Things To Do In Goolwa, SA: A Guide To The Fleurieu Peninsulas' Historic River Port
Come for the views, stay for the food and slower way of life; the array of things to do in Goolwa, SA are worth venturing out for.
Next time you find yourself on the Fleurieu Peninsula, be sure to check out the charming yet sometimes-overlooked coastal town of Goolwa. Located just 20 minutes from Victor Harbor or one hour from Adelaide, this charming locale moves at a slower pace than most. In 2007, Goolwa became the first Australian town to gain Cittaslow accreditation for promoting a slow, community-minded way of life.
There are so many reasons to embrace the leisurely pace and escape for a weekend of great food, locally brewed drinks and history aplenty, so use our trusty guide and make the most of things to do in Goolwa South Australia
Goolwa South Australia: Eat & Drink
Hays St Bar & Kitchen
Hays St Bar & Kitchen is all about community, great wine, and European cuisine. Opened in October 2023, visitors from far and wide are already impressed by the modern space adorned with exposed brick and warm finishes, and the delicious food on offer. The team are passionate about displaying the best seasonal, local produce, with a menu of dishes that evolve with the changing seasons. Current standouts we are keen to try: Goolwa pippies with leeks and dill cream served with crusty bread, and a mouthwatering slow-cooked lamb shoulder paired with mint and white bean skordalia. Yum.
7 Hays Street, Goolwa
You can’t visit Goolwa South Australia without stopping for a delicious meal at Motherduck (we don’t make the rules…) Located in a 105-year-old stone building in the middle of the town’s main street, this family-owned and run cafe serves up deliciously moreish meals made from locally-sourced, seasonal produce for breakfast through to lunch, Tuesday through to Sunday.
1/13 Cadell Street, Goolwa
When we say Kuti Shack is situated right on Goolwa Beach, we really mean it. If you were any closer, you’d be dining on the sand. At this delightfully modern beach shack, kutis (also known as pipis) are the item of the day. These small, edible saltwater clams are local to the area and are straight-up mouth-watering if you know how to prepare them. At Kuti Shack, the team create new and innovative pipi dishes paired with local indigenous ingredients.
Main Beach Carpark, Beach Road, Goolwa Beach
The Fleurieu Distillery
Located in the middle of the historic Goolwa Wharf Precinct, The Fleurieu Distillery and Steam Exchange Brewery produce award-winning single malt whisky and gin, as well as four distinctive, easy-to-drink preservative-free beers. Stop by to try the distillery’s finest while enjoying the unrivalled water views for a relaxed afternoon in Goolwa.
1 Cutting Road, Goolwa
Goolwa South Australia: See & Do
Goolwa Wharf Rotary Markets
If you happen to plan your visit for the 1st or 3rd Sunday of the month - you're in luck! Organised by the Rotary Club of Encounter Bay, make your way through over 80 stalls at the Goolwa Wharf Rotary Markets and find yourself a bargain. The markets support local businesses, artists, and charitable initiatives, with a diverse range of offerings from bric-a-brac and collectibles to fresh organic produce. Whether you fancy handmade crafts, books, or a relaxing massage, these markets provide a great day out with both local delights and charitable contributions.
1st and 3rd Sunday of each month, from 9am - 3pm
Goolwa Wharf, Cutting Road, Goolwa
Twilight Cruise on PS Oscar W
Enjoy the lower Murray River by twilight aboard the PS Oscar W, an authentic wood-fired paddle steamer based at the historic Goolwa Wharf. Cruises onboard the PS Oscar W are available on selected dates each month. It's a great way to catch up with friends or to include as part of a family holiday. Bring along some nibbles too; wine can be purchased from The Wharf Barrel Shed, with disposable wine glasses provided on board. It's a must-do experience and one of our favourite things to do in Goolwa.
Twilight Cruise, 5pm - 7pm
For selected dates, find out more here
The Cockle Train
Hop aboard The Cockle Train and enjoy the stunning water views of the Fleurieu Peninsula as you chug along the oceanfront. Dating back to 1954, The Cockle Train travels along Australia’s oldest steel-railed railway line. Jump on the train at Goolwa and take a journey through Middleton and Port Elliot before arriving in Victor Harbor. The trip takes 30 minutes each way with tickets available on the day of travel. Bookings are not required.
Goolwa Railway Station Dunbar Road, Goolwa South Australia
Goolwa South Australia: Stay
Beach Huts Middleton
You can't go past the charming village vibes at Beach Huts Middleton for a stress-free coastal escape. Unwind on your private deck with the soothing sounds of birds and waves, and enjoy the sanctuary of your private hut - each named after iconic coastal towns around Australia and complete with many creature comforts. When hunger strikes, head to the award-winning Blues restaurant for a bite, and those with some energy to burn can have a hit of tennis or stroll to Middleton surf beach. An easy 6-minute drive from Goolwa, a stay here guarantees a brilliant weekend away, with close proximity to local attractions and warm hospitality to welcome you.
1 Charles Street, Middleton
Take a quick turn off Goolwa's main drag and you’ll find Mill Estate. This boutique accommodation is warm and oh-so cosy, making you feel right at home from the moment you check in. There are two cottages to choose from: the three-bedroom Mill Cottage or one-bed Abode. Both are a (literal) stone’s throw from town and the perfect place to unwind after a long week of work.
14 Crocker Street, Goolwa
Found yourself in the centre of Goolwa and wanting to stay a little longer? Take Port Elliot Road for a few minutes and you’ll soon stumble upon Pago. Featuring four meticulously renovated rooms, this luxurious accommodation has been created within the old Middleton stables. Nestled on the grounds, you’ll also find a large swimming pool, spa and sauna. Pago is a great base if you’re looking to explore the area and tick off your list of things to do in Goolwa; that said, it also provides ample privacy if you’d prefer to rest and retreat.
29 Mill Terrace, Middleton
Loved our list of things to do in Goolwa? We’re passionate about sharing the best that South Australia has to offer. Whether you’re planning your next Adelaide staycation or romantic retreat, there’s an abundance of scene-stealing scenery, world-class restaurants, stunning beaches and unique accommodation right on our doorstep.