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North Terrace, Adelaide | © Adam JWC/Wikimedia Commons
North Terrace, Adelaide | © Adam JWC/Wikimedia Commons

Top Things To See and Do in Adelaide, Australia

Picture of Tom Smith
Updated: 14 January 2018

With beaches to the west, hills and forest to the east, world-class wine-growing regions in every direction and a vibrant city centre smack bang in the middle, there’s no shortage of interesting attractions for visitors to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. Not sure where to start? You’ll find a few ideas on this list of the top 10 things to see and do in Adelaide.

Swim with dolphins

Bucket list, tick. If frolicking with Flipper is on your list of things to do before you die, then Adelaide provides the perfect opportunity. Just catch the tram to Glenelg Beach, and hop on a dolphin cruise to be dragged through the water while these majestic marine mammals twist and turn around the vessel, flirting with their doting audience.

Patawalonga Boat Haven, Glenelg South SA 5045, +61 8 8233 8888

Taste world-class wines

McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, the Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, Langhorne Creek — yep, Adelaide’s lucky enough to have a buffet of gorgeous wine regions on its doorstep. With grapes first planted in the 1830s and ‘40s, McLaren Vale and Barossa are home to some of the oldest continually-producing vineyards on the planet, with hundreds of cellar doors and acclaimed wineries to explore. The Mediterranean climate means full-bodied reds — Shiraz in particular — are a specialty.

McLaren Vale Visitors Centre, 796 Main Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171, +61 8 8323 9944

Strip off at Maslin Beach

Naturists have been working on their all-over tan at Maslin’s since 1975, making it the oldest legal nude beach in Australia. Located beneath a towering cliff and a 30 minutes’ drive south of the city centre, Maslin Beach has also hosted a ‘Nude Olympics’ since 1983, incorporating events like balloon races, doughnut eating contests and the hotly contested ‘best bum’ competition.

Gulf Parade, Maslin Beach SA 5170

Check out the Adelaide Oval

The recently revamped Adelaide Oval provides South Australians with a world-class sporting arena that still retains the charm that makes it one of the most beautiful cricket grounds on the planet. These days you can watch the Australian cricket team or the Twenty20 Big Bash outfit the Strikers run around in during the summer and the city’s two AFL clubs — the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power — strut their stuff in winter, or even climb the roof for stunning vistas of the area.

Adelaide Oval, War Memorial Dr, North Adelaide SA 5006, +61 8 8211 1100

Adelaide Oval | © Tom Smith

Adelaide Oval | © Tom Smith

Feast at the Adelaide Central Market

Follow your nose through the 80 stalls overflowing with fresh fruit and veg, gourmet meat goods, artisanal cheeses, quality coffee and freshly baked pastries, and your senses will quickly reveal why the Adelaide Central Market is South Australia’s most visited attraction, luring more than eight million visitors through its doors every year.

Adelaide Central Market, 44/60 Gouger St, Adelaide SA 5000, +61 8 8203 7494

Stroll down Rundle Mall

This pedestrian mall is the beating heart of the South Australian capital, loaded with glitzy modern shopping centres alongside historic Italianate arcades. Keep an eye out for the much-loved pieces of public art — the four-metre-tall ‘Malls Balls’ and the pod of bronze pigs scavenging in a rubbish bin — as well as the iconic ‘Beehive Corner’, an ornate Neo-gothic building that houses Adelaide institution Haigh’s Chocolates.

Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000

Cuddle a koala

Imagine the likes you’ll rake in on Instagram when you snap a selfie with one of Australia’s cutest animals, which is an experience you can enjoy at Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills. Koala cuddles, reptile interactions and breakfast with the birds are all on the menu at Cleland, located near the summit of Mount Lofty, which offers sweeping views back over the city.

Cleland Wildlife Park, 365 Mt Lofty Summit Rd, Crafers SA 5152, +61 8 8339 2444

Expand your mind at the South Australian Museum

With evidence of habitation dating back more than 60,000 years, Indigenous Australians maintain the oldest living culture on earth — and this 150-year-old museum curates the the world’s largest collection of Indigenous Australian cultural artefacts among its enormous collection of four million objects and specimens. Next door on North Terrace, the Art Gallery of South Australia is also worth a visit.

South Australian Museum, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, +61 8 8207 7500

See the animals at the Adelaide Zoo

Australia’s second-oldest zoo has welcomed generations of South Australians through its doors since opening to the public in 1883, these days home to 2500 creatures across 250 species. The charity that operates Adelaide Zoo — Zoos SA — also runs the open-range Monarto Zoo, featuring a walk-in lion experience, drive-through cheetah habitat and the country’s biggest herd of giraffes.

Adelaide Zoo, Frome Rd, Adelaide SA 5000, +61 8 8267 3255

Picnic in the Adelaide Botanic Garden

Sandwiched between the zoo and North Terrace’s gorgeous colonial architecture, the Adelaide Botanic Garden provides locals with 51 hectares of green oasis on the northern edge of the city centre. Don’t miss the elegant Palm glasshouse, Australia’s first rose trial garden and the futuristic Bicentennial Conservatory.

Adelaide Botanic Garden, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, +61 8 8222 9311