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Distance & Driving times from Goolwa to

Victor Harbor
17km 23 mins

Cape Jervis
80km 1:10 hours

7km 10 minutes

90km 1:20 hours

Closest Town:
Adelaide 91km

Closest Airport:

Banking Facilities / ATM:

Activities: golf, wine tasting, swimming, sailing, scuba diving, fishing, surfing, wind surfing, whale watching, bush walking, bird watching, cycling , tennis




Goolwa Tourism Information

 Goolwa Port Elliot

Goolwa is an attractive sea side town located at the mouth of the Murray River on Lake Alexandrina. Once a thriving river port Goolwa is the ideal fishermen's vacation resort with both fresh and salt water. For boating enthusiasts Goolwa is a starting point for a day or multi-day trip into the Coorong National Par or the Lake Alexandrina area. For water sports enthusiasts as well, Goolwa has it all.

The town has been restored to its old world charm with many of the local buildings painted in heritage colours. Old hotels such as the Corio Hotel have been beautifully restored and other historic buildings are now homes to art galleries, cafes and bed and breakfast accommodation.

Goolwa township was surveyed around 1840 and then again in 1853. The same year a road was constructed between Goolwa and Port Elliot. By 1860 a road was built to Adelaide over the hills. The port of Goolwa was officially proclaimed in 1857 and was Australia's first inland port. It quickly grew serviced the vast inland of western New South Wales and Queensland. At its peak in the 1880s about 25,000 wool bales passed through Goolwa port. In the 1890's Goolwa's importance as a port died due to the railway. and the silting up of the Murray River Mouth which meant the port was no longer accessible to larger ships.

Places to see

Cockle Train
The Cockle Train has been operation since 1887. The name is derived from the broad sandy beaches famous for large cockles that the train passes on its journey. The section of train track between Goolwa and Port Elliot was the first steel railway built in Australia. Today the horse drawn carriage can still be viewed in the main street of Goolwa.

Coorong National Park
The Coorong National Park is one of the best South Australian eco destinations. The coorong presents visitors with an abundance of wildlife. Known especially for its bird life the Coorong National Park is located at the mouth of the Murray River.

Goolwa Barrage
The Goolwa Barrage was built to separate the freshwater of the Murray River from the Saltwater of the Southern Ocean. The seawater is prevented from entering Lake Alexandrina, Lake Albert and the Murray River by the barrage which measures 632m in length. Small boats can still enter via a lock. There is also a bird hide on the way to the barrage offering visitors the perfect opportunity to watch the native bird life.

Goolwa Beach
Goolwa Beach is the ideal place for swimming and other water sports. At Goolwa beach you can even dig for cockles when in season.

Hindmarsh Island
Hindmarsh Island has recently been famous for on going battles between developers and the local Ngarrindjeri Aborigines due to the building of a bridge from Goolwa to the island and the possible damage to sacred sites. There is a ferry that crosses to Hindmarsh Island and it is a delightful way to get to the island for a visit.

National Trust Museum
The National Trust Museum is located in an old Blacksmiths shop which was built around 1872. The museum has a wonderful collection and offers visitors an insight into the history of Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island.

Signal Point Centre
Signal Point is a modern building located at the Wharf near the ferry across to Hindmarsh Island. The Centre was completed in 1988 and opened by Prince Charles. It is devoted to the mighty Murray River.


The area has a Mediterranean style climate with an annual rainfall of approximately 500mm or 20 inches. The majority of rain is received from May to September.

Average winter temperatures 10-18 degrees celsius
Average summer temperatures 24-35 degrees celsius

Getting there

Goolwa is easily accessed by:

  • Car
    Port Goolwa is an easy drive about 90 kms taking approximately 1 hour 20 minutes from Adelaide CBD


Seaside accommodation in Goolwa ranges from heritage bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels and self contained beach holiday homes.

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