Goolwa Things to Do

  • Middleton
    Middleton
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  • Strathalbyn - Goolwa scenery
    Strathalbyn - Goolwa scenery
    by balhannah
  • Strathalbyn - Goolwa scenery
    Strathalbyn - Goolwa scenery
    by balhannah

Most Recent Things to Do in Goolwa

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    AUSTRALASIAN HOTEL

    by balhannah Updated Aug 9, 2012
    Australasian Hotel

    The Australasian Hotel is a double story building built in 1858 out of lime. In 1934, it was sold and became a private residence, now you can stay in it.

    There is quite an unusual story that goes with this Hotel.

    In the 1800's, there were lots of deaths by drowning, etc in Goolwa, and there wasn't a Morgue in town. The Australasian Hotel was used to store the bodies in their cellar. They didn't like this, and complained that they no longer wanted this responsibility. Some of the bodies had been in the water for days, so it wasn't very pleasant as they had no refrigeration!

    Under the provisions of the Licensed Victuallers Act of 1839, innkeepers were required to store on their premises the corpse of any persons found dead, so they had no choice.
    Then the Police Station cells were used for storing the bodies, but this wasn't satisfactory either, so in the end, a small Morgue was built, and the problem was solved!

    Now, the Australasian Hotel is back in business as a Boutique Hotel where you can stay and dine in luxury.

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    PORT ELLIOT - HORSESHOE BAY

    by balhannah Written Aug 9, 2012
    Horseshoe Bay
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    Continuing onto Victor Harbour, our next town we stop at is Port Elliot.
    Located on the coastline, it has some magnificent coastal scenery to be enjoyed from its many viewing spots.
    Paths are beckoning for you to enjoy coastal walks around the headlands and protected bays.
    Picturesque Horseshoe Bay is a protected swimming beach which is very popular with families during the summer holidays. A large clean, sandy beach, where the swimming conditions are safe, makes it a hit with children and adults alike.
    If you want to sit on lawn, there is plenty of it, and picnic tables and chairs. Plenty of car parking too!

    In the distance, are a couple of islands that seem to made up with boulders. I looked through the binoculars for Seals, but couldn't find any!

    This is a delightful spot to spend some time, and if you get sick of the beach, there is everything you want and need in town.

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    MIDDLETON BEACHES & WHALES

    by balhannah Written Aug 9, 2012
    Middleton
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    Heading to Victor Harbor from Goolwa, the next town is Middleton. Middleton is a popular spot for surfers and fishermen due to its spectacular beach, and between June & September, the Southern Right Whale can often be seen.
    About 90% of the time, the whales are spotted at Basham's Beach between Middleton and Port Elliot.

    The Encounter Pathway is a shared bike path running along the foreshore, connecting through to Victor Harbor, and the stretch between Middleton and Port Elliot is its most spectacular.

    Middleton has some nice historic buildings too!

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    GOOLWA BARRAGES

    by balhannah Written Aug 9, 2012
    Goolwa Barrages
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    After seeing all I wanted in Goolwa town, it was time to hit the road and follow the signpost which pointed to the "Barrages." The drive is alongside the River, where there were quite a few water birds, and in some places, "hides."
    At the end of the road, we parked the car and had a look at the Barrage stretching across the Murray River.

    This was built to separate the freshwater from the Saltwater of the Coorong, and to maintain the freshness of the River Murray as far downstream as Wellington.. The barrages are five separate structures with connecting roadways across Ewe Island and Tauwitchere Island.
    These Barrages help sustain the productivity of the surrounding areas, which would otherwise be seriously affected by salt water after long periods of salinity in the lake.

    This man made structure is open to tourists during regular office hours. The grounds are rather pleasant and the gardens are well tended. Walk across the board walk to reach the lock where boats travel through.

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    MAIN STREET OF GOOLWA

    by balhannah Written Aug 9, 2012
    Goolwa shop
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    The main street of Goolwa has many heritage buildings, so many, that the whole of this old area was Heritage listed.
    As I walked along, I came across the old Council Chambers which incorporate the original Town Hall, these were built in 1860. On the footpath, is a ceramic mural, not the only one I saw, later a nice Pelican on a wall. The shop fronts are old and well looked after, now used as cafes, clothing shops, souvenirs, arts and crafts and much more. Some of the buildings are double story and have lovely lacework verandahs. A stall was on the footpath selling fresh fruit, but for me, an ice-cream in my hand was much better!

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    HORSE DRAWN RAILWAY CARRIAGE

    by balhannah Updated Aug 8, 2012
    Mural of Goolwa's Tram Railway
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    A Horse drawn railway used to operate between Goolwa and Port Elliot from 1854.
    On display and behind glass, is a carriage similar to the ones they used.

    The Goolwa-Port Elliot railway was the first railway in South Australia, and was only seven miles long.
    The railway was first proposed in 1849. The idea was to unload goods from Ships at Goolwa, and transport them by rail to Port Elliot, later to Victor Harbor, and shipped to the world.
    28,000 bales of wool were shipped from Goolwa the first year. During the 30 years of operation, the horse tramway carried over 600,000 passengers and some 250,000 tons of goods. Steam locomotives took over in 1885.

    Where the Horse Stables were located, is now the rooms of the local RSL Club.

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    OLD RAILWAY SUPERINTENDENT'S COTTAGE

    by balhannah Updated Aug 8, 2012
    Old Railway Superintendent's Cottage
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    This Cottage is very unusual and an "eye-catcher!"

    It was once the Stationmaster’s Cottage, and was the first building in Goolwa.

    The building of the Cottage began in July 1852. It's unusual, as it's built in the form of a ‘T’, and has a distinctive curved self-supporting corrugated iron roof covering the limestone building. When you see it, you will realize why it was sometimes called "the round house." The house consisted of 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen and lean-to, since 1902, the lean-to has been demolished and a bathroom and laundry added. There is no internal structure apart from ceiling hangers to support the lath and plaster ceilings.
    It was apparently built under the guise of "Old Government House".
    Surrounding the house, is an English Cottage garden, an underground tank with domed roof of bricks which came out from England as ship’s ballast and to complete the scene, a picket fence!

    The cottage is on the State Heritage List, and is now leased by radio station Alex FM.

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    GOOLWA PARK

    by balhannah Written Aug 8, 2012
    Goolwa Toilet mural
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    The Goolwa park is located in the centre of town, right beside the main road.

    It is a lovely area of lawn, pathways, gardens, a Rotunda, seating and the FREE public Toilets. Hopefully, you may want to go to the Toilet, if not, go for a look as they are new, and have been beautified with Murals' depicting scenes of the local area. They have been done out of pieces of ceramics, and look really good!

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    HISTORIC GOOLWA HOTEL

    by balhannah Written Aug 8, 2012
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    I love these old Hotels, and reading about what happened in them.
    Well, the Goolwa Hotel was built in 1853, and inside are pieces of the sailing Irish Ship
    "Mozambique," which was wrecked on the Younghusband Peninsula in 1874. The mast of the ship was used as a joist in the hotel’s dining room, and the ship’s staircase is being used, as are the cedar chairs that were rescued from the wreck. Look for the teeth marks of the sailors who carried them in races aboard the Ship. Also, the original figurehead is in the Hotel Dining room, and a replica adorns the front of the Hotel.

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    GOOLWA INFORMATION CENTRE

    by balhannah Updated Aug 8, 2012
    Goolwa Info centre
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    The Goolwa Visitor Information Centre is located in the Heritage listed Post & Telegraph Office. In 1858, a magnetic telegraph was connected from Adelaide to Melbourne, via Goolwa.

    Now, it is the Tourist Information centre, and is the booking agent for local tours & cruises, and where you buy your Coorong National Park Camping Permits, or the SA Cellar Door Pass & Kangaroo Island Sealink tickets.

    The centre has plenty of FREE INFORMATION, and helpful volunteers, and a good gift shop with lots of Australian made products. Toilets are free and located here.

    The Internet is available, but isn't free. Cost was $2 for 20mins

    The centre is Open: 9am – 5pm, 7 days (closed Christmas Day)

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    STATE HERITAGE BUILDINGS IN GOOLWA

    by balhannah Written Aug 8, 2012
    Old Police Station & Court-house

    Goolwa has quite a few old heritage buildings, so pick up the brochure available which lists all the major buildings in this area from the Tourist information centre.

    I will tell you about some I saw on my walk around Goolwa.

    The 1st, was the the Old Police Station and Court House which was built between 1859-74. The original Station had its own well and a Store for the Aboriginal's.
    A nice old building from the outside, and now we could go inside, as it is the home of the South Coast Regional Arts Centre.
    This centre helps promotes local artists in the region who do painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, jewellery and ceramics. The Exhibitions change monthly.

    OPEN....Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10am to 4pm
    ...........Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm

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    HINDMARSH ISLAND

    by balhannah Written Aug 8, 2012
    Hindmarsh Island bridge
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    As the Bridge to Hindmarsh Island is close to the Wharf area, we decided to go across, just to have a look back at Goolwa.
    The last time we were at Hindmarsh Island, we had to catch a ferry across. Since 2001, the bridge has opened and housing developments have progressed on the Island. I really don't think there is much to see on the Island, but fishing is quite good. The island has fresh water on one side and salt water on the other, and boats can be hired.
    Other than that, remnants of a small cheese factory, flour mill, schoolmasters residence and a school can be found on the island.
    I wouldn't make a special trip here!

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    HISTORIC WHARF AREA OF GOOLWA

    by balhannah Written Aug 8, 2012
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    The Wharf area of Goolwa has really been made into a nice tourist attraction. I was quite impressed with what I saw.
    Not only are there what I have mentioned in previous tips, but you will also find the Steam Exchange Brewery, home of the Encounter Bay Brewery company. Loved the sundeck out the front, just the place to enjoy and Ale or too!
    If you look carefully, you will notice these buildings have been made to lool like a ship, and if you wander around the area, there are other bits and pieces on display, like the old Barge which had a steam powered pile driver.
    There is plenty of interpretive signage around, so no worries finding out about what you are viewing.

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    THE OLD RAILWAY STATION & SHEDS

    by balhannah Written Aug 8, 2012
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    The station was built in 1853, on the wharves as it was needed to serve the Paddlesteamers that brought goods down the River Murray.

    The old Railway Station is now used by the Steam-Ranger's Goolwa.
    Years ago, in the busy Summers, rail motors were used to operate the “Cockle Train” local service between Goolwa and Victor Harbor. Now, you too can enjoy a ride on the Cockle train which takes you around Encounter Bay to Victor Harbor. There are good views of the seaside along the way and Victor Harbor has plenty to see.
    The area around the Station has been restored beautifully, still retaining its 1900s character and is used as the SteamRanger's ticket office, refreshment shop and Stationmaster’s office. The adjacent cream shed has been converted to a platform shelter.
    The Goods shed is still there, used by SteamRanger’s maintenance team, and you can see the artwork Cows waiting in the yards to be transported.

    More information on the "Cockle Train journey" on website listed below.

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    RIVERBOAT TRAIL

    by balhannah Written Aug 8, 2012

    In the 19th & 20th centuries, the River Murray was a major inland water highway where dozens of paddle steamers and their barges carried produce from stations and farms to transit points downriver.
    They were known as "floating shops,' the only way the early settlers could receive mail, supplies and passengers could go from one town to another, etc.
    Ports, shipbuilding facilities, Warehouses and more were established.

    Here at Goolwa, I found the 'River Boat Trail,' which is a series of 18 interpretive panels along the South Australian section of the River Murray. Each panel has a map and information about what happened along the River Murray.

    It is quite an interesting trail to follow, even though I couldn't complete it.
    It was a chance for me to learn of shipwrecks along the river and to read about stories of the people, their settlements and vessels that made the Murray a major inland highway from the 1850s to the 20th century.

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