Need to know
Distance – 10.1km
Camping – Yes, at Murray River mouth.
Permits – None needed.
Speed Limit – 20km to 40km
Fishing – Popular along beach and at river mouth.
Surfing – Below average to good.
Boat Launch – Possible at Murray mouth, on Coorong side.
Beach Difficulty – Easy to medium.
Access: Beach Road, Goolwa.
Goolwa beach joins Middleton Beach, and from the mouth of the Murray River back to Middleton rocks is over 16km long. The eastern 10km from Beach Road, Goolwa, along the Sir Richard Peninsula, is accessible by 4WD vehicles, which can travel all the way to the mouth of the Murray river. Access is best closer to low tide, but possible most of the time, except during king tides or high seas, when the entire beach can be inundated. The access track can often be rutted after heavy use.
The beach generally consists of hard packed sand below the high-tide mark, getting softer higher on the beach. Seven kilometres along, a high-tide diversion track leads into the dunes, which can be softer and more difficult as it is churned by wheel-spin from vehicles climbing the low dune. Past this point, the sand remains mostly firm, although can be soft and unpredictable around the sand-spit at the river mouth.Camping
There is a free campsite behind the dunes at the end of the peninsula. Campers must be completely self sufficient as there are no facilities, although there is mobile reception. Access is only possible along the beach, so a 4WD is essential.
Beach fishing is popular along Goolwa Beach and at the mouth of the river, with many relying on local cockles (pipis) or beach worms as bait. The area is home to Australia’s largest cockle fishery, so many come just for the shellfish. Expect to catch salmon, mulloway and other popular beach species.
A wide, gently sloping beach, Goolwa’s surfing options are limited. The main break is often over 300m from shore, breaking on the second or third sand bar, and due to sediment from the Murray river, the water is often brown and murky. Winds are predominantly on-shore. The most popular local spot is at Middleton Point, Middleton, although you’ll have to trek back onto the bitumen to get there.