South Australia’s coastal capital isn’t just the jumping-off point for the road trip up to Ayers Rock, it’s also home to renowned museums, beautiful beaches and the country’s second-oldest zoo.
Ask a Local
“Start the day at pastry heaven Abbots and Kinney – you must try the Danwich. After breakfast take a walk through Rundle Mall, then soak up some culture on North Terrace, where the Parliament House, State Library, South Australian Museum and Art Gallery of South Australia are all within a stone’s throw of each other.
From there, hop on the free city tram and excite your taste buds at the Adelaide Central Market. As evening approaches, hire a bicycle and head off on a leisurely ride along the River Torrens. Take in the lovely sights of Adelaide’s riverbank precinct, then muster the courage, if you can, for the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb. As night falls, wind down with dinner at Peel St Restaurant, set on a lively street of small bars and restaurants. If you fancy a nightcap, nearby Clever Little Tailor will look after you.”
The Romantic One
•The Playford Adelaide, MGallery by Sofitel
•Stamford Grand Adelaide
One of the best places in Adelaide to spark romance is Windy Point Lookout. Go just before sunset, and watch the sun disappear below the water. If you don’t feel like sitting outside, you can enjoy the same sight over a romantic dinner at the Windy Point Restaurant.
The food might not come cheap, but the view is sensational. The River Torrens also has great romantic potential – just find yourselves a cosy spot along the riverbank and settle in for a picnic. If you want something a bit more active, head out on one of the paddleboats.
Another good option is the Botanic Garden, a popular park for wandering hand in hand or sitting by the stream. There are also plenty of other beautiful gardens in and around Adelaide that make a nice date for two.
In the evening, book in for a candlelit dinner at Cos 18 Leigh, where you can feast on fantastic French cuisine from its quaint little alfresco terrace. Few cities can boast a major vineyard within their boundaries but the famous Penfolds lets Adelaide do just that.
Dine at its five-star Magill Estate Restaurant, which offers modern Australian fare along with one of the most impressive grape cellars in the country. It also happens to overlook five hectares of spectacular beauty.
The Adventoures One
•The Franklin Hotel
•Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury
•Clarion Hotel Soho
While at first glance, extreme, heart-pumping experiences may not be something generally associated with Adelaide’s laid-back atmosphere, there’s actually a whole range of exciting activities that will give you the thrills you’re looking for if you’re adventurous at heart.
Think you’ve got what it takes to delve into the world of the fiercest underwater predators in the ocean? Enter the waters with the incredible great white shark protected only by a steel cage in Port Lincoln.
On the way, enjoy breathtaking scenery as you cruise through Thorny Passage – expect sightings of inquisitive local dolphins and sea birds. Afterwards tuck into delicious seafood at Del Giorno’s on Tasman Terrace, overlooking the picturesque Boston Bay – we recommend the locally farmed Mori tuna steaks.
If your intrepid spirit hasn’t yet been sated, how about a thrilling flight above the city in a beautifully maintained historic aircraft. There’s a whole range of journeys to choose from, whether you want to soar over beaches at low altitude, perform spins, loops and barrel rolls, or simply take to the sky to admire the epic landscapes Adelaide has to offer.
Round things off with dinner at the aforementioned Magill Estate Restaurant, on the fringes of the city.
The Family-Friendly One
•Peppers Waymouth Hotel
If you’re travelling with an energetic brood, a good first stop is Morialta Conservation Park. Here you can embark on an easy hiking trail during which youngsters can scramble over rocks, dip their toes in the shallow creek and tuck into a picnic while perched on a tree-trunk bench.
Adelaide Zoo is another must-do. The second-oldest zoo in the country, having opened in 1883, it’s one of the city’s most iconic attractions. It’s home to more than 2,500 animals, and 250 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, all exhibited over eight stunning hectares of magnificent botanical surroundings.
Be sure to book little ones in for the Keeper Kids experience, where they can venture behind the scenes to meet some of the most adorable residents of the children’s zoo.
Of course, a trip to Adelaide isn’t complete without a trip to one of the best beaches in town. Try Henley for pristine sand, a lovely old wooden jetty, and plenty of cafés and restaurants. You can even hire some bikes and cycle down from the city.
For family-friendly dining, head to Utopia at Waterfall Gully. Not only will the little ones love the waterfall setting, they can also get stuck into their very own kids’ menu and run wild in the open outdoor space.
The Restful One
- Thorngrove Manor
•Majestic Roof Garden Hotel
Take a stroll down North Terrace for a great introduction to Adelaide’s oozings of creativity and culture. Art aficionados will delight in the walls of the Art Gallery of South Australia, where you can easily spend a few hushed hours wandering the halls.
Permanent exhibitions include works of Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, among others. Uncover the stories of South Australia’s migrants at the Migration Museum and retrace the area’s indigenous history at the South Australian Museum or on a truly insightful Aboriginal Cultural Walking Tour.
A visit to Tandanya is a must for contemporary and traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and art. Close to Rymill Park, it’s the country’s oldest Aboriginal-owned and managed multi-arts centre.
Make sure you put the Adelaide Hills on your itinerary, too, along with the town of Hahndorf. Founded by Prussian migrants in 1839, here you can tuck into plenty of tasty German bites.
Also keep an eye out for the annual Adelaide Festival, Film Festival, Cabaret Festival and Feast Festival, scheduled throughout the year. Finally, stop by Light Square to see the statue of town planner Colonel William Light, the only person legally allowed to be buried within the city limits.
Did You Know?
Not only is Adelaide regarded as one of Australia’s safest cities, it’s also been ranked in the top five most liveable cities in the world – and, with strict laws on car pollution and littering, is also one of the cleanest on the planet.