Seven things to do in Adelaide


Adelaide is a city which is transformed by creative fly-ins during the biggest festivals and much more relaxing and slow-paced when they’re gone. Here are some suggestions for things to do around this stylish city, regardless of the time of year.

Adelaide is known for its festivals, so make sure you check to see whether there’s something on during your stay. Credit: iStock

Australia’s fifth most populous city has gained a reputation for its mix of architecture, beaches, wineries and fresh produce. Known as the city of churches, Adelaide has a wealth of its original 19th-century architecture but don’t worry if that isn’t your thing, modern Adelaide has plenty of bars, restaurants and natural splendor on hand.

Get thee to a winery

Adelaide is surrounded by some of the country’s best-known wine producers. The Barossa Valley, about an hour northeast of Adelaide, has a deeply entrenched food culture and more than a hundred wineries. The region’s wine industry – one of the country’s oldest – was developed by German settlers, who settled in the area in the 19th century. These days, visitors to the area can enjoy some of the country’s best fine dining alongside local wines. Many of Australia’s biggest wine names, including Penfolds, Yalumba, and Wolf Blass have a presence in the valley.

If you’re into white wines and a slightly cooler climate, then head out to the Adelaide Hills, about 40km west of the city. This region, which also has German heritage, is renowned for its Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays. You’ll find about 50 cellar doors in the Hills, with many offering dining packages. The wine regions around Adelaide are most easily explored by car. Book a Blackline service so you can taste as much wine as you like without worrying about the journey home.

Sample some of Barossa Valley’s finest offerings. Credit: iStock

Sample culinary delights at the Adelaide Central Markets

This 150-year-old market is South Australia’s most popular attraction and should be on any foodie’s must-see list. Visitors will find 70 stalls at the Adelaide Central Markets, which is one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

Born out of a group of dissatisfied garden traders in 1869, the market’s mission is to “operate sustainably and successfully as a group of prosperous traders”, according to its website. These days, the traditional fresh produce store works alongside artisanal product sellers and hot-food stores. It’s the perfect destination for any meal of the day or for a delicious take-home item. If you’re really passionate about food, why not get in touch with Food Tours Australia, which offers tours of the market starting from $65AUD.

Mountain exercise with a city view

If you like mixing fresh air with exercise, why not take a hike or run up Mount Lofty, 15 km from the city center. There are numerous bush trails to the summit, which overlooks the Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, and the coastline. The most popular trail, from Waterfall Gully, is a 7.8 km return trip. It’s steep in parts and temperatures can be punishing so good shoes and a lot of water is essential. Mount Lofty is a great place to run off the week’s problems and become acquainted with Australia’s unique plants and animals.

Koalas are common sightings in the region, which is also home to dozens of other native animals, including echidnas, kangaroos, and wombats. As with most Australian bush trails, reptiles are common and walkers do come across snakes. Don’t let a fear of the mountain’s slithering inhabitants ruin your fun! Remember, hundreds of thousands of people visit the mountain peak every year. You can keep yourself safe by reading up on what to do if you come across a snake in the bush before you leave your hotel.

Meet some wild dolphins

Spot a wild dolphin while in Adelaide. Credit: iStock

Adelaide’s dolphin sanctuary is the permanent home to 40 dolphins and a visiting spot for a further 400. This 118sqm marine park is located just 20 minutes from the city center and contains ancient mangrove forests, as well as a number of important Aboriginal sites.

There are numerous barbecue and picnic facilities dotted along the marine park shoreline, which make it a great spot to relax after a long week of meetings. The chances of a dolphin sighting are good, but not guaranteed. A number of businesses offer kayak hire for adventurers who want to seek out dolphins on the water, but remember, these are wild animals and visitors are asked to respect the legislated 50m distance from healthy adult dolphins and 150m from a baby or injured dolphin. Swimming is not recommended anywhere in the park.

Take a dip at sunny beaches

Don’t let its southern location fool you. Adelaide’s summer temperatures can get roasting-hot, sending tourists and locals to its coastline. Many of the beaches around Adelaide have calm, clear waters. If they were in Sydney, they’d be jam-packed with millionaires.

Adelaide is less ostentatious and you’ll likely be able to relax with a book on the beach without feeling like half of the city’s population is right beside you. Glenelg beach, about 12km from the city center, is arguably the area’s most popular beach. Its expansive stretch of sand makes it the perfect spot for enjoying the sun and nearby cafes mean you can eat your lunch with a view.

For a slightly less busy beach, which is still close to restaurants, try Brighton Beach just 10 minutes’ drive from Glenelg.

Feed iconic Australian animals

Visitors to the Cleland Wildlife Park are allowed to feed and pat some of Australia’s most iconic animals. Very few animals are housed in enclosures in this park, which aims to keep animals in their natural environment as much as possible.

Here, you’ll meet lazy kangaroos and wallabies, get close to Koalas and see cute, but sometimes grumpy, wombats. Enormous free-roaming emus will also let you get close, as long as you have some feed to give them. Adult entry to the park costs $25.50AUD and extra activities such as holding a koala cost extra. The park is about 20 minutes’ drive from the Adelaide CBD.

Now that your itinerary is ready, all that’s left is to get there in style with a Blacklane ride.