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 managing water across Australia.

These charters are limited to a MAXIMUM of just 4 passengers, providing you with the personalised experience of this unique part of Australian history. 


A two hour Experience

Operations currently suspended due to the impact of Covid-19.  Full details below.

Departing the Goolwa Wharf we cruise to the Barrage, discovering the ancient geological history that created this unique river system, the Lower Lakes and the Coorong.

We then cruise through the Coorong Quays, the largest freshwater marina in the southern hemisphere, discovering the timeline of European events that ultimately created South Australia.

Cruising under the Hindmarsh Island (Kumarangk) bridge we learn the sombre story of the Ngarrindjeri nation then head back along the shoreline discovering the story of paddle-steamers and the river-trade, discovering four shipwrecks along the way.

Charter cost is $240.

The vessel can carry a maximum of FOUR passengers. Please note that for commercial craft (different rules to personal boats) any child over 12 months old is counted as a passenger.

The impact of Covid-19

Cruise interest evaporated like a billabong and an Australian summer.  Research clearly shows that the SA Maritime History Cruise only of value to interstate or international visitors, so without this support using a tour boat to promote the Port of Goolwa is unfortunately not economically viable.

A decision on the future of the SA Maritime History Cruise will be made during 2021.

Cruise Dates & Booking

You can choose a cruising date to suit your visiting schedule and we normally require a booking to be made at least a week in advance.

We are flexible regarding dates & times to suit the weather forecasts, we do not operatre if the wind is forecast to exceed 20 knots.

What to bring

It is always cooler on the water, and we are an open boat so we always recommend warm, waterproof & windproof clothing, you can always remove excess layers.  You are also welcome to bring food & beverages, plastic glasses please.

Pets welcome

Yes, you can bring your pet. There is no additional charge however in the event of an un-contained accident we will charge a cleaning fee of $120.

Port of Goolwa

The final destination of 6,500kms of rivers, cruise through safe, shallow and protected 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.

Unlocking the doorway to the ocean allowed paddle-steamers to create a bustling and vibrant river-trade, for many years Goolwa was a major industrial & trading port and aptly described as Australia’s New Orleans.

The mighty Murray River

The backbone of Australia’s agricultural production, approximately 50% of our farms are located within the Murray-Darling basin.  Learn how the enormous economic value of water dramatically affects this ephemeral river system.

The head waters were originally discovered by Hamilton Hume (& Hovell) and named ‘The Hume’ after his father.

Unable to accompany his great friend Charles Sturt when further exploring the rivers in 1829 (harvest), the lower section of the river was thus named after George Murray and since the mid 1970’s has been the official name for our most important inland river.

So British politician instead of  Australian explorer, a very common story of exploration!

An ancient river system dating back to the ice ages, learn the hidden mysteries of her geological past, including lakes as large as Tasmania and gorges large enough to swallow America’s Grand Canyon.



Boats & Marinas

Structures & Wildlife