Rich in hertiage and natural gems

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Goolwa is full of treasures to discover

Goolwa, a town rich in heritage and once a thriving river port of the 1800s, tells its stories today in the preserved historic buildings and relics.

Art galleries, cafes and bed and breakfasts abound, alongside the many diverse natural gems the town has to offer. With fresh and salt water, Goolwa is a mecca for the keen angler or boating enthusiast.

The town makes the ideal starting point for a day or multi-day trip into the Coorong National Park or River Murray and offers a range of activities from bike paths and beaches to waterside cafes, retail shops and galleries.

Goolwa is the heart of Storm Boy Country, and the beautiful region starred in the recent re-make of the iconic film.

Tourism and Events

Tourism is a key industry for Goolwa. Uniquely positioned in the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula, not only does Goolwa have some of South Australia's most iconic beaches, it is also the gateway to the Coorong and has the Murray Mouth right on its doorstep.

Short cruises on the paddle steamer Oscar W and day cruise options are available to experience the Murray Mouth and Coorong, departing from the Goolwa Wharf.

Goolwa really is an amazing place to enjoy the natural environment and this draws visitors not just from Adelaide, but from across Australia and all over the world with the coastal town just over an hour drive south from Adelaide CBD.

No matter what time of year, Goolwa offers ample opportunities to enjoy water based activities, rolling country side, whale watching, bush walks, award-winning wineries, world class art exhibitions and great local food.

Goolwa also plays host to a number of fantastic events, markets and festivals. The South Australian Wooden Boat Festival, which will be held next in 2021, draws in boaties and non-boaties alike to enjoy the Goolwa Wharf Precinct and Goolwa's rich boating heritage.

Visitors can also take in the whale watching and coastal views as the magnificent Southern Right Whales inhabit the waters from May to October each year.

Goolwa will also host the South Coast Jazz Festival from October 18 to 20 this year. The festival will feature bands including Hot Foot Jazz and Ready Set Jazz.

For updates or to register visit sajazzfestivalsinc.com/updates-2019.

What's on in September

Throughout September Goolwa will welcome some fantastic events for visitors and locals alike. These include:

  • Three art exhibitions in council galleries, Signal Point Gallery and South Coast Regional Art Centre
  • Two live music performances on September 7 and 21 in Centenary Hall Goolwa
  • Goolwa will host the finish of national event, Coastrek, at Amelia Park on Friday, September 20

For more information on upcoming events in the Goolwa region visit https://www.visitalexandrina.com/see-and-do/events.

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Arts and culture

Goolwa is well known and respected for its rich arts and cultural offerings with a number of galleries and creative spaces.

Throughout the year, there are world-class cultural performances throughout the year at Centenary Hall in Goolwa. The hall is an adaptable, contemporary performing arts venue ideal for events ranging from theatrical or musical performance to exhibitions and film screenings.

For the past eight years, the Alexandrina Council has also released an Arts and Culture Program of exhibitions and performances called 'Just Add Water.'

This year's program has 85 performances and exhibitions scheduled across nine townships including individual performances, concerts, workshops, school holiday activities, and visual art exhibitions and installations.

Council is developing the 2020 Just Add Water program now and will launch this on December 8, 2019.

2019 Just Add Water programs are available for collection from the Goolwa or Strathalbyn Visitor Information Centres and Alexandrina Council offices.

Heritage and history

Goolwa's historic townships are a big drawcard for the region. Goolwa is a state heritage area and has a number of buildings listed on the heritage register.

The town has a number of heritage walks on offer and remains one of only two places in the world where you can jump off a paddle steamer and onto a steam train or vice versa.

The Oscar W Paddle Steamer and Cockle Train/Steam Ranger Railway operate regular tourist experiences and the popular paddle steamer will celebrate its 111th birthday and cruising on October 6 this year.

The management and ownership of the PS Oscar W and Goolwa Riverboat Centre were undertaken by Alexandrina Council with a dedicated team of volunteers.

Economic development

Alexandrina is a $1bn economy. While most of this is from small and micro businesses, including family farms, the council also has nearly 200 tourism businesses in Alexandrina, who all rely on a healthy river system to ensure visitors experience the beauty of the region.

Tourism is a valuable part of the economy with visitors across the Basin spending $8 billion every year.

Council has a strong focus on economic development and speaking up for the health of the river is a key part of that.

Water reaching the Murray Mouth flushes salt to sea, which benefits the whole Basin, and supports the region's agriculture, fishing, wine and tourism industries.