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Top 7 Things to Do in Goolwa

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by Steve Hudson (subscribe)
Inspired by Australia's natural, developing and fun environments. Join me. Get some inspiration.
Published April 12th 2017
Emerging as the place to be seen
Like many South Australian towns, Goolwa has been around for a long time with a European history dating back to the 1840's, and a local history back many years before that. And with a rare location in South Australia of being adjacent to both river and sea water, it is no surprise that the popularity continues amidst a range of modern activities and great things to see and do while in Goolwa.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Goolwa Station - Steve Hudson


Water Tours

The location of Goolwa makes it ideal for a unique day trip to visit the Coorong, one of Australia's great saltwater estuaries. Leaving the Goolwa Wharf regularly is the Cruise the Coorong tours, while just across the way on Hindmarsh Island, the eco-friendly Canoe the Coorong provides a similar tour but with a lesser footprint.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Canoe the Coorong - Steve Hudson


Alternatively, and back at the Goolwa Wharf, the historic paddle steamer PS Oscar W departs regularly for a short trip around the lower Murray where passengers get a chance to relax on board while the wood-fired boiler and giant paddle wheel takes control.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
PS Oscar W - Steve Hudson


Eating

Part of Goolwa's revival has been the establishment of several cafes, many which are becoming icons in their own right. Hectors on the Wharf has been honouring Hector Semaschko for several years, while just around the corner at Goolwa Beach, Bombora's has established a strong following amongst beach goers for great seafood, snacks and ice cream, all of which are near necessities when enjoying a day at the beach.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Hectors Cafe on the Wharf - Steve Hudson


Meanwhile in the centre of town Motherduck is new on the scene, and is fast becoming popular with locals and visitors alike with their mix of contemporary café food and great coffees.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Motherduck - Steve Hudson


Indulging

The Mediterranean climate of Goolwa gives rise to creativity and with that comes some great wines, starting off with those of offer from the Shaw Family Vintners at the Signal Point Gallery. Central to town, this great cellar door offering is matched by the 90 Mile Wines at the Wharf Barrel Shed, both offering platters and other foods to complement the wines and the view.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Wharf Barrel Shed - Steve Hudson


Meanwhile, in the old railway sheds, the Steam Exchange Brewery and Fleurieu Distillery has earned a reputation for great customer service amongst a mix of craft beers, single malt whiskies and the odd gin. Open Wednesday to Sunday, the brewery and distillery are adjacent to the Goolwa Railway Station, where the Cockle Train has regular weekend and holiday departures.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Brewery - Steve Hudson


Fishing

With so much water around, it is not surprising to see many a fishing rod in hands or on cars. Fishing near Goolwa Wharf creates a chance for an encounter with a Murray Cod, while on Goolwa Beach or at the Murray Mouth, the saltwater specialists are regularly seen with whiting or salmon.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Fishing from the Murray Mouth - Steve Hudson


But fishing is not all about rods and reels as the cockle (pipi) makes Goolwa Beach its home, and awaits the twisting of feet and digging of hands to uncover this new and modern feature of many a linguini or seafood salad.

Festivals and Markets

Keen to ensure the enjoyment spread to many, Goolwa is host to a number of annual events including Goolwa Regatta Week, the SA Wooden Boats Festival, SALA and the Christmas festival.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Art Galleries - Steve Hudson


On the first and third Sundays of every month the popular Goolwa Markets take over the lawns alongside the Cockle Train and the Goolwa Wharf and over 80 stallholders offer a range of goods, services and foods to delight and inspire all visitors.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Goolwa Markets - Steve Hudson


Water Sports

With lots of water comes lots of choices for water sports, whether that be at the beach or the river. The Goolwa Surf Life Saving Crew are on hand at Goolwa Beach to oversee the keen swimmers and surfers take advantage of the long beach and glorious waters.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Goolwa Beach - Steve Hudson


Not to be outdone, the river plays host to a wide range of activities including sailing boats, yachts, kayaks, jet skis and stand-up paddleboards. Whether you have your own, or whether you are looking to hire, there are plenty of choices and plenty of sheltered coves to launch and explore.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Stand up Paddleboarding - Steve Hudson


Walk and Ride

And like most towns, the options to walk and ride are near endless. The Goolwa Historic Walk gives walkers an interesting insight into the history of Goolwa, while the Hindmarsh Island Walk takes walkers across the other side for some exceptional views of the Marina.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Soldier's Memorial Gardens - Steve Hudson


The Encounter Bikeway passes through the centre of Goolwa on its path from Goolwa North to Victor Harbor. This off-road paved path is suitable for riders of all ages and combines some of the best views of the River with close access to facilities, cafes and accommodation places.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Encounter Bikeway - Steve Hudson


For further details on the things to do in Goolwa, refer to the above links or drop into the Goolwa Visitor Information Centre, their website or their facebook page.

Top 7 Things to do In Goolwa, Goolwa Wharf, Wharf Barrel Shed, PS Oscar W, Canoe the Coorong, Cruise the Coorong, Hectors on the Wharf, Motherduck, Goolwa Historic Walk, Encounter Bikeway
Cockle Train - Steve Hudson
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Why? The emerging place to be seen
When: Any time
Where: Goolwa
Cost: Varies per activity
Your Comment
I agree... I have been going to this town since the mid 1940's and it always appealed to me...good to see it progressing...it has now become a top tourist destination.
by noelp (score: 3|1164) 125 days ago
Steve, I love visiting other towns and finding out all the great things it has on offer. Love you article.
by Susan J Bowes (score: 2|386) 113 days ago
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=354897784911874&id=289855901416063¬if_t=like¬if_id=1492130913958192&ref=m_notif
Great holiday accommodation available at a very reasonable rate.
by Hilli (score: 0|2) 126 days ago
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