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Twenty Must-Do Things in Goolwa 2022

Home > Adelaide > Bars | Beaches | Cafes | Escape the City
by Karen Ross (subscribe)
I love slow travel, slow food and discovering new adventures and delicious regional food in new locations. I'm on an indulgent quest and I'd love you to follow at https://www.facebook.com/walkeatshare
Published January 14th 2022
There's a lot going on in this tiny town
Planning a trip to Goolwa? There's activities aplenty. I've compiled a list of just twenty to get you started.

1. PS Oscar W Lunch Cruise
A ride on a 114-year-old, steam-driven, wood-fired, authentic working paddle steamer is always going to be a bit special. PS Oscar W departs Goolwa Wharf and heads to Clayton for regular lunch cruises on Saturdays once a month. If you can't make a Saturday lunch cruise, jump on board for a shorter cruise on a Sunday or public holiday. Check the Oscar W website for times, prices and other details.

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


2. Spirit of The Coorong Cruises
Choose from a 1.5 hour cruise to the Murray Mouth, a 3.5 hour Coorong Discovery Cruise, or a 6 hour Coorong Adventure Cruise. Expert guides will regale you with fascinating facts about the flora and fauna of the Coorong, as well as sharing information regarding the local, Ramindjeri history and culture. All cruises leave from Goolwa Wharf and all details are available on Spirit of the Coorong website.

Goolwa Wharf Boarding Station
Goolwa Wharf Boarding Station


3. Canoe the Coorong
Hire a kayak from Canoe the Coorong and explore the waterways. You can even arrange to have a single or double kayak delivered to your chosen location. Better still, book into a guided tour which includes all necessary equipment, catering and a knowledgeable, local guide. Pricing and other details can be found on the website.

Hire a kayak and see the Coorong
Hire a kayak and see the Coorong


4. Self-Guided water activities
There's a wide range of opportunities to enjoy your favourite water-based activity in and around Goolwa due to the fact both river and sea are easily accessible. Goolwa Beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers on weekends and public holidays, adding an element of safety for swimmers, surfers, stand-up paddle-boarders and kite-surfers.

Over at the river, you'll find jetties, boat ramps and other facilities for boating, water-skiing, wind-surfing and more. A hydrofoil or two have been spotted recently.

Ride a hydrofoil in Goolwa
Ride a hydrofoil in Goolwa


5. Visit the galleries
There's an abundance of art in Goolwa and a visit to the galleries is highly recommended. Alexandrina Council website has information regarding the major galleries, including South Coast Regional Art Centre (known locally as The Old Police Station) and Signal Point. Art @ Goolwa, on Porter Street, showcases the works of local artists and artisans and is open 7 days a week. In addition, there are a number of smaller galleries such as Henriette's, open most weekends or by appointment, on Castle Avenue in Goolwa Beach.

Henriette's Gallery, Castle Avenue, Goolwa
Henriette's Gallery, Castle Avenue, Goolwa


6. Find out more about Goolwa's Cittaslow status by visiting Cittaslow Corner.
Friendly volunteers will explain the background behind Goolwa becoming the very first Australian town to join the global, Slow Town, movement and share information about current Cittaslow Goolwa events and activities.

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


There's a range of locally produced products for sale at the Corner and a photo opportunity on the Friendship Seat just outside.

Cittaslow Friendship Seat
Cittaslow Friendship Seat


7. Indulge in some retail therapy
There's a number of quirky, interesting shops in and near the main street of town, including Chantillie Place, Flowerworx, Artworx and more. You'll find a wide range of fresh flowers, plants, gifts, clothing and novelty items to tempt you.

Flowerworx, Cadell Street, Goolwa
Flowerworx, Cadell Street.


8. Ride The Cockle Train to Victor Harbor.
The train travels on Wednesdays, weekends and most days during school holidays. Details and prices are available on the website. Browse around Treasures and Trains Handmade Crafts before you jump on board.

Cockle Train
Cockle Train


The train track follows the coast to Victor Harbor, affording stunning views along the way.

Ride between Goolwa and Victor Harbor on The Cockle Train
Ride between Goolwa and Victor Harbor on The Cockle Train


9. Go to a Market on Sunday morning.
The Cittaslow Market is held at Jaralde Park on the second, fourth and fifth Sundays of each month. Here you'll find local produce including cheese, eggs and honey, as well as artisans wares.

The Rotary Market is held on first and third Sundays from 8am until around 3pm.

Gilbert's Local Honey
Gilbert's Local Honey


10. Visit the Museum
The Goolwa and South Coast Historic Museum is on Porter street. The building itself is 150 years old and the displays tell myriad stories from the rich history of the town.

Goolwa and South Coast Historic Museum
Goolwa and South Coast Historic Museum


11. Take a Walk
There are plenty of walks to undertake around town including a walk over the Hindmarsh Island Bridge. You can walk to a small viewing platform, just past the information bay on the island, or just admire the view from the bridge.

View from the Hindmarsh Island Bridge
View from the Hindmarsh Island Bridge


Pick up a brochure from the Information Centre, or download it here, and follow the Goolwa Heritage Walk.

There's a Dune Walk near the main, Goolwa Beach, car park that climbs through the sand dunes, resulting in a wonderful view towards the Murray Mouth.

Dunewalk view, Goolwa Beach
Dunewalk view, Goolwa Beach


12. Ride along the Encounter Bikeway.
The bikeway stretches 16kms from Goolwa to Victor Harbor, passing through Middleton and Port Elliot along the way. Bring your bike or hire an electric bike from Captain Sturt Boat Supplies at 237 Liverpool Road, Goolwa.

Encounter Bikeway
Encounter Bikeway


13. Collect Goolwa cockles (pipis) from November till the end of May
There's a few tricks involved to securing a successful bounty of cockles. Read them here. Once you have successfully purged your bounty you will be ready to prepare a delicious dish using local, traditional food.

Cockling at Goolwa Beach
Cockling at Goolwa Beach


14. Take the kids to the Adventure Playground at Bristow Smith Reserve
The Nature Playspace has plenty of equipment for the kids, shade shelters, barbecues and a safe swimming beach.

Adventure Playground, Goolwa
Adventure Playground, Goolwa


15. Dollies Lollies sweet shop has a Doll Museum.
River Dolls of Goolwa, on Cadell Street, displays and sells dolls and toys. Check their website for opening hours.

Doll Museum, Goolwa
Doll Museum, Goolwa


16. Visit the Distillery on Goolwa Wharf
Sit on the deck and enjoy the river views while sipping on a glass of award-winning whiskey or G-Town Gin.

Lynda and Greg's ice-cream van parks next to the deck most weekends.

Fleurieu Distillery
Fleurieu Distillery


17. Wharf Wine Barrel
The Wharf Wine Barrel Shed serves their own, 90 Mile Wines, as well as other wines from nearby Langhorne Creek. You can enjoy a toastie or a platter, with a glass of wine or local beer outside on the wharf, or inside at the bar. There's always plenty to see on the adjacent river, particularly on Friday evenings when the yacht races are on. On weekends you can enjoy live music while you sip.

Wharf Wine Barrel Shed, Goolwa Wharf
Wharf Wine Barrel Shed, Goolwa Wharf


18. Restaurants
Hectors can be found on Goolwa Wharf and Bombora on the River is a short walk, along the water, on Barrage Road.

Hectors on the Wharf, Goolwa
Hectors on the Wharf


Closer to town, choose from The Whistlestop or Thai Days. At the Goolwa Beach car park you'll find the very special Kuti Shack where you can feast on treasures from the sea.

19. Coorong Cafe
There's a cafe with a difference at Sugars Beach on Hindmarsh Island. Coorong Cafe serves fish and chips, hamburgers and more, on weekends and most days during school holidays. The cafe also hosts live music events on a regular basis. Check Facebook for times and details.

Coorong Cafe
Coorong Cafe


20. Murray Delta Juke Joint
At the end of the day from Thursday to Saturday, and also on Sunday afternoons, fans of live music are in for a treat at Murray Delta Juke Joint on Dowdodd Street. The venue oozes charm and character and the standard of music is always high.

Quality live music at MDJJ
Quality live music at MDJJ


There's something for all tastes and interests in this small town and it's just an hour's drive south of Adelaide.
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Why? It's only an hour from Adelaide
When: Anytime
Where: Goolwa, South Australia
Cost: Various, some free
Your Comment
Fantastic article! I am moving down that way next month and I'll definitely be checking a few of these places out
by Paula McManus (score: 3|3788) 316 days ago
Looks and sounds fabulous, Karen, congrats on the Silver!
by Elaine (score: 3|9077) 321 days ago
Lots of modern and historic things to see and do here. thanks for your story
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|5783) 321 days ago
What a great town Karen. It's been over 50 years since I was in Goolwa. It sounds like a return visit for a week or so should be on the bucket list.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4476) 321 days ago
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