Your top reasons to caravan in gorgeous Goolwa

Goolwa, the charming town located at the mouth of the Murray River, offers a blend of maritime history, cosy cafes, and waterfront walking and cycling trails for anyone seeking a relaxing and unforgettable experience.

The revitalised Goolwa Wharf Precinct is a must-visit, offering a lively atmosphere with Oscar W Paddlesteamer rides, the Cockle Train, restaurants, wine bar and distillery. There’s also the weekly Sunday Goolwa Wharf Markets, where local artisans and producers showcase their goods. From here, you can also explore the local galleries around town, all within walking distance from the wharf.

Another great feature of Goolwa, is the multi award-winning Spirit of the Coorong cruises. This team will meet you at the wharf, and take you on half or full-day tours around the magnificent Coorong environment, and to special areas only accessibly by boat. The experienced guides will talk you through the environmental significance of the area, and take you for walks around the sandhills and other iconic features of the Murray Mouth too. It’s an experience like no other!

Dive into Goolwa's maritime heritage

The new revitalised Signal Point Experience Centre, perched atop the historic Signal Point Hill, provides a captivating glimpse into our region’s rich maritime past. Here, you can explore the Yuntulin Ku:li-War interactive exhibition, learn about the Ngarrindjeri culture and enjoy the panoramic views of the Hindmarsh Island Bridge.

In 2025, Goolwa will host the SA Wooden Boat Festival (26-27 April) at the historic Goolwa Wharf. This event is a celebration of Australia’s rich maritime history, where boat builders and their wooden vessels of all shapes and sizes come together. The best part – is that this is a public event, and the local community and event organisers want everyone to be part of this unique maritime experience.

When it comes to dining, Goolwa has plenty of options. You can sneak down to Bombora on the River along the barrage walk or Kuti Shack for panoramic coastline views and the freshest local seafood. In town, Hay Street Bar & Kitchen and Mother Duck offer local produce and great service. Or for brunch or lunch with river and bridge views, head to Hector’s Modern Kitchen for a glass of regional wine, great coffee and delicious cakes.

Explore the Mid Murray's maritime wonders

Extend your stay along the Murray River to uncover the region’s maritime heritage. In Mannum, make time to visit the Mannum Dock Discovery Centre, where you can delve into the history of the Murray River trade and explore the restored PS Marion, a historic paddle steamer.

Nearby, the PW Mayflower, a replica of an 1850s river barge, offers a glimpse into the lives of early settlers.

For a truly immersive experience, board the Murray Princess, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest inland paddlewheeler, and cruise along the iconic Murray River, retracing the routes of the early traders and explorers.

Where to stay

Explore some of our top picks for camping locations, including Greenways Landing, Saunders Gorge near Palmer, Caurnamont Reserve across from Purnong, Purnong Reserve near Mannum, Hettner Landing at Walker Flat, Big Bend near Swan Reach, Tenbury Hunter Reserve at Swan Reach, the Palmer Oval, and Bolto Reserves at Mannum, and Swamp Hen Reserve at Walker Flat.

Detailed information about these campsites is available here.

Most of these campsites are situated within the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve, so bring a pair of binoculars to stargaze our sparkling skies.

The BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks – Mannum also offers riverfront powered campsites for your camper!

If you’d like to park the camper for a few nights and indulge in a river shack – the Aruma River Resort awaits, boasting amenities including a tennis court, swimming pool, boat ramp, and playground.

River Shack Rentals also offer holiday homes ranging from basic shacks to luxurious homes, ensuring the perfect base for your river escape.

Otherwise, there’s a range of stunning houseboats available for hire from Unforgettable Houseboats and Houseboat Hirers Association. Don your captain’s hat and chart your course to see as much of the river as possible.

With its rich maritime heritage, revitalised waterfront precincts, and proximity to the Murray River’s iconic attractions, Goolwa promises retirees – or others seeking a slower-paced waterfront holiday – an unforgettable journey through South Australia’s captivating Murray River history and natural wonders.