Water fun, sailing, boating, marina.

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The "River Port of Goolwa" is the gateway to the Coorong and the mighty Murray River and Lakes system. There are plenty of water sports for the whole family to enjoy, with the town recognised as the wooden boat capital of Australia. A strong wooden boat-building tradition continues in Goolwa, and workers are often seen at the "Armfield Slip" working at their craft.

Goolwa, Middleton and Port Elliot celebrated the 150th anniversary of the opening of Australia's first railway May 2004 and today – that same service provides train enthusiasts with the opportunity to ride the historic, steam powered Cockle Train, running along the coast between Goolwa and Victor Harbor every Sunday throughout the year and daily during school holidays.



Goolwa hosts the biennial Wooden Boat Festival (March 2009), and there is the Goolwa – Milang Classic Boat Race each January and February. There are bare boats and skippered yachts, sailboards and canoes for hire. It is also the place to step aboard a cruise of the lower Murray River or the Coorong National Park.

As well as the fortnightly craft and produce market, the riverside cafes, art gallery, the heritage walk, the architecture, the surf and the beaches, there is so much history to learn about in this district. Goolwa is Australia's only registered inland port and the Signal Point River Murray Interpretive Centre interprets the historic bustling river trade. Australia's oldest railway, commissioned in 1854, still runs an historic passenger service between Goolwa, Port Elliot and Victor Harbor during school holidays and at weekends. Below the town are the huge, freshwater barrages, built between 1935 and 1940 to separate the fresh water of the river from the salt water of the sea.

Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor is one of those real-life picture postcard towns, set in the broad arc of Encounter Bay and protected from the southern ocean by Granite ‘Penguin’ Island. The town-approach, only 15 minutes drive along the coast from Goolwa will take your breath away as you first see the ‘harbour’.

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Catch the Horse Drawn Tram across to Penguin Island during the day or walk from Victor across the wooden causeway (takes about 10 minutes) to be among the 2,000 Little penguins that call the Island home. They return each evening at dusk to roost. It is one of those ‘must do’ experiences for first time visitors. The 2-hour tour is very informative and operates at dusk every night of the year. There is also the Below Decks Aquarium and Winter Whale Watching cruises that depart from the island, and a bistro that is open for lunch and dinner every day.

Port Elliot

Another real-life picture-postcard is your first view of Horseshoe Bay, with its islands, gentle surf and long sandy beach. One of the region’s best restaurants, the Flying Fish café is set right on the beach and opens for lunch each day throughout the year and for dinner on Friday and Saturday’s. In summer, the hours are extended. Expect to pay $50 per head, plus your wine, and bookings are essential – phone 8554 3504.


Sometimes described as the ‘antiques capital’ of South Australia, Strath’ is 33 kms north of Goolwa and has 12 antique and bric-a-brac retailers, several good coffee shops in the High Street and Dawson Street, a delightful park and a pleasant river-side walk. The stone architecture of many of the heritage listed homes and buildings combine to make a visit a delightful outing.

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Jackling Cottage

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