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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.
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.
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
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.
Enjoy Delicious Food and Wine From the Fleurieu Peninsula