Fest to float your boat

FLOAT ALONG: Last year's Wooden Boat Festival brought boats of all shapes and sizes to Goolwa.
FLOAT ALONG: Last year's Wooden Boat Festival brought boats of all shapes and sizes to Goolwa.

The South Australian Wooden Boat Festival (SAWBF) is a popular biennial event held on the River Murray in Goolwa, South Australia.

This heritage-listed area is located in the Alexandrina Council district, with Goolwa an ideal base from which to explore the region and is the gateway to the spectacular Coorong National Park.

Held on April 27 and 28 next year, the 16th Wooden Boat Festival provides a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a huge display of wooden boats.

The Wooden Boat Festival has seen its fair share of challenges over the years, from drought in 2009 to a cost blow-out in 2015.

But the 2017 festival was a resounding success, and organisers have plans in place for it to be just as great in 2019.

From canoes and speedboats to the century-old paddle steamers, these souls of the River Murray breathe life into this special free event.

There is both on and off water entertainment, plus plenty of children’s activities, so there is something for everyone at the Goolwa Wharf Precinct.

The ‘Rough and Ready’ boat building competition is back in 2019 to entertain crowds of all ages.

The boat parade and the fireworks launched from the famous Hindmarsh Island Bridge are must-see spectacles.

On the Pirate Trail, families with children can have fun while discovering the rich history and culture of wooden boats and what makes them so dear to this part of Australia.

Foodies and music lovers can treat themselves with regional food and a showcase of local wines, while live bands playing on multiple stages set the atmosphere for a joyful weekend.

“It’s not only Goolwa and the wharf area that gains more exposure from the event, it really connects to the whole of the southern Fleurieu,” 2017 festival committee chair Garry Coombes said.

If it’s vintage vessels, rich history and country hospitality that floats your boat, be sure to head on down to Goolwa on April 27 and 28, 2019 for the 16th biennial South Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

The SAWBF is proudly run by the SAWBF Committee and is supported Alexandirna Council.