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12 Reasons to choose Goolwa on SA's Fleurieu Peninsula

6 Aug 2021

South Australian’s have long been aware of the charming town of Goolwa on the much-loved Fleurieu Peninsula. 

Perfect for families at just an hour's drive south of Adelaide, Goolwa is an ideal hub to explore the stunning Southern Fleurieu.  

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Horshoe Bay

Flying Fish Cafe on Horseshoe Bay is a popular spot. Credit: SATC

Aside from the kid-friendly locales of Horseshoe and Encounter Bays, and the well-known surf spots of Middleton and Port Elliot, there’s always more to explore here.

Enjoy this list of reasons to stay in Goolwa on your next trip down south...

Kayaking at Second Valley and Rapid Bay

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Second Valley

Be inspired by limestone cliffs as you paddle in turquoise waters. Credit: Elliot Grafton

A short drive from Goolwa, Second Valley is one of South Australia’s most instagrammed locations for a reason, and the perfect excuse to break out the kayak or SUP. Get amongst the caves, rock pools and grottos that make this and nearby Rapid Bay prime discovery country.

Also popular with snorkelers, scuba divers and jetty fisherman, Rapid Bay is even home to an important SA landmark - a boulder on which Colonel Light inscribed his initials when he stepped ashore in 1830! 


Whale Watch on Granite Island

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Whale Watching

The coastal scenery from here is well worth the walk. Credit: SATC

Home to penguins and the Southern Right Whale from June to October every year, Granite Island Recreation Park attracts marine life enthusiasts from all over Australia. Take the Horse Tram over the wooden causeway that connects the island to the township of Victor Harbor.

The South Australian Whale Centre is on the foreshore at Victor Harbor and is SA’s largest marine focused education centre with three floors of fascinating exhibits.


Explore Deep Creek Conservation Park

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Deep Creek

Home to large families of western greys, you can also spot migrating whales from here. Credit: Ben Goode

Deep Creek Conservation Park is on the way to Rapid Bay and Cape Jervis from Goolwa and is the largest area of remaining natural vegetation on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Fifteen different bushwalking trails branch off the famous Heysen Trail in this park, and provide spectacular views of Kangaroo Island, the rugged Deep Creek Valley and Backstairs Passage. 

Deep Creek Conservation Park is also home to Blowhole Beach, which is famous as an unspoilt spot for divers. 


Surf's Up!

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If the call of the surf strikes, Goolwa has plenty to keep you satisfied. Credit: SATC/Fleurieu Peninsula Tourism

Popular Middleton and Goolwa Beaches are well-known breaks for those getting started in the sport, while Port Eliot’s ‘Boomer Beach’ is famous for dumping waves and a strong current, so keep your wits about you!

There are several surf schools to choose from too, a great way to start your morning right.


Cycle the Encounter Bikeway

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Encounter Bikeway

The Encounter Bikeway takes you past pristine coastline and links you to Port Elliot, Middleton and Victor Harbour. Credit: SATC

Totalling 31 kilometres altogether, the difficulty level of the Encounter Bikeway is suitable for all ages and the path can easily accommodate the skaters, scooters and rollerbladers in your tribe. 

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Port Elliot Bakery There a few more iconic bakeries in South Australia than Port Elliot Bakery. Credit: @portelliotbakery

Hop on and off for a bakery or pub lunch, or why not go all the way and travel back with your bikes on the historic Cockle train - an iconic South Australian tradition. If you’d like to do this, make sure you contact the SteamRanger on 1300 655 991 and check their availability.


Play Golf on the Fleurieu

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Lady Bay LinksThere are several great courses on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Credit: SATC

Victor Harbor Golf Club is the Fleurieu's oldest 18-hole course, but still one of its best. McCracken Country Club offers resort-style accomodation around a challenging layout with plenty of variety, and Links Lady Bay in Normanville is famous for its views of the coast. South Lakes is flatter but still interesting, while Wirrina Cove (New Terry) has always been highly rated.

As usual, get in touch with these clubs beforehand in order to secure your tee-time.


Canoe the Coorong
Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Canoe the Coorong

Popular with boaties, windsurfers and jet-skiers, booking a canoe trip on Lake Alexandrina is a great family activity. Credit: SATC

At the mouth of the Murray River, which flows into Lakes Alexandrina and Albert, Coorong National Park offers something for all ages. As a wetland of national importance, visitors here enjoy the serenity, diversity of wildlife and range of activities on offer.

Explore Younghusband Peninsula, get close to the native flora and fauna and learn about the Indigenous history of the area.


Skydive over Goolwa Beach 

One for the thrill seekers, this is South Australia’s number one rated skydive. Experience the rush of free-falling from up to 15,000ft from one of SA Skydive’s two Cessna 206s. 

SA Skydive have been operating out of Goolwa airport for close to 30 years and head instructor Greg Smith has nearly 10,000 jumps and 40 years experience in the sport. 


Geek out at the Goolwa Motor Museum

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Goolwa Motor Museum is a labour of love featuring everything from muscle cars to quirky compacts. Credit: Motoring Diary

You don’t need to be a rev-head to enjoy this slice of Australian history. 

The Goolwa Motor Museum is a collection of classic cars from all over the world from the 1920s to the 1970s on the outskirts of town. There is also history of the area on display, including nearby Hindmarsh Island.


Visit a Southern Fleurieu Cellar Door

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Cellar Doors

Of course, there are dozens of wineries in nearby McLaren Vale, but for a cellar door visit you can achieve from Goolwa and not have to worry about an expensive ride home, consider any of these Southern Fleurieu locations: 

One Paddock Currency Creek Winery

Touted as one of SA’s best-kept secrets, One Paddock offers a chance to unwind in the midst of lush rolling vineyards. Taste their bespoke range of wines or make an afternoon of it by staying for lunch!

Shaw Family Vintners

This award-winning winery has over 35 years experience in winemaking and is one of the largest vineyards in the McLaren Vale and Currency Creek sub-region. A beautiful property and a large range to try.

Mt. Jagged Wines

On the Victor Harbour Road out of town, Mt. Jagged Wines sits on a sloping property with panoramic views to the Southern Ocean. Offering long lunches with high class wine, there's a lot to love at Mt. Jagged.

No. 58 Cellar Door and Gallery

Combining its love of good food and wine with art on the historic Waverley Estate, No. 58 is a chance to sample wines from one of the Southern Fleurieu’s best producers and relax while overlooking the vines. 

90 Mile Wines: Wharf Barrel Shed

Providing a friendly, relaxed atmosphere on the historic Goolwa Wharf, the emphasis here has always been about having a good time, enjoying live music with friends and tasting the regions premium products.


Find a Bargain at Goolwa Wharf Markets

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Goolwa Wharf MarketOpen every first and third Sunday, find the Goolwa Wharf Markets under the pines at the charming Goolwa Wharf precinct. Credit: Randy Balex

Featuring 2nd hand books, collectibles, arts and crafts, pre-loved fashion and artisanal food and beverage, there’s something for everyone here. A great community vibe within short walking distance to the cosy Goolwa Wharf.


Stay with us at our new Kid Paradise!

Reasons to Visit Goolwa 080621   Kid Paradise

Discovery Parks - Goolwa is a paradise for active children. Credit: John Montesi

At Discovery Parks - Goolwa we are adding a waterpark, resort-style indoor and outdoor swimming pools, an outdoor cinema and coastal nature playground designed to keep you and your family happy for days inside our park.

With access to the neighbouring skate park, BMX and pump tracks, as well as the basketball stadium, we really are developing a kid paradise!

Our Deluxe Cabin accommodation is being upgraded and more camping and caravan sites are being added with improved amenities including fire pits, barbecues and an alfresco camp kitchen.


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