Only an hour’s drive from Adelaide’s CBD is the beautiful town of Goolwa, a historic port and now a popular holiday town near the mouth of the Murray River on Lake Alexandrina. Like many river towns, Goolwa has become a tourist destination and offers a unique blend of historic attractions and stunning scenery.


Below, we share top 10 places to visit and enjoy in the nation’s recognized small boat capital.


1. Goolwa Beach


Goolwa BeachSpectacular Goolwa Beach, SA. Photo:


Take a relaxing walk on this beautiful and glorious long beach of Goolwa. White sand, pristine water and patrolled, Goolwa Beach is the perfect place to surf, swim and simply relax under the sun. There is also a 4WD access to the beach out to Murray Mouth. This stunning beach is the most popular surfing beach south of Adelaide and attracts large crowds in summer.


2. Goolwa Motor Museum


Goolwa Motor MuseumVintage cars display at Goolwa Motor Museum.


Definitely a must-see for car enthusiasts, Goolwa Motor Museum lets you enjoy an extensive collection of well-restored motor vehicles.  Discover the beautiful collection of vintage and classic cars from the 1920's to the 1970's. It also includes rare makes and models, garage mobilia and vintage photos.


3. Goolwa Animal Farm


Goolwa Animal FarmFun day with farm animals at Goolwa Animal Farm. Photo: Facebook@Goolwa Animal Farm


Have a fun and relaxing day out with the whole family in the family-run Goolwa Animal Farm. With typical animal farms including kangaroos, emus, alpacas, donkeys, ponies, mini-pigs, sugar gliders, canaries, turtles, bunnies among others, the place ensures a great and delightful trip, especially for kids. There are also pony rides, trailer rides, play areas and a café.


4. Hindmarsh Island


Hindmarsh IslandHindmarsh Island Bridge and stunning river views. Photo:


Pass through the Hindmarsh Island Bridge which connects the island to Goolwa and enjoy a day trip in this top tourist destination. Marvel at the Murray Mouth with its sand dunes. You can also find cruises into the Coorong National Park, bareboat and skippered yacht charters.


5. Coorong Cruises


Coorong CruisesCruise docking on a beach. Photo:


Experience an ultimate six-hour cruise which goes deep into the Coorong National Park and includes two guided walks. Discover the wetland wilderness, the abundance of bird life & spectacular scenery of the Coorong or Murray River & Riverport of Goolwa as the captain provides an informative and entertaining commentary on the passing scenes, bird life and history of the area. The Spirit of the Coorong Cruises also serves a delicious lunch and afternoon tea to complete the experience.


6. Festivals


FestivalSouth Australian Wooden Boat Festivities bring together tourists from all over. Photo:


Enjoy festivities and celebration of South Australia’s rich maritime heritage at the South Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Get up close and personal with the river’s most diverse gathering of wooden river vessels, from kayaks and sleek classic speedboats to paddle steamers. You can cruise on a paddle steamer, indulge in regional food and wine, with loads of entertainment. The biennial event attracts thousands of tourists from interstate and overseas. Indulge in local produce and be amazed at wooden and classic boats display.


7. Encounter Bikeway


Encounter BikewayCyclists enjoy the Encounter Bikeway. Photo:


Go on a bike ride and take in the views as you cruise the Encounter Bikeway, a 30-km shared trail that follows the coastline linking the coastal city of Victor Harbor with the river port town of Goolwa, passing through Port Elliot and Middleton. The place is perfect for cyclist, walkers, skaters, rollerbladers and is also wheelchair accessible.


8. Goolwa Barrage


Goolwa BargeGoolwa Barrage with the beautiful River Murray. Photo: TripAdvisor @Goolwa Barrage


Take a trip to the Goolwa Barrage and see the stunning River Murray in action. Enjoy watching the pelicans fishing for lunch and the seals' antics. Located near the top end of the Coorong National Park, the Goolwa Barrage is built across the water between South Australia’s mainland and Hindmarsh Island as a way of regulating the river’s flow. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll across the barrage, taking in the surrounds of the lower River Murray.


9. The Cockle Train  


The Cockle TrainCockle Train with a view of the Hindmarsh Island Bridge. Photo:


Jump aboard The Cockle Train, an authentic steam train, to travel through the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula on Australia's oldest steel railed railway. Built in 1887, the track is still in use today for enjoyment and fun. The Cockle Train lets you experience an exciting adventure while exploring the stunning views of the surrounding area.


10. The Steam Exchange Brewery


The Steam Exchange BreweryHigh-quality, handcrafted beer at The Steam Exchange. Photo:


Enjoy a quiet ale on the deck as you take in the stunning Goolwa river views at The Steam Exchange Brewery. Try their four house beers on tap and a few seasonals. Steam Exchange Brewery has won 28 Australian & International Beer Awards.


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