The Cockle Dance

Post Number: 101

We had never been cockling before.  All we knew was that there is a good chance you’ll find some on Goolwa Beach and that they need to be 3.5cm long.  We got to the beach and there were 4WDs brooming along the compacted sand.  We wandered around for a bit, found a patch of sand and started kicking about to make a hole.  No cockles…


We admitted that we didn’t know what we were doing so Juz looked it up on her phone and the only hint given was that you need to dig between the water and high tide line.  So, we went to the line between the wet sand and dry sand and started digging… No cockles.


We were about to give up until a policeman patrolling the beach came by and Dave flagged him down.  Juz stayed on her hands and knees next to her sandhole and watched as the policeman started to laugh… heartily.  He got out of his truck and was very friendly as he instructed us to find ‘gutters’ along the beach, walk into the water up to the knee and start the Cockle Dance.


The Cockle Dance is very simple.  Come on baby – just do the twist. Ooh yeah – just like this.  Dig your feet into the sand and as the water ebbs and flows, the sand that you ‘dance’ out is washed away and you sink into the beach. Keep dancing until you feel the cockles.  Once you’ve struck gold, shoot your hand into the water and fish it out.



Cockles need to be 3.5cm big and you are limited to picking only 300 cockles… each.  Aim for ones that are purple or white – the younger they are, the greener they are.  You can use them as bait to catch the big one, or they’re great fried up with a bit of butter, chilli, lemon and garlic.  Check out this post on cooking with Goolwa Cockles from The Hungry Australian.


DSC 2546 Cockling at Goolwa Beach + 4 Cockle Recipes


4 thoughts on The Cockle Dance

  1. feri on said:

    ha ha ha .. they are not cockles, they are pipies! 🙂 I use them for fish baite..:)
    But if you want to eat them, you have to put them into fresh water for a day or so .. till they spit out all the sand from their bodies.. Than, just as you said, butter, garlic, chilli, a bit of white vine and parsley.. All in a few minutes…


    • juz on said:

      they are both cockles and pipis… pipis in Eastern Australia and cockles in South Australia

  2. Gab on said:

    yummm! Glad you guys are having a fabulous and interesting time!

  3. matt on said:

    In south Australia, these are definitely cockles

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