The Goolwa Wharf Markets are held on the Goolwa Wharf alongside the Railway Station and feature around 80 stalls selling all sorts of market fare. My forward planning helped in knowing where the location was, and my initial thoughts as to where to park. But alas, I forgot that the Cockle Train also runs on Sundays and was at the station awaiting passengers, and all the local car parks were occupied by market goers, train travellers and numerous other tourists congregating in this becoming part of Goolwa.
I found some parking a couple of streets away, and the subsequent walk to the markets became the justification for a coffee. I focussed my attention on what I thought was the largest gaggle of people, and made my way to the near-centre of the market and found a sit-down area and a coffee caravan whereby I satisfied my late morning craving.
Cruising the two main aisles of stalls, there is an eclectic feel to this market which is abuzz with conversations between buyers and sellers. There is the old and the new, the fresh and the produced, the antiques and the novelties... and then there is the Bull Creek Bakery, which I have previously failed to walk past without buying anything. Today was another failure, and the beef and mushroom pie (a deep pastry pie similar to British Pork pies) coupled with the Portuguese tart meant that the hands were then full, and a rest under a Norfolk Palm beckoned.
After a break admiring the boats on Lake Alexandrina, I continued along the second aisle noting the stalls selling the healthy and healing, the green and growing, the handmade and manufactured, and the farm made — and baked sausage rolls. Oh my, was I kicking myself at this point having just finished gorging on my early lunch. The sausage roll stand had numerous fillings including goat, spinach and feta, and pork and cheese, all of which piqued my interest. Luckily they were also selling cold servings, so three of those went in the bag to be devoured 'ron (and they were both delightful).
Soon I was coming to the end of the aisles having seen many different products and varieties of honeys, jams, olive oil, wines, petfood, books, thongs, hats, plants, flowers, crafts, shoes, bags, jewellery, tools and antiques. Although I didn't purchase much of anything else, it was good to browse, to soak up the atmosphere and to indulge in some pastries that were simply divine.
The Goolwa Wharf Markets are held every Sunday during January, and the first and third Sundays for the remainder of the year. With a number of other cafes in and about the wharf including Hectors on the Wharf, 90 Mile Wines Cellar Door and the Cafelicious Cafe, the area is popular and has plenty of food options for everyone.
For those unable to get to Goolwa on a Sunday, there is an alternative on Saturdays. Just 12km down the coastal road, the Port Elliot Markets are held at Lakala Reserve in centre of Port Elliot. These markets are slightly smaller than Goolwa, and feature a number of stallholders who also exhibit at the Goolwa Wharf Markets.
A quick tour of the Port Elliot Markets reveals a greater range of plants, flowers and local produce from some of the local market gardens, with fewer bakehouse and other edible foods. However there was a BBQ stall with some bacon and egg rolls that begged for attention. Sadly a coffee stall was not in sight, so if you are visiting these markets and want a coffee, it would be best to grab a takeaway from the township before walking down to the markets.