Adelaide Destination guide

Adelaide has long been dubbed the ‘City of Churches’, flying low on the tourist radar as a conservative, low-profile kind of town. Head to the South Australian capital though and you’ll see for yourself that Adelaide has managed to ditch its stuffy image with a sensational festival calendar, eclectic food scene and access to some of the world’s best wine.

The city itself is full of surprises, with historic architecture and cobbled laneways melding into modern streets and green parklands. At the top of the CBD lies North Terrace, the art and cultural hub of Adelaide. Visit the Art Gallery of South Australia, Migration Museum and the South Australian Museum for a dose of history and art then head to the National Wine Centre of Australia for some wine tasting and a tour.

While Melbourne and Sydney battle over which city is the ‘events capital of Australia’, Adelaide lures millions of people to South Australia with its own range of drawcard events. Things really kick off between February and March when the Adelaide Fringe, V8 Supercars Clipsal 500, Adelaide Festival and WOMADelaide take place. This time of year is known as Mad March by the locals so you need to book ahead if you want to be part of the action.

If food sits in one of the top spots on your holiday hit list then take note of Adelaide’s best “eat streets”. Gouger Street is famous for its Asian flavours but you’ll also find high-end Argentinean, French, Italian and Lebanese restaurants as well. Head to Rundle Street to experience outdoor dining at its best, from coffee and a light lunch at a casual café to hearty pub grub washed down with a craft beer. Adelaide’s West End is fast becoming a foodie landmark in itself, with Peel and Leigh Streets a hip hub of locally-renowned restaurants and boutique bars. While you’re in the mood for eating, don’t forget to visit the Haigh’s Chocolate Factory where you can take a tour and pick up a few sweet treats.

If you want more than a city escape, look to the soil and sand outside of Adelaide’s CBD. Vineyards thrive in South Australia and most of the state’s 18 wine regions are within 90 minutes’ drive of Adelaide. Why not hire a car (with a designated driver on board), head to the Barossa, McLaren Vale or Adelaide Hills and spend the day sampling some of the world’s best vino. You’ll also find boutique breweries and top-notch food along the way with the Prancing Pony Brewery, Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop and a great variety of markets and cellar door cafes to keep your stomach happy.

Want to feel the sand between your toes? For a quick beach break you can catch a tram to Glenelg for a family-friendly day out or stick around to experience the seaside suburb’s laid-back nightlife. If a classic beachside vibe is what you’re after, Sephamore is where to go. Think fish and chips, old-school pubs and gentle waves rolling onto the beach then add some funky boutiques, quaint cafes and a vintage carousel.

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Quick Facts

  • Flight time: 2 hours (from Sydney)
  • Major airport: Adelaide International Airport (ADL)
  • Currency: Australian Dollar
  • Busy season: February – March, September – mid December
  • Popular activities: Wine, fine dining, festivals, culture