Set sail for fun at the South Australian Wooden Boat Festival

The South Australian Wooden Boat Festival is sailing into Goolwa on 29-30 April as it gears up to be the best one yet, and it all starts with a change of scenery. Whether you’re a boat enthusiast or simply looking for a fun and festive weekend, this free two-day event has something for everyone.

For the first time ever, the biennial festival will be hosted by Coorong Quays at the picturesque Alexandrina Cove on Hindmarsh Island. There will be even more activities to explore both on and off the water, and this change in location allows for a fresh take on the festival, offering stunning new views and opportunities to make unforgettable memories.

The on-water boating program will provide some nautical fun with parades and racing events all weekend. If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, fear not, because the festival has you covered with a marketplace featuring unique and handcrafted items, as well as workshops and demonstrations on boat building and restoration.

From canoes and rowing skiffs to putt-putts, yachts and traditional wooden boats of all shapes and sizes, this nationally renowned and multi-award winning festival, truly showcases the rich maritime history and boat building skills of South Australia.

There’s something about the craftsmanship and beauty of a wooden boat that just can’t be beaten, and you can hear the stories straight from the owners, builders and craftsmen.

But the festival isn't just about boats…

From the moment you arrive in Goolwa, you’ll be captivated by the bustling cafés, friendly locals, and vibrant atmosphere that help make this festival so special. And with so many amazing activities and attractions to explore, you’ll never run out of things to do. Even the kids will be kept entertained at the Little Pirate’s Tent.

If you’re a food and wine lover, you’re in for a real treat. Local wineries, nature tours, live music and performers are all getting in on the action with special events and limited-time menu items as part of the festival’s Food, Wine and Experience Program, which runs throughout the entire month of April. You’ll have good reason to spend more time exploring the area and discovering the local flavours, sights and culture.

Fuel up and keep the good times rolling

Less than 40-minutes away in the Langhorne Creek Wine Region, you can:

  • Indulge in smoked Coorong mullet and pickled pineapple pizza at Bremerton Wines.
  • Take your time and relax over a long lunch and tastings at Lake Breeze.
  • Sip on some delicious wines while admiring the beautiful “Seas the Day” artwork on display at Windsong Wines.
  • Taste The Winehouse’s boutique wine labels or craft beer before enjoying exclusive sea-inspired dishes from the seasonal a la carte menu.
  • Join Angas Plains Wines for live music and a three-course Mediterranean-inspired gourmet lunch before joining in on the traditional method of grape stomping. Fun for kids and adults alike!
  • Enjoy a kids’ culinary flight with an activity pack and boat-building craft activity, while adults enjoy wine flights and platters amidst a beautiful outdoor setting at Kimbolton Wines.

If you’re looking for adventure, why not take a cruise down the Murray Mouth and Coorong with the Spirit of the Coorong? This fantastic tour takes you on a 90-minute journey downstream from Goolwa through the Barrages, following the last kilometres of the Murray River to the Murray Mouth, where you can admire the stunning scenery and birdlife while enjoying expert commentary along the way.

For art lovers, the Festival Art Trail on 29-30 March is not to be missed. This incredible event showcases some of the best contemporary and traditional art from South Australia, giving you the chance to discover new artists and purchase stunning artworks on the spot.

Anchor yourself here for a few days

If you’re planning to attend the South Australian Wooden Boat Festival, why not make a week or weekend out of it and explore more of the beautiful area? Luckily, there are plenty of accommodation options nearby to suit any budget or preference.

From the family favourite Discovery Parks Goolwa with its modern amenities, splash park, new swimming pool, outdoor cinema, and nature playground; to the luxurious River’s End Retreat with a boutique riverside experience – there are great accommodation options for everyone. For those looking for something unique, the PS Federal Retreat offers a two-bedroom stationary stay on an old paddle steamer.

Other caravan park options include, the relaxed and peaceful Hindmarsh Island Caravan Park, and the picturesque Clayton Bay Riverside Holiday Park nestled on the shores of Lake Alexandrina.

So, what are you waiting for?

Mark your calendars for 29-30 April because the South Australian Wooden Boat Festival is calling you.

The festival truly has it all – whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a landlubber looking for new experiences, you’re sure to find something to delight and inspire you. And given it only comes every two years, you won’t want to miss it!