Spend your first day in the South Australian capital taking in all the sights that the city centre has to offer. Start at the state’s most-visited attraction, the Adelaide Central Market, a maze of 80 stalls brimming with everything from fresh fruit and veggies to sumptuous artisanal food products. It won’t be hard to find something delicious for breakfast, especially if you stroll past Jamface, the brainchild of reality TV Celebrity Chef Poh Ling Yeow.
After your morning coffee, lace up your walking shoes to see the sights of the city on foot. Victoria Square is located right next door to Central Market. Take a snap of the historic fountain before following King William St to Rundle Mall, the focal point of the South Australian capital that’s home to some creative public art and ornate architecture. There’s no shortage of places for lunch, or you could stock up on confectionery from Adelaide institution Haigh’s, which has been serving SA’s favourite chocolate since 1915.
Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8203 7200
Haigh’s Chocolates, 2 Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8231 2844
Follow Pulteney St to North Terrace, a leafy boulevard full of classical sandstone buildings that provide a glimpse into Adelaide’s history. Stroll through the grounds of the University of Adelaide, then tick off the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian Museum, the State Library of South Australia and the Migration Museum, which are all wedged into this rich cultural precinct.
When you reach the South Australian Parliament and the extravagant Adelaide Casino sitting above the main railway station, wind your way to the River Torrens for one of Adelaide’s postcard perfect views: looking across the water towards the glitzy new Adelaide Oval. The stadium is worth a visit even when there’s no game of footy or cricket on; you can learn about Adelaide’s sporting history in a museum dedicated to history’s finest Cricketer Don Bradman, or scale the roof for panoramic vistas over the city and its surrounds.
South Australian Museum, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8207 7500
Migration Museum, 82 Kintore Ave, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8207 7580
Adelaide Oval, War Memorial Dr, North Adelaide SA 5006, Australia, +61 8 8211 1100
Follow the river to the Botanic Garden, and check out the Adelaide Zoo, the second oldest zoo in the country. Pack a picnic for dinner if you feel like dining alfresco, or book a table at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant if you want something a little fancier, containing plenty of ingredients sourced from the 51-hectare kitchen garden.
Adelaide Zoo, Frome Rd, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8267 3255
From the Botanic Gardens, you’re not far from the trendy bars around East Terrace: Mother Vine in the old East End Cellars is one of Adelaide’s premier wine bars, serving the top local drops from around South Australia, as well as The William Bligh, a rum-heavy cocktail bar named ironically after the New South Wales governor who tried (and failed) to curb the illegal colonial booze trade in the 19th Century.
Mother Vine, 22-26 Vardon Ave, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8227 2273
The William Bligh, 33 Vardon Ave, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 7226 8927
Now it’s time to explore a little further afield — and you need some serious fuel before doing some serious travelling. Fill your stomach with a hearty breakfast at Peter Rabbit, a quirky cafe that dishes up delicious plates packed with fresh ingredients, including herbs from the garden planted on the roof overlooking the lush, shady garden. Oh, and did we mention the rabbit hole that houses the resident bunnies?
Then swap a rabbit for a koala at Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills, one of the best places in Australia to get up close and personal with one of the country’s cuddliest animals. Breakfast with the birds and interactions with native reptiles are other experiences on the menu at Cleland, which is just around the corner from the summit of Mount Lofty — it’s hardly Mount Everest, but you can’t complain about the sweeping views over Adelaide.
The Adelaide Hills is also one of the many world-class wine regions that ring the South Australian capital. Jump behind the wheel (if you’re lucky enough to have a designated driver), join a tour or even catch an Uber (that’s the advantage of being right on the city’s doorstep!) to the Clare Valley, McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley to tuck into some of the finest wines you’ve ever tasted. And you won’t struggle to find somewhere for lunch — these wine-producing areas are home to hundreds of cellar doors and gourmet eateries.
Head back into the city to catch the sunset at Glenelg Beach, which is a sight to behold when the sun slinks below the horizon with the picturesque jetty in the foreground. A twilight pint also goes down as a treat in the salty sea air, or catch the 25-minute tram back into the city centre to get your evening activities underway.
Glenelg Beach, Jetty Rd, Glenelg SA 5045, Australia, +61 8 8294 5833
Hop off the tram at the Victoria Square stop to explore Gouger St’s galaxy of Asian restaurants. The Chinese fare at Concubine is perhaps the pick of the bunch, or head to South America with a steak at Gaucho’s, which grills some of the most succulent meat this side of Buenos Aires.
Looking for a nightcap? Adelaide doesn’t disappoint. Hindley St is the pulsing heartbeat of the city’s nightlife, and Bank Street Social and Pink Moon Saloon just off the main drag are great spots for a tipple. You can also wet your whistle at Hains & Co in Gilbert Place, Proof Bar tucked away off Waymouth St and the moody small bars that make Peel St so cool, like Clever Little Tailor and Maybe Mae.
Concubine, 132 Gouger St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8212 8288
Gaucho’s, 91 Gouger St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8231 2299
Hains & Co, 23 Gilbert Pl, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8410 7088
Proof Bar, 9 Anster St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia, +61 8 8212 0708