The Unchartered Southern Coast

Discover how religion, politics, business & extraordinary maritime explorations resulted in the south-east coast of New Holland being the final piece of the international puzzle to chart the entire world map, and how the complex story of oceans, rivers, MORE politics, business & extraordinary explorers created Australia and the province of South Australia.

The SA Maritime History Cruise

Discover the fascinating story of how oceans and rivers shaped our landscape and influenced major early settlement decisions, especially the controversial location for the capital. Discover the extraordinary history of the Port of Goolwa, the birthplace of Australia’s river-boat trade, a major industrial & transport hub and a key player in the international wool trade that was so influential to Australia’s early growth.

Learn the key moments in SA history that shaped the town, the South Coast and the paddle-steamer river-trade, a remarkable yet poignant story that even today describes the complex challenges of doing business across Australia.

For more information, call Goolwa Boating Cruises on 0402 826 960

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South Australia

Australia’s coastline is not the most southern, nor are we even the most southern state of Australia.  We can however claim the title of ‘the driest state on the driest continent’.

Apart from Antarctica, Australia is the driest continent in the world. About 35 per cent of the continent receives so little rain it is effectively desert. In total 70% of the mainland receives less than 500 millimetres of rain annually, which classes it as arid, or semi-arid.  

The Murray-Darling basin, home to the 4th longest river network in the world, covers just 14% of Australia yet grows 30% of our national food supply. Finally reaching the ocean in a unique coastal environment just past Goolwa, this precious resource was always destined to be mis-managed and the subject of great competition between the states.

My Country (1904)

My Country

Second stanza

I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rain.

I love her far horizons, I love her jewel sea, Her beauty and her terror – The wide brown land for me!

Fourth stanza

Core of my heart my country! Her pitiless blue sky. When sick at heart, around us, we see the cattle die –

But then the grey clouds gather, and we can bless again. The drumming of an army, the steady soaking rain.

Dorothea Mackellar

Written over 100 years ago by a homesick 19 year old, ‘My Country’ poetically describes the influence of water on the discovery and settlement of South Australia.  It reminds us that despite great technological advances & capital building works Mother Nature, & especially water, will always play a major role in shaping our history.

Discover why three of the greatest industrial-revolution inventions, all based on water,  had such a major influence in shaping Goolwa, the South Coast and our State.

Port of Goolwa

The final destination of 6,500kms of rivers, cruise through safe, shallow and protected inland waters that have been a transport & trading route since the Ngarrindjeri, the first Australians here.

This unique natural water resource was the catalyst for a unique colonisation plan that led to King William IV issuing Letters Patent establishing the British province of South Australia in 1836.

Take a deep breath

Sit back, relax & discover the maritime story of South Australia from the comfort of a scenic two-hour cruise.

Just over an hour’s drive from Adelaide, there are many easy-driving roads providing spectacular views of the Fleurieu Peninsula and the Adelaide Hills.

Cruise departure times are also matched with The Cockle Train schedule to and from Victor Harbor.


10% discount applies

A 10% discount off the standard passenger price of $60 applies for any full (4 person) SA Maritime History Cruise booking.


Boats & Marinas
Structures & Wildlife

What are you waiting for?

Two-hour lunchtime cruises depart at 12:30pm on Fri, Sat and Sun
from the historic Goolwa Wharf - book online or by mobile

* other days & times available by appointment - conditions apply *