Adelaide, a place for all the body’s senses. The city of festivals. Where art, food and cultural events come together. The festivities run over several weeks and attract long-distance visitors. And it is not difficult to understand where the inspiration comes from. The region has several powerful assets. The rolling mountains with their world-famous vineyards and sun-drenched sandy beaches westwards, all just waiting to be explored.
Perhaps it is the climate that brings out the artistic vein of the population, with a never-fading sunshine resulting in a golden tan. Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate with dry and hot summers. The average temperature is about 30 degrees Celsius but can rise above 40 degrees Celsius during the occasional heat waves. The city is flat and ideal for walking and cycling tours. It is said that Adelaide has the most restaurants per capita in the country, so you don’t have to go hungry for very long. At Gouger Street, Peel Street and Leigh Street and the North Adelaide area, it is full of exciting eateries to try. As the sun starts to descend towards the horizon, a wave of inhabitants moves towards one of the city’s many rooftop terraces to enjoy the last bit of sunlight.
Adelaide is the largest city in South Australia with just over one million inhabitants. The city has been carefully planned and designed by Colonel William Light. He had a vision that a park never should be far away. Vegetation would contribute to cleaner air, something that was rare in the Europe of the past. And thus, Adelaide was born. Although the land is the driest of the country and the region is struggling with occasional extreme temperatures, parks are kept green thanks to efficient irrigation systems. The Torrent River meanders through the city, dividing the districts of the north and south. Adelaide is built in a grid pattern with open squares and wide avenues. The atmosphere is relaxed and lovely. There are many attractions and plenty to experience in Adelaide. For those who are interested in history, there are museums, art galleries and historic buildings. Join in on a day trip at the indoor-market Adelaide Central Market or at the chocolate manufacturer Haigh’s. You can do day trips to the hilly landscape of Adelaide Hills and one of the vineyards surrounding Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Just as popular are the sandy beaches of the west, where the resorts are characterized by a great holiday spirit. A little further out is Kangaroo Island which has a rich wildlife, as well as Yorke- and Fleurieu Peninsula.
Sights and experiences
Discover and explore
It is evident that Adelaide is a planned city. The centre is designed as a square surrounded by lush parks. The centre point is marked by Victoria Square. Northwards, the river meander and divides the centre and the northern districts. The central areas are advantageously explored on foot (wotif.com/discover/australia/south-australia/playford/adelaide/adelaide-central-business-district.d6051337). There are both quiet beaches and beaches that adapt to the surfing life around Adelaide (wotif.com/discover/australia/south-australia/adelaide.d6051330/adelaide-beaches). The beaches are west from the city centre. Glenelg is a popular holiday suburb only about a half-hour-trip away by tram. Another beautiful sandy beach, also well worth a visit, is the Henley Beach.
Adelaide Central Market (adelaidecentralmarket.com.au) opened in 1869 and is today an exciting meeting place where all types of edibles can be found. Cheap noodles, laksa soups and sandwiches. Many products being sold here are locally produced. The market hall is centrally located at 44 – 60 Gouger Street and is open Tuesday to Saturday. For an introduction, join in on a guided tour to the market area (wotif.com/things-to-do/adelaide-central-market-discovery-tour.a480776.activity-details).
You can learn more about photography along with Photography Travel (photographytravel.net/adelaide-photography-courses). They organize professional photo tours that cater for both beginners and those a bit more experienced.
If you want to see the city from the water, Adelaide Gondola organizes peaceful tours on Torrens River (adelaidegondola.com.au/introduction.html). At the edge of the city centre is Haigh’s Chocolate Factory (haighschocolates.com.au/tours). Book a guided tour here and enjoy the tasty samples.
Art and culture
Adelaide Art Gallery (artgallery.sa.gov.au/agsa/home) is grand with large halls, golden frames and beautiful art. They have some unique exhibitions and are open daily between 10:00 and 17:00. The Art Gallery of South Australia is located along the North Terrace.
History and parks
Adelaide Botanic Gardens (wotif.com/discover/australia/south-australia/playford/adelaide/adelaide-central-business-district/adelaide-botanic-gardens.d6085851) spans over 50 hectares. One can wander around and enjoy the tranquillity for hours at a time. The garden has been carefully planned and there are impressive greenhouses to visit. Once the gates have been closed and the sun starts to go down it opens up again for the Moonlight Cinema (moonlight.com.au/adelaide). In comfortable bean beds, you can enjoy a premiering movie or an old classic, depending on which day you choose to go. The cinema is only open during the summer months.
Sports, entertainment and events
The city is known for its many festivals and events that happen throughout the year, below are a few examples. Read more at the website Festivals Adelaide (festivalsadelaide.com.au), which keeps track on any upcoming festivals. Adelaide Fringe (adelaidefringe.com.au) is one of the world’s largest festivals focusing on all kinds of art. Experience theatre, performances, singing and dancing in various forms. This event lasts for a whole month starting in February each year. Another popular event is the Adelaide Festival of Arts (adelaidefestival.com.au) organized in March and which attracts visitors from all over the world thanks to its great cultural celebration. You can visit Adelaide Festival Centre (adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au), which organizes theatrical performances and concerts.
For sport, the largest arena is Adelaide Oval. You can explore the arena through a guided tour (wotif.com/discover/australia/south-australia/adelaide.d6051330/adelaide-oval-tours).
Rundle Mall (rundlemall.com) is Adelaide’s main shopping street where shops are close by. Cars are banned here, so you can slowly stroll around. Fast food chains and cafés are also nearby. The street is centrally located in the northeast corner of the city centre. Tea Tree Plaza (westfield.com.au/teatreeplaza) is a large shopping centre about half an hour’s drive outside the city centre.
The city really shows its best side when it comes to nightlife. There is a good selection of restaurants, cafés and bars (wotif.com/discover/australia/south-australia/adelaide.d6051330/boutique-bars) to visit. Luigi Delicatessen (luigideli.com) is one of the most popular places in the city. The café is located at 151 Flinders Street and serves breakfast, lunch and coffee until late afternoon. There are plenty of seats to sit at in the patio. If you have a fondness for desserts, Cocolat (cocolat.com.au) is a given stop. The café with focus on fine pastries is available both along the Rundle Mall and at Henley Beach.
For an authentic taste of Adelaide, head to the café North Adelaide Bakery (bakeryonoconnell.com.au) at 128 O’Connell Street. Here you can order one of the city’s most classic dishes, a “pie floater”. A bowl of thick pea soup is served and then a warm Australian meat pie is placed in the middle. The ketchup is sprayed on top of it and then the creation is ready to be consumed. Previously, fast food vans where parked here and there around the city, serving these pie floaters as a popular night snack.
End the evening at one of the city’s cosy roof-terrace bars. The Gallery (galleryadelaide.com.au) is popular among people who want to quench their thirst after a day in the office. They have one of the largest roof-terraces in Adelaide and are located where things happen. If you are looking for a more tropical backyard-feeling, the Rocket Bar & Rooftop (facebook.com/RocketRooftop/) might be your next stop.
Good to know
You can visit the Visitor Information Centre at 9 James Place near the Myer Centre. They are open from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday and from 10:00 to 16:00 during weekends. There are also information centres in, for example, Glenelg, Port Adelaide, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley. For activities and guided tours you can also take a look at wotif’s website (wotif.com/things-to-do/search?location=Adelaide).
Warnings and preparations
If you travel to Adelaide from another state, it is important to keep in mind that you may not be allowed to bring certain types of food into South Australia, such as fruits and vegetables. Read more on Interstate Quarantine (interstatequarantine.org.au).
Adelaide Airport (wotif.com/Flights) is only six kilometres away from the city centre, which means a taxi or airport bus journey takes from about ten minutes depending on traffic. From the airport, you can take a bus to the city centre, Glenelg or West Beach. You can also book a transfer directly to your accommodation (adelaideairport.com.au/parking-transport/transport-options).
Once on site in Adelaide, it can be nice having your own car if you are planning trips to for example the Adelaide Hills, Hahndorf, beaches and other places around the city (wotif.com/Car-Hire). Otherwise, Adelaide Metro (adelaidemetro.com.au) buses and trains can take you to the major tourist attractions. You can buy a day ticket that allows you to travel unlimited for a full day. There are two free bus routes that daily serve the city centre and North Adelaide (adelaidemetro.com.au/Timetables-Maps/Special-Services/Free-City-Services). The bus departs every thirty minutes.
The trains The Ghan and Indian Pacific stop in Adelaide. They are run by The Great Southern Rail (greatsouthernrail.com.au ). The bus company Greyhound (greyhound.com.au) will take you to most major cities in the country. You can cross Nullarbor Plain together with the company Nullarbor Traveller (thetraveller.net.au). For nine days, they will take you from Adelaide to Perth with exciting stops along the way.
Since Adelaide is a metropolis, there are of course many accommodation options to choose between. There are good possibilities for public transportation such as bus and tram, so whether you want to stay in the middle of the city or near the beach, it is easy to get around. Summer is peak season; at this time, it may be good to pre-book your preferred choice of accommodation. Glenelg is a popular place to stay. From there you can easily get into the city centre in only half an hour.
There are several campsites around Adelaide. Examples of such are BIG4 West Beach Parks Holiday Park (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/BIG4_West_Beach_Parks_Holiday_park.htm) located near the sea and Adelaide Caravan Park (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Adelaide_Caravan_Park_Aspen_Holiday_Parks.htm) northeast of the city centre.
Adelaide Central YHA (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Adelaide_Central_YHA.htm) and Glenelg Beach Hostel (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Glenelg_Beach_Hostel.htm) are two good hostels. Adelaide Central is centrally located at 135 Waymouth Street. They have simple rooms with bunk beds at reasonable prices. Free Wi-Fi is available. Glenelg Beach is more suitable if you want to stay near the beach. A light breakfast is included in the price and access to coffee and tea. There is a bar on site. Located on Elizabeth Street, the hostel is only a stone’s throw from the beach.
At Princes Lodge Motel (hotelscombined.com/Hotel/Princes_Lodge_Motel.htm) in North Adelaide you get value for your money. This budget accommodation starts at 90 dollars per night but keep an eye on their website for discounted prices. Continental breakfast is included, as well as Wi-Fi and parking. Located at 73 LeFevre Terrace.
A Saturday in Adelaide
08:00 – Market hunt
Head to 276 Flinders Street where the café Flinders Street Project is waiting (theflindersstreetproject.com.au). Enjoy a long and healthy breakfast. It’s very popular on weekends so come early. When you feel satisfied, you steer your feet towards the market. At half past nine is time for a tour led by guides from Top Food and Wine Tours (topfoodandwinetours.com.au/index.php/adelaide-city-market/market-adventures-tour).
11:30 – The northern district
Explore the northern parts of the city. Cross the river to North Adelaide and embark on a shopping trip or visit the pandas at Adelaide Zoo (adelaidezoo.com.au) or the Art Gallery of South Australia (artgallery.sa.gov.au/agsa/home). When your tummy start complaining, you can always try a pie floater at North Adelaide Bakery (bakeryonoconnell.com.au).
12:30 – Holiday suburb
It’s getting hot, so pack your swimwear and accessories and take the bus H30 towards West Lakes and hop off at Henley Beach. If you prefer a tram, you can go to Glenelg instead. Enjoy a barefoot walk in the sand and take a refreshing dip in the sea. At Henley Beach you can enjoy a good snack at Cocolat (cocolat.com.au). In Glenelg, you look for a café along Jetty Road.
16:00 – Full belly
Once back in the city, stroll around the botanical garden (environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/visit/adelaide-botanic-garden) and rest beneath the trees. You decide to test dinner at Social Street S2 (socialstreets2.com/) at 174A Hutt Street, where they serve Asian flavours from Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam with several vegetarian options.
20:00 – Great ending on a roof-terrace
From one of the city’s many roof-terraces, watch the sun go down and the city light-up in the darkness. Rocket Bar & Rooftop (facebook.com/RocketRooftop/) is a popular place. Under a century-old cone palm and chains of light, you can sip on a cold beer or two. Walk through the Rocket Bar and then take the stairs up to the top. Max 100 people can fit, so don’t drag your feet behind.