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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.