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South Australian Wooden Boat Festival

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
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Get steamed up on the River Murray

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The Wooden Boat Festival on the River Murray


Goolwa is a popular holiday destination and coastal town on the Fleurieu Peninsula near the mouth of the River Murray and the Hindmarsh Island bridge. There are many Goolwa attractions including SteamRanger's Cockle Train, the Goolwa Markets, Goolwa Motor Museum and the Steam Exchange Brewery.

As part of the Encounter Marine Park a large number of water sports are very popular including surfing, diving and canoeing the Coorong. But one of the most exciting Goolwa attractions only happens every alternate year - the South Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

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There Are Fun Things to Do on the Wooden Boats


The Wooden Boat Festival began in 1989 with a small group of local enthusiasts. It's now recognised as one of the major festivals of its type in the southern hemisphere attracting around 300 vessels to Goolwa. One of the highlights is when the steam boats meet the steam train with its unique position Goolwa is one of the few places in the world where this can actually happen.

This year the South Australian Wooden Boat Festival takes place on the weekend of February 21-22 at the historic Goolwa wharf precinct. There will again be a stunning array of wooden boats to see including putt putts, paddle steamers, row boats, speed boats and grand river boats.

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Rowing Under Hindmarsh Island Bridge at Goolwa


Live music and entertainment
Of course the Wooden Boat Festival has much more than a display of boats - there are fun things to do for all ages. Free live entertainment will include the South Australian Navy Band and cool jazz, harmonies and grooving beats on the main stage to set a great mood for the weekend.

The Baker Suite will light up the main stage on Saturday afternoon with their warm combination of acoustic guitar and Parisian style accordion music. Fresh from WOMADelaide 2014, The Baker Suite has opened for Elton John, Kate Ceberano and many more high profile acts. Nuvo will play on Saturday evening - an eight piece Afro-Caribbean band well known to Adelaide audiences for their uplifting soca grooves, wicked horn sounds and percussive beats. This is a party ensemble guaranteed to get you jumping on the dance floor

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Activities for Kids at Goolwa Include Water Sports


Fun things to do
Take a cruise on the iconic Goolwa Paddle Steamer Oscar W (now more than 100 years old) and Paddle Steamer Marion of Mannum (built in 1897). Both will cruise from the Goolwa Wharf throughout the weekend.

For landlubbers Steamranger's Cockle Train will be running to Victor Harbor and back, another special experience for the whole family. Tickets will be available at the Victor Harbor, Port Elliot and Goolwa Stations.

Watch or join in the Bote Cote Epoxy Systems Rough and Ready Boat Building and Sailing Competition - each couple are given sheets of ply, some timber & materials to build a boat that floats and navigate a course. A great spectacle!

The more cultured visitors will enjoy the photographic art exhibition Wooden Boats -The Passion on display throughout the festival at the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club

Children's activities
With so many families visiting Goolwa there are plenty of activities for kids and families too. Follow the Pirate Trail, a map experience where children can learn and collect treasures along the way. Get the kids transformed with face painting, or watch a special screening of the Australian classic film Storm Boy which was shot in Goolwa.

On Saturday night, thrill to a spectacular fireworks display from the Hindmarsh Island Bridge.

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Enjoy Delicious Food and Wine From the Fleurieu Peninsula


Food
No festival is fun without food, and there's going to be enough variety to make you drool at the Wooden Boat Festival. Choose your favourites from everything between churros and chips.

The Festival's Gastronomy Galley will offer a selection of fresh, local food, wine and beer with over 30 stalls offering regional produce

Gourmet selections range from enormous paella pans to Indian cuisine, and for the sweet tooth yummy churros and healthy fresh fruit based smoothies

All of your traditional festival food will be on offer at market stalls to keep the kids happy

Stocking the Festival bar is award winning Oliver's Taranga Vineyards, Langhorne Creek Winemakers Association and a selection of beers

Goolwa Market - The Goolwa Market stalls provide an opportunity to take home an assortment of fresh produce, arts, crafts, clothing and much more

For more Information about the South Australian Wooden Boat Festival point your cursor at their website and check the Facebook page for the latest event gossip. You can also find lots more fun things to do in the Encounter Marine Park on your way.

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Why? The South Australian Wooden Boat Festival is one of the best Goolwa attractions
Where: Goolwa, SA
Cost: $10 adult weekend pass, kids under 15 are free.
Your Comment
Well said Dave. I was down there last weekend, and the town is looking pretty and starting to get ready for the festival
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1245) 1765 days ago
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