Adelaide, the coastal capital city of South Australia, is situated on the River Torrens. The city centre is surrounded by lush parklands. Multiple festivals provide a lively atmosphere in the “City of Churches” during February and March, and the city is a gateway to the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills wine regions.
Adelaide city centre, also called the CBD is set out on an easily navigable grid, with wide boulevards and stately colonial architecture. North Terrace cultural attractions, including the Art Gallery of South Australia, State Library and the Adelaide Festival Centre, are all within walking distance of one another near the River Torrens. You can enjoy refreshments at one of the cafés in the Botanic Gardens of South Australia, which are adjacent to the well-established Adelaide Zoo. Glenelg beach is a short tram ride away from Adelaide’s CBD hotels.
Head from your Adelaide hotel to Chinatown, in the south-eastern corner of the CBD, for international cuisine and boutique-style eateries and to sample a variety of local produce at the bustling Adelaide Central Market.
Mount Lofty, a 50-minute drive from the CBD, provides stunning city and coastal views. Hahndorf, in the Adelaide Hills, is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement and has tree-lined streets with galleries, pubs and restaurants serving traditional German fare.
The parkland area at the mouth of the Torrens river, between West Beach and Henley Beach, is ideal for walking and ocean swims, away from the more populated Glenelg esplanade.
● The Art Gallery of South Australia has a diverse range of Australian paintings and sculpture as well as Indigenous collections, and displays from Europe and North America.
● In February and March, you can choose from numerous cultural events at the Adelaide International Arts Festival and Adelaide Fringe as well as world music and dance festival WOMADelaide.
● Motor sports enthusiasts will enjoy the high-octane racing of the V8 Supercars at the Clipsal500 in mid March.
● Adelaide Zoo is home to native Australian animals as well as the southern hemisphere’s only breeding pair of giant pandas.
Adelaide’s CBD provides easy access to beaches and surrounding wine regions and is linked by rail and bus networks. You’re never far from nature, with the River Torrens running along the northern side of the city, and the Adelaide parklands encircling the centre.
Hotels in Adelaide, north of the CBD, near the river, offer luxury accommodation. For business travellers, it’s handy for the Convention Centre and the Adelaide Casino. Those wanting Adelaide accommodation for major sporting events or concerts can walk to the Adelaide Festival Centre or Adelaide Oval, which is home to local AFL (Aussie Rules Football) teams Port Power and Adelaide Crows, who play from March to August. Across the Torrens is the North Adelaide Golf Course.
Hindmarsh Square offers peace and serenity within the CBD and is close to colonial-style pubs as well as the upmarket eateries of East Terrace. It’s a short stroll to Rundle Mall and Rymill Park.
You can enjoy relaxed dining alfresco under the awnings of Adelaide’s many colonial-style pubs, or you may want to venture into Chinatown to explore international flavours. Cultures collide at East Taste Restaurant on Gouger Street, where sizzling kangaroo is served alongside traditional Chinese dishes.
For fine dining, East Terrace has a wide range of options from speciality seafood at Louca’s to late-night tapas at Bar Torino.
In the Adelaide Central Market you can stop by Big Table for coffee and an extensive selection of pre‐prepared salads or freshly made sandwiches, or buy local produce for a picnic in the nearby parklands.
In the East End, Ebenezer Place is home to specialist coffee shops and the Belgian Beer Café.
● Adelaide’s speciality dish is a meat pie in pea soup, named the “Pie Floater”. They’re available in bakeries across the city, even 24 hours a day at Enjoy Bakery in Norwood.
● The iconic, National Trust-recognised “Frog Cakes”. These South Australian delicacies are constructed out of sponge cake and cream, and traditionally covered in green, brown or pink fondant, with tiny black eyes that stare back at you.
● Visit Barossa Valley Brewing, where the staff will happily match craft beers to your meal.
Look beyond the department stores and chain outlets to find an eclectic mix of boutiques away from the main shopping areas. Visit Harbour Town for bargains and browse boutiques in North Adelaide Village. The Jetty Road shops in Glenelg can satisfy any last-minute beach needs. Choose your favourite ice-cream flavours at Royal Copenhagen and enjoy while you explore the esplanade.
An expertly selected array of clothing and jewellery can be found at Elle & Elka, where owners Evelyn and Leeann will greet you with a smile.
The Ebenezer Night Markets are a lively addition to the East End, with food trucks and craft stalls on selected Friday nights from December to March.
Rundle Mall is a pedestrianised section of Rundle Street in the CBD, where you’ll find all the major shopping chains, arcades and food courts, as well as live performances and fashion parades throughout the year.
It’s well worth hiring a car for your stay in Adelaide, or booking a tour, to explore the wine regions outside the city. In the Barossa, stop by Maggie’s Farm Shop to sample renowned chef Maggie Beer’s extensive product range. You never know, you may even run into Maggie herself.
● The Kangaroo Island Stall at the Adelaide Central Market sells goodies from the nearby island. Look out for the honey produced by its pure-bred Ligurian bees.
● Vintage items and memorabilia at the Antique Market, on Grote Street opposite the Adelaide Central Market.
● Wine lovers can visit cellar doors throughout the nearby wine regions to sample and purchase wine. Big-brand wineries such as Jacob’s Creek in the Barossa Valley also offer tours and à la carte dining. Pick any of the multitude of lesser known wineries along the way for personalised tours and exclusive small-batch wines.
Adelaide comes alive during the festival-heavy months of February and March, but you can enjoy year-round entertainment at the city’s theatres and concert venues while you stay in Adelaide.
On North Terrace, the Art Gallery of South Australia has extensive holdings, from Indigenous art and colonial-era paintings and sculpture to Asian exhibits. The State Library is more than just books, hosting digital exhibitions and running guided tours. The South Australian Museum offers free lectures all year.
Adelaide Casino provides river views and its restaurants and bars are an alternative to the clubs of Hindley Street – they’re a good option if you want to stay out past the lock-out time of Adelaide’s pubs.
See Australia’s up-and-coming comedians perform at the atmospheric Rhino Room on Frome Street. Downstairs, you can sample local and imported speciality gins at The Howling Owl.
● Adelaide Festival Centre presents local and international theatre and musical acts.
● Adelaide Oval hosts live music stadium tours as well as sporting events, including cricket, rugby and Australian rules football.
● The city’s West End is where to head if you want to dance until the Saturday-morning CrossFit classes commence. At Red Square you can grind along to R’n’B classics, or hit the dance floor hard in the techno zone. International DJs often visit this Hindley Street favourite.
Adelaide’s year-round blue skies and Mediterranean climate make it an attractive destination for outdoor activities. With stunning white sand beaches along the coast and the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Mclaren Vale and Adelaide Hills wine regions nearby, it provides opportunities for relaxation and adventure.
Coriole vineyard sprawls across the rolling hills of Mclaren Vale, a 50-minute drive from Adelaide city centre. The hill-top restaurant offers alfresco dining and the cellar door offers tastings of popular varieties and rare single-vineyard wines.
You can take a tram to Glenelg and walk along the pier as the sun sets over the Gulf of St Vincent, for spectacular views southwards of the Cape Jervis coastline.
Walk a portion of the River Torrens Linear Trail, which extends from the Mount Lofty Ranges all the way to the ocean, or explore it on two wheels by hiring a free bicycle from the city centre.
● Unwind in the tranquillity of Adelaide’s Himeji Garden, located on South Terrace.
● Enjoy intimate animal encounters at Adelaide Zoo; you’ll need to book ahead for the popular Wild Night sleepovers.
● Pedal off some of the Pie Floaters and Frog Cakes on the Torrens River in Captain Jolley’s Paddle Boats, moored at the edge of Elder Park.
● Or let someone else do the work for you, by hailing one of Adelaide’s pedicabs – with loudspeakers blasting popular music, you’re sure to hear your ride approaching. It’s an easy way to venue-hop during festival season, when selected trips are free.