There’s so much to see in South Australia’s capital of Adelaide and its surrounds! From some of the best wine regions in Australia and mouthwatering gourmet food to natural wonders and cultural experiences – you certainly won’t be bored! Here are our Top 10 Things To Do:
1. Explore the Adelaide Central Market
Fill yourself up while wandering round the markets (credit: SATC)
You definitely won’t go hungry while exploring the buzzing Adelaide Central Markets – an Adelaide foodie institution that’s been on the scene since 1869. Spend an afternoon wandering between colourful stalls, meeting artisan food producers, grazing on delectable morsels and enjoying lunch and coffee at a market-icon café.
Hit up cooking superstar and Masterchef winner Poh Ling’s Jamface for all your homemade delights, Comida for everything Spanish (how can you go past a fresh, hot paella?) and The Mettwurst Shop for all your naturally smoked SA Riverland small goods. You also can’t go past a freshly-made pasta dish from the famous Lucia’s Pizza & Spaghetti Bar – one of the most popular eateries within the entire marketplace.
2. Experience bustling Rundle Mall
Rundle Mall glowing in the afternoon sun (credit: SATC)
Adelaide’s premiere shopping hub located in the heart of the city is definitely a must-visit while in Adelaide. All your shopping needs will be fulfilled with many national and international retailers setting up shop within the mall. Don’t forget to also check out the famous ‘Mall’s Balls’ in front of David Jones and the beloved sculpted pigs (a family favourite) near Myer.
Grab a cool drink at the Hotel Richmond or a delicious home-made soda from Two-Bit Villains and sit yourself on either one of their balconies for great people-watching spots above the mall.
3. Dine around Adelaide
The delightful interiors match the delicious food at Africola (credit: Andre Castellucci)
Between Frome Street and East Terrace and including Ebenezer Place and Vardon Ave tucked behind Rundle Street, spend the evening exploring East End bars and restaurants, hotels, bistros and cafes. We recommend checking out Orana for award-winning modern cuisine, Africola for something a little bit different and BRKLYN for all your cocktail delights!
In the city’s West End on the opposite side of Rundle Mall, plenty of new eateries, bars and cafes have started popping up to the delight of locals and tourists alike. Stop by Gondola Gondola for some delicious South-east Asian delights, Casablabla for all your tapas needs (plus you might witness some spectacular Spanish dancing) and Peel Street (restaurant) for some modern, mouthwatering cuisine. Drinks should be had at Udaberri, Clever Little Tailor or Proof Laneway Bar.
Gouger Street, Adelaide’s prominent dining street, is lined with must-visit restaurants and dining venues that will satisfy everybody’s tastes. From Star House for delicious Yum Cha to Paul’s Seafood for your fishy delights and Ying Chow Chinese Restaurant for yummy Chinese dishes.
4. Wander down Rundle Street
Buzzing Rundle Street (credit: Daniel Westergren)
Visit Rundle Street in the city’s popular East End for all your fashionable shopping needs. From popular brands such as Gorman, Zimmerman, Mimco and Sass & Bide to independent boutiques like Bauhaus, Fox on the Run Vintage and Born in August. For the ultimate East End shopping experience you can’t go past the iconic, 3-story boutique that is Miss Gladys Sym Choon which provides unique fashion pieces and up-and-coming designers/brands for the fashionable women and men of Adelaide.
You’ll also find a multitude of social drinking spots down this way. The Belgian Beer Cafe Oostende and East End Cellars provide great intimate social spots off the main street in Ebenezer Place. The Elephant British Pub and The Howling Owl, which tucked are both away off the opposite side of the main street, provide the perfect spot for a post-movie drink with the Palace Nova Cinema almost right next door!
4. Relax by the River Torrens
Enjoying an afternoon in the sun on the green banks of the River Torrens is definitely a great way to take a break from all of your explorations. Bring a coffee and some snacks and simply enjoy the serenity that can be found within the city area. Once you’ve had your relaxation for the day you can easily wander up to the Art Gallery of South Australia or to bustling Rundle Mall – almost everything is close by!
5. Get lost in artistic wonders
Explore artistic wonders (credit: SATC)
For an artistic feast, you can’t go past the Art Gallery of South Australia whose collection rivals many national and international galleries and is one of the largest art museum collections in the country. The Elder Wing of Australian Art provides outstanding examples of works from prominent past and present Australian artists, while there is a constant change of temporary exhibitions filling the walls, with one of the most recent including ‘Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay’.
Explore the magic of Aboriginal art at Tandanya in the city’s East End. Running since 1989, this National Aboriginal Cultural Institute Inc has provided a vibrant and visionary place to experience both contemporary and traditional Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander cultural expressions through both visual and performing arts.
6. Experience one of Adelaide’s famous festivals
It’s hard to miss Fringe season in Adelaide (credit: Joshua Pathon)
There’s a reason Adelaide is still known as being the ‘Festival State’ with an abundance of festivals year round keeping us all busy! Find yourself immersed in theatre and performances from around Asia during OzAsia, which also includes the popular Lucky Dumpling Markets. The Adelaide Cabaret Festival will transport you to the burlesques of Europe and dark comedy of New York, while the Adelaide Fashion Festival fulfills all your fashion needs. Food-lovers will find themselves within the expertly decorated, pop-up green-houses of Tasting Australia for one-of-a-kind dishes while art lovers will go nuts for the South Australian Living Artists Festival which is showcased around the state.
Probably the most well known yearly event is (of course) the Adelaide Fringe! Born 58 years ago, this festival has grown to become the biggest open access arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere. As the festival takes over the city of Adelaide, you’ll find the Garden of Unearthly Delights and Gluttony your key venues in the East End of the city, providing theatre, comedy, art, aerobatics, food, drink, rides and so much more! The Adelaide Fringe is a MUST when in town, running from halfway through February to halfway through March.
7. Stop by the Adelaide Zoo (or head further out to Monarto)
Feed the friendly giraffes at Monarto (credit: Zoos SA)
The Adelaide Zoo always provides a fun day in the city with plenty of animals to watch within a beautiful setting. Listen to the sounds of the lively orangutans, be amazed by the size of the hippos and find yourself mesmerised by the beautiful exotic birds. The zoo is also home to our famous pair of Giant Pandas, Wang Wang and Fu Ni, who provide hours of entertainment for those watching.
Head up the highway from the CBD on a short drive to Monarto – the world’s largest open range zoo in the world outside of Africa. Here awaits magical animal encounters like feeding friendly giraffes, getting up close with inquisitive meerkats and Lions 360, an experience like no other in the world where you can come (safely) eye-to-eye with one of the most dangerous predators in the world.
8. Visit one of the famed wine regions
A winery is never far away while in Adelaide! It’s only a 25 minute drive from the CBD up the highway to the glorious Adelaide Hills and its abundance of wineries. While here, consider making a stop for coffee along the peaceful main street of Stirling and a visit to the German town of Hahndorf with its popular German pubs providing all the German grub you could ask for as well as plenty of shops and stores to keep you busy.
Only a 45 minute drive from the city you’ll find the stunning wine region of McLaren Vale, home to many famous wineries including D’Arenberg and its impressive cube (pictured above)
Although a little further, the Barossa Valley is possibly one of the most famed wine regions in all of Australia (and the world), known for its outstanding red wines. A day trip here is well worth the time! We recommend visiting Tscharke’s Place and its glorious cellar door, brought all the way from the Black Forest in Germany, as well as Hentley Farm Wines with its multi award-winning restaurant. For those after a grand winery that will truly immerse you in the feel of the Barossa, Seppeltsfield and Chateau Tanunda will certainly not disappoint.
9. Experience one of the glorious beaches
It’s obvious as to why Glenelg is so popular (credit: SATC)
South Australia has some of the best beaches you could ask for – check them out for yourself! It’s only a short tram ride from the CBD to the popular seaside area and beach of Glenelg where you’ll find yourself drawn to the soft sand and sparkling water. Wander along the jetty and see what the fishermen/women have managed to catch. Similar to bustling Glenelg, Henley Beach and its Square further up North provides a great place to spend a sunny afternoon.
If you’re after a less busy beach then head down to Brighton for a quieter beach experience, only a little further down the coastline from Glenelg. Though quiete, you’ll still find plenty of dining and drinking spots as well as a jetty to wander along (keep an eye out for hungry seals!).
10. Go a little further and visit Kangaroo Island
Remarkable Rocks showing off on Kangaroo Island (credit: Julie Fletcher)
Just off the mainland of the Fleurieu Peninsula you’ll find the magical piece of land that is Kangaroo Island! This diverse part of the state provides sea-lions basking in the warm sun on beaches right in front of you, pelicans relaxing by shimmering lagoons and pristine wilderness that’s overwhelmingly stunning (see above for the famous Remarkable Rocks). Aside from its many, many natural wonders, the island also is home to fresh, locally-made produce including gin, honey, wine, cheese and herbal-infused olive oils that will have your mouth watering.
So what are you waiting for? Adelaide awaits… Check out our favourite holidays that give you a taste of the South Australia’s capital:
Indian Pacific, River, Hills & Wine | 5 nights departing Wednesdays between 3 April 2019 – 26 March 2020 from $1,599 per person twin share
Visit the Barossa for memorable wine tasting in one of Australia’s most famous wine regions, plus explore the picturesque Adelaide Hills with it’s quaint villages and take a lunch cruise along the Murray River filled with breathtaking scenery along this water highway. Learn more.
Murray River & The Ghan with Red Centre & Field of Light | 11 nights departing select Sundays from 7 April 2019 – 20 March 2020 from $4,999 per person twin share
Explore our iconic land, from the rugged sandstone cliffs of the majestic Murray River to the maroon dirt of the iconic Red Centre. Indulge in all-inclusive luxury onboard The Ghan on your way to the Red Centre. Learn more.
The Ghan Expedition Outback to Oceans | 11 nights departing Saturdays between 3 April 2019 – 26 March 2020 from $5,199 per person twin share PLUS receive a FREE City Sights tour in Adelaide
From searching for saltwater crocodiles and colourful birdlife on your Yellow Water Billabong cruise to witnessing the stunning Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island. You can get up close with koalas, see penguins swim and play, hand feed kangaroos and wallabies and interact with snakes and crocodiles as well as explore the city of Adelaide. Learn more.
Southern Escape with Sea Princess & Indian Pacific | 13 nights departing 20 October 2019 from $5,639 per person twin share WITH $100 off per person, a reduced deposit of $1,000 and $50 travel insurance voucher
Navigate the Southern Western Australia coast aboard Sea Princess. Spend some time touring the vibrant city of Adelaide and the natural wonders of Kangaroo Island. Enjoy the stretch across the vast Nullarbor aboard Indian Pacific. Learn more.
Adelaide, Top End and the Kimberley with Sun Princess & The Ghan | 20 nights departing 16 October 2019 from $7,439 per person twin share WITH $100 off per person, a reduced deposit of $1,000 and $50 travel insurance voucher
Escape the noise of the city in the iconic Barossa Valley and calm Adelaide Hills. Tick Broome off your bucket list from your cruise on Sun Princess. Experience an immersive overnight in WA’s Margaret River region. Learn more.
Written by Georgina Smerd for Holidays of Australia & the World