If you are spending a day or a weekend with your family in Goolwa, Port Elliot, Victor Harbor or anywhere on the Fleurieu Peninsula, a visit to the Goolwa Barrage is a must! Not only does it play an important part in the water flow and management of the Coorong, Murray River and Lower Lakes there is also some stunning birdlife to see and the main attraction – seals playing in the water and lazing in the sun on the barrage structures. It’s completely FREE to take a walk and is only about a 1.5 hour drive from Adelaide.

What actually is a Barrage?

According to the SA Department of Environment and Water:

The barrage may be a great spot to visit, but it’s not just a pretty face. It’s one of five structures – known as the Goolwa Barrages – that play an important role in the health of the lower part of the River Murray.

Since the start of intensive development like taking river water to irrigate crops, and the construction of dams and other water regulating infrastructure along the River Murray, the volume of water flowing down the river across the SA border has been significantly reduced.

When there isn’t enough water coming down the river, we can use the gates in the barrage to reduce or completely stop the flow of water out to the sea.” Read more here.

There is also some signage you walk past on the way out to the Barrage to give the kids a bit of a history lesson.

However, for kids the main attraction of the Goolwa Barrage are the playful seals that dive and twirl in the water, laze in the sun and fight with each other, providing plenty of entertainment! To get to the seals, you’ll need to walk out to the middle across the jetty-like structure. It’s completely fenced and safe, but obviously keep an eye on little kids. Pass through a series of gates and you’ll see the seals, along with plenty of pelicans, seagulls and other sea-birds. Our kids LOVED seeing them, we stayed about half an hour but they would have happily stayed longer.

The Goolwa Barrage and parklands are accessible 8.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 4.30pm. There is also a picnic/ bbq area on the shore, with stunning views across to Hindmarsh Island.

Barrage Road
Goolwa SA SA 5214

Find out more at the Alexandrina Council website.

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