If you’re looking for a high powered, noisy, exciting spectator sport then make your way to the lower Murray River town of Goolwa for a dose of flat out speedboat racing in April. The Goolwa Aquatic Club is the home of power boating and spectators can watch these fast machines from a grassy river bank vantage point. If you take deckchairs or a picnic rug you can settle in with some snacks and drinks and watch the action unfold in front of you.
Speedboat racing events are held in the months leading up to the main event called AQUAFEST which will take place on the 4th and 5th of April 2020. This event has been held annually for over 60 years at Goolwa and viewing the racing boats flying around a course is easy with a loop circuit marked with buoys on the river. The boats are something pretty unreal to see, some are long and sleek with outboards, others with hydroplanes that get them up and out of the water as they pick up speed.
There are classic wooden racing boats and then there are the almost rocket like, alcohol fueled supercharged boats where the drivers, or maybe they should be called pilots, settle into the cockpits of these incredible machines that look more like jets on the water.
To see these racing machines in action before AQUAFEST, you can visit Goolwa on Saturday March 14 when a twilight event will be held starting from 2.00pm at the Goolwa Aquatic Club. There is plenty of car parking available and a big recreation park and playground area for children to burn off a bit of energy too. On the weekend of AQUAFEST the car park of the Goolwa Aquatic Club is closed to the public with teams, safety officials and marshals taking over the space but it’s not far to park and walk from the street to viewing areas.
AQUAFEST weekend goes from 9.00am to 5.00pm both days with Saturday morning being a test & tune time followed by a demo of each boat group in the afternoon. On Sunday two demonstrations of each of the boat type groups will occur, plus other special demonstrations are planned. Food and beverage outlets will be available on the day and the Aquatic Club bar and restaurant will be open.
Surprisingly the noise and wave making of the boats doesn’t seem to bother the pelicans, ducks and other birdlife on the river which happily go about their lives oblivious to the commotion.