Published December 30th 2017
Now they are a tasty treat
Once upon a time the humble Goolwa Cockle, or Pipi, was used only as bait. Cocklers would gather at the water's edge along Goolwa Beach to do the 'cockle shuffle' with their feet to bring the small molluscs to the surface ready for collection.

Buckets on Goolwa Beach
Buckets on Goolwa Beach


Seemingly more cocklers than ever are heading to Goolwa to collect not just bait but a feast for the dinner table now that cockles have found favour with foodies.

Collecting cockles
Collecting cockles


Cockles can be collected from November 1 until May 31 and strict rules apply to their collection including minimum size and bag limits.

Pipi rules
Pipi rules


Pipi-measurers can be purchased from service stations in Goolwa and fishing limits can be checked at www.pir.sa.gov.au.

The rules
The rules


As well as a pipi-measurer, essential cockle collecting equipment includes a bucket, an esky and perhaps a cockle net. You'll also need to know how to do the 'cockle shuffle' with your feet. Watch a local for tips on mastering this skill.

My cockle haul
My cockle haul


Once collected, cockles need to be purged for a day or so in seawater to get rid of the gritty sand in their shell. I put mine in a plastic basket, slightly raised from the bottom of a large tub, with enough sea water to cover them.

Purging in a basket
Purging in a basket


Once purged, these small local delicacies are ready to be added to your favourite recipe. Mine is Spaghetti Con Vongole, or Pipi Pasta. I prepare a sauce using shallots, garlic, creme fraiche, pancetta, garden peas and a splash of white wine, then throw the cockles in to steam. Once the shells are open the cockles are cooked and I mix in fresh pasta. Delicious with a glass of chilled Pinot Gris from nearby Langhorne Creek.

Pipi Pasta
Pipi Pasta


Alternatively, if you want to eat cockles but save your energy, you can buy a bucket from local Goolwa Chef, Olaf Hansen. He has a rather unique vehicle, known as the Pipi Bike, which he rides to local events around Goolwa.

Olaf Hansen's Pipi Bike
Olaf Hansen's Pipi Bike


The bike has a built-in barbecue, perfect for cockle cooking. After barbecuing the cockles, Olaf drizzles them with a delicious sauce of garlic, capers, lemon and tarragon and serves them in a small 'bucket' with a slice of crusty bread.



You'll see Olaf and his famous Pipi Bike at most of Cittaslow's "At the Wharf" events on the last Friday of the month during summer.

Goolwa Cockles
Goolwa Cockles
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Why? Forrage for food at the beach
When: November 1 until May 31
Where: Goolwa Beach
Cost: Free
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