SA Wooden Boat Festival 2023

This biennial event is over for another year but by the looks of its popularity this year, it will be back bigger and better in future.

Usually the event is held at the Goolwa Wharf precinct but with renovations underway, it was moved to Hindmarsh Island and the Coorong Quays area. 

This proved to be an excellent venue with plenty of water and boardwalk space for visitors to stroll along and look at these fine wooden crafts over the two days of the event on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th of April.

There were well over 150 boats moored on display and after wandering to look at them all, there was a seating area in the hub of the festival, where you could listen to live music while enjoying great food, coffee, beers and wines all by local producers. Local artists also had work on display including the well-known Ngarrindjeri artist Cedric Varco, who also performed a smoking ceremony to welcome visitors to country.

Other events occurred in Goolwa including a couple of movie sessions showing the iconic Storm Boy movie, the original and remake of which were filmed in the Goolwa and Coorong region.

One of the wooden boats on display was HideAway, which was the original boat used in the 1976 Storm Boy movie. This 5.6 metre long boat was built between 1930 and 1940 and after being found in disrepair around 15 years ago, it was rediscovered and restored by a group of wooden boat enthusiasts in Goolwa.

Art galleries in Goolwa also held boat themed exhibitions and all of the cafes, hotels and food venues were buzzing with custom.

One of the town parks also housed a car display by the Ford 8 & 10 sidevalve club. These classic cars were all built between 1932 and 1962 and club members had come from far and wide including Western Australia, Cairns and Victoria. On display were Anglias, Prefects, Escorts and more, all in perfect restored order.

Other events on and around the river over the two days of the Wooden Boat Festival included a sailing race of traditional vintage yachts, more live music at the popular Murray Delta Juke Joint, a radio controlled yacht regatta, vintage tiger moth flyovers and a finale on the Sunday of the wooden boats in a Grand Parade along the river.

It was a wonderful spectacle and the weather was at its autumn perfect best.

The festival will return to the Goolwa Wharf in 2025, and with the popularity of the event this year, it could quite possibly be spread over the two locations.

Just another reason to put the Fleurieu Peninsula and Goolwa, on your itinerary for 2025 or before.



2 thoughts on “SA Wooden Boat Festival 2023

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s