Goolwa South Australia, a historic port at the mouth of the Murray River, is now an upmarket holiday resort for Adelaide people. It is only an hour’s drive from Adelaide’s CBD.
The town was declared a State Heritage Area in 1987 and consequently, it has a large number of very well preserved buildings which offer a unique insight into the working of one of Australia’s most significant inland ports.
Goolwa is a genuinely important location which offers visitors a series of experiences ranging from the development of the port near the mouth of the Murray; an insight into the importance of the Murray River as a transport route prior to the construction of railway lines; the unique and stable culture of the Ngarrindjeri people; and the attempts to turn this historic port into a chic holiday and weekend destination by developers with little consideration for the local Aborigines and their traditions.
Explore towering sand dunes, meander down quiet waterways and roam along snow-white sandy beaches. With front row seats to epic sunsets over the Coorong, an important Aboriginal culture of the Ngarrindjeri people, and abundant wildlife, Goolwa is a popular holiday destination. Every odd-numbered year Goolwa hosts The Wooden Boat Festival celebrating the town’s historic wharf, maritime history and its modern beach-side lifestyle.
“Cittaslow is a movement that started in Italy in 1999 and literally translates to ‘slow city’. It’s about communities taking the time to consider their environment, heritage and food producers, as well as slowing down, living well and improving quality of life.
In 2007, Goolwa became the first Cittaslow town outside Europe and over the past 12 months it’s really become part of the community. There are only about 7000 people in Goolwa but more than 160 individuals, families and businesses are Cittaslow member.
Valuing the town’s history is a big part of Cittaslow and Goolwa has a lot of history. It’s where the Murray River meets the sea so paddle-steamers would unload their cargo at Goolwa Wharf and a horse-drawn train would transfer it to ocean jetties at Port Elliot and Victor Harbor. Today, Goolwa Wharf is one of only two places in the world where you can board a steam train and a steam-powered paddleboat.”