Though the capital city of South Australia, there is no denying that Adelaide is often missed off people’s travel plans or used as a brief stop over for the night.
Always one to do things differently and break away from the typical backpacker route, back in February I decided to settle indefinitely in Adelaide and see what the city really had to offer. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Adelaide Fringe Festival
I was extremely fortunate that I arrived in the city just as the Adelaide Fringe Festival was kicking off and I have to say that the atmosphere for those four weeks was incredible. As the second largest arts festival in the world (after the Edinburgh Fringe festival), and with over 900 events across four weeks there is always something to see and do, from music to comedy, magic, theatre and even circus shows. Performers alike gathered from all over the world as did the visitors to the city. Roads were closed for parades and street performers, bars and restaurants were packed with locals and visitors enjoying live music. The whole city turned into a giant festival.
*Festival highlight: Royal Croquet Club*
In addition to the Fringe Festival, during the months of February and March, Adelaide is also host to the Clipsal 500, an annual motor racing event for supercars and also WOMADelaide, an annual world music and dance festival so the city saw another mass increase of visitors. I guess it’s really no surprise that Adelaide is known as the festival state as there is always some event happening around the city, whether it’s a comedy festival or an international food and drink market.
As a cost conscious traveller, visiting the Botanic Gardens is always the first and also my favourite thing to do when I visit a new city. The gardens are located in the north east of the city, just a short walk from North Terrace. On a beautiful sunny day the gardens is the perfect place to wander or even find a nice shady spot and read a book.
Bike ride the Torrens River
Nice, sunny day? I definitely recommend hiring a bike for free (which can be found all over the city) and cycling the Torrens River cycle track right from the City centre to Henley beach. It is approximately 25km return so it’s a fairly long but easy journey along a cycle/foot path which follows the river the whole way, so it’s pretty impossible to get lost. Once you arrive in Henley Beach (which is just north of Glenelg) you will find cafes and restaurants, and most importantly, gelato, so you can refuel before returning back to the city.
If you get chance definitely head to Glenelg for a day or two. It’s just 20 minutes west of the city and easy to get to by public transport, though the quickest and easiest way is by tram. Glenelg is arguably Adelaide’s more touristy spot, with the beach and main road full of shops, restaurants and cafes. In addition, Glenelg is a great location to catch the sunset which also makes for a fantastic photo opportunity either from the jetty or from the comfort of a beach side bar down at the marina.
*Hostel recommendation: Glenelg Beach Hostel*
Wine tour in Barossa Valley
Adelaide biggest industry is arguably the wine industry and attracts thousands of visitors every year, both nationally and internationally. And not only is it a great day out wine tasting, it’s also a great opportunity to take a drive through the Adelaide Hills which is an absolutely beautiful place. Although you can do “self guided” tours to the vineyards, I definitely do recommend going with an organised tour. It takes the stress away from worrying about driving, plus the wine is so tasty that you will want to finish your glass and go for a top up! In addition there are heaps of organised tours which cater to different age groups so it’s easy to find the one for you with the right vibe. Whilst up in the hills it’s also worth checking out the Barossa Reservoir (or the Whispering Wall as it is known among visitors). The Whispering Wall is famous for its curved/U shaped engineering which enables sound to travel from one side to the other, over 140 meters. Just a bit of novelty fun really.
South Australia, believe it or not, actually has the record highest temperature in the whole of Australia, with temperatures reaching mid 40s during the summer season. And during these hot periods it’s advisable to get out of the sun for a couple of hours. Personally I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with The Adelaide Art Gallery located on North Terrace. Now I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not really in to art”. Well neither am I to be honest, but I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the gallery and admiring the art on display. And the peace and quiet isn’t too bad either. Plus, it’s free!! On the same street there is also The South Australian Museum. It’s one of the most visited museums in Australia and with all the different exhibitions it’s a great place to spend an hour or two.
Of course, Adelaide is not exactly known for its night life, but just like every city there are definitely some hot spots that make for a great night out. Most of the bars/clubs can be found on either Rundle Street or Hindley Street, and the latter you will also find the likes of Woolshed. A number of hostels in the city also join together to do the “Backpacker Pub Crawl” every Saturday. The ticket itself costs around $15 and includes free entry to all the bars/clubs and also one free drink in each. I definitely recommend it because it is a great way to meet people and also familiarise yourself with the Adelaide night life.
*Personal recommendation: The Austral on Rundle Street*
Visit Kangaroo Island
I actually wrote a whole separate blog post on KI, check it out here…