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Oceania > Australia > South Australia > Fleurieu Peninsula > Goolwa
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Goolwa is a town on the Fleurieu Peninsula near the mouth of the Murray River (Australia's largest). The town faces both the ocean and the river.

Get in

The Southern Encounter Heritage train [1] runs from the Adelaide Hills to Goolwa and on to Victor Harbor two Sundays a month.

Premier Stateliner run a connecting coach service to Adelaide and Victor Harbor.

Get around


Explore the Murray River

Goolwa Barrage

The Murray is an integral part of life in Goolwa. The Murray/Darling River system is Australia's longest, with headwaters in the Snowy Mountains and in south-western Queensland. Goolwa is where the river system finally makes its way through its final lake system into the ocean.

Near the centre of Goolwa, you will find the wharf precinct. The tourist information, the old railway station, and the a historic interpretive walk line the river here. There is a map showing the extent of the lake system at the Murray mouth. There is also a cafe here on the water, and you can see the new Hindmarsh Island Bridge, and the old punt sitting idle underneath it.

The Murray at Goolwa and in Lake Alexandrina is fresh water. The salt water is held back by a series of 5 barrages built across the river and lakes. You can walk out half way across the Goolwa Barrages. You have to enter from the south, there is no access to the barrage (and you can't even really even see it) from Hindmarsh Island. There is a picnic area, interpretive signage, and electric barbecues at the site.

You can see the actual Murray Mouth from Hindmarsh Island in the Coorong National Park. Keeping the mouth open is an environmental activity undertaken by the constant dredging at the mouth. The exercise is undertaken to keep seawater flowing into the lower Murray, and stop the ecosystem from stagnating.


  • Houseboating from Goolwa, all the way back up the Murray.



The dining room at the Australasian hotel is open Saturdays.


  • The Steam Exchange Brewery, Goolwa Wharf Precinct, Goolwa SA 5214 (Via Porter Street or Cutting Road), +61 8 8555 3406. Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. The Steam Exchange Brewery is the home of the Encounter Bay Brewing Company. There are always four house beers on tap, plus a few seasonals. The beers range from the flagship “Steam Ale” variety, through to India Pale Ales, strong dark English Ales, and Stout. All the house beers are available in bottles from the Brewery. There is indoor & outdoor seating - providing spectacular views looking across the river


  • The Australasian Circa 1858, 1 Porter Street Goolwa SA 5214 (Adjacent Goolwa Wharf), +61 8 8555 1088. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Overlooking the river and wharf, The Australasian Circa 1858 is a small luxury hotel offering a unique and restful oasis. This award-winning private hotel also has, onsite, The Australasian Dining Room, serving Asian-infused Modern Australian dishes to house guests nightly and to the public on Saturday evenings. Tariff from $295 per room.


Go next

  • Victor Harbor is a short drive, or a cycle, or a trip on the Cockle Train.
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