City guide

Things To Do In Adelaide

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Adelaide is the capital of South Australia, nestled between the rolling hills in the east and pristine beaches to the west.

Most famous for being the gateway to some of the best wineries in Australia, Adelaide city offers more than just great food and wine to indulge in. Its historic buildings and non-congested feel make this city one you can fully unwind and relax in – even the airport is only 7km away from the central business district.

So what can you get up to in Adelaide? With its rich cultural heritage, food and wine offerings, modern and indigenous art scene, shopping hot spots and surrounding gardens, you’re spoilt for choice!

1. Immerse yourself in Adelaide’s cultural lifestyle

Jump straight in by taking a stroll along Adelaide’s culture filled North Terrace. Here you will see the grand Railway Station, State Parliament, Adelaide Casino, the Convention Centre and the University of Adelaide.

The Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum are also located here and are well worth a visit.

2. Indulge in vibrant Rundle Street

Make sure you’re hungry for your visit to Rundle Street. With a mix of delicious delights from popular restaurants, pretty pubs and family-run cafes, you’ll find it hard to choose a place to indulge! Dine alfresco on a warm evening and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere.

For more food options, head down to enjoy the European influenced Gouger Street, or wander over to Chinatown.

3. Soak in the sights and smells of Central Market

The Adelaide Central Market houses 80 traders and has been operating for over 145 years. It even boasts the title of being the largest under cover market in the Southern Hemisphere! Here, amongst the friendly hustle and bustle, you can find a large array of fresh produce, including meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables, cheeses, baked goods and health foods. You can also take a seat at many of the cafes and eateries located around the market.

4. Shop your way through Rundle Mall

Rundle Mall is a car free shopping strip and has over 700 retail stores, 4 department stores and 15 arcades. This is shopping heaven, visited by 400,000 people every week.

Discover the quirky ‘Rundle Mall Pigs’ group sculpture, and try and spot the ‘Progress’ copper wall sculpture originally created in 1959 which now adorns the David Jones department store building.

5. Appreciate nature at its best at the botanic gardens

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At one end of North Terrace is the sprawling Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Free guided tours are offered daily at 10.30am from the Visitor Information Centre, or you can take the self-guided trail. The gardens also have the stunning Botanic Gardens Restaurant, and a café and kiosk for lunch or a light snack.

Apart from the amazing variety of gardens on display, there are many buildings worth a look. The Bicentennial Conservatory is the largest single span glass house in the Southern Hemisphere. Built in 1989, it houses endangered rainforest and subtropical plants.

In contrast, Palm House was built over 100 years earlier, in 1877 and is one of the last remaining glass houses of its kind in the world. It features a collection of plants from the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar.

6. Visit the charming white sandy shores of Glenelg

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Like many Australian cities, a gorgeous beach is never too far away. Only 12km from the city is Glenelg, a town full of cafes, restaurants and shops located next to the very attractive Glenelg beach.

This is a great half day or full day out from the city where you can enjoy the sea, eat at the many cafes and outdoor eating spots, spot dolphins and seals or get involved in many of the water activities on offer.

Charming Glenelg can be easily reached via a leisurely 35 minute tram ride that departs from central locations such as Rundle Mall or King William St. The ticket machine is on board, and costs around $10 for a return ticket.

7. Adelaide Zoo has pandas. Yes, pandas!

Adelaide Zoo is home to the only 2 giant pandas located in Australia - Wang Wang and Fu Ni. Catch a glimpse of these amazing animals along with over 1,800 others during your visit to Adelaide.

Why not make a day of it, and enjoy a 40 minute scenic ride from Elder Park to Adelaide Zoo? Offered by Adelaide Sightseeing tours, the cruise takes you down the River Torrens on the iconic ‘Popeye’ river motor.

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8. Learn about sporting history at Adelaide Oval

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Adelaide Oval is a very special place in many locals’ hearts, home to many sporting and musical events over the years. It has recently undergone a $610 million makeover but has still retained its historic charm.

For cricket fans, the Bradman Collection showcases the career of Sir Donald Bradman – the greatest batsman in the history of cricket.

9. Wine Tasting in the Barossa Valley

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Getting out of the city to experience the fabulous wineries in the picturesque Barossa Valley is an experience you should try at least once. There is a huge array of wine tours on offer, so you can choose one that suits you. With famous wineries such as McLaren Vale, Penfolds and Peter Lehman, you can’t go wrong if you love your vino.

10. Visit Australia’s oldest German settlement

For something a bit different, take a half day tour, or combine your visit with a winery tour to see the Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty and Hahndorf. Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest German settlement, and has retained its village feel. Two pubs offer authentic German food, and the main street is filled with souvenir, clothing and craft shops, lined by 100 year old elm and plane trees.

11. Try to say no at Australia’s oldest chocolate manufacturer

Located to the south of the city centre is Haigh’s Chocolates Visitor Centre. Haigh’s Chocolates offer free guided tours to show you how they make their chocolate treats. You will be able to witness the amazingly skilled hand finishing of their specialty chocolates. The best bit? There are chocolate tastings with complimentary coffee or tea - just try to say no!

12. Getting around Adelaide

There are many transport options for you to get around Adelaide easily. The city itself is only 1 square mile so much of it can be easily accessed by foot, as it has the added benefit of being on mostly flat ground.

Your free travel options include the Adelaide City Bike fleet. You can hire a bike for free from several city locations. Or you can hop on and off the City Loop Bus, which runs frequently and stops at many of the attractions mentioned above.

Adelaide also offers tram rides through the city for free, between South Terrace and the Entertainment Centre at Hindmarsh.

Anyway, for a laid back holiday, Adelaide should be one of the Australian cities you should try and visit as soon as you can!