Visitors to Australia often neglect Adelaide in favour of the bigger Eastern cities. The capital of South Australia is a city of around 1.3 million people and is located on the south coast of Australia, about half way across the country. It is renowned for it’s food and wine, with three wine regions only an hour from the city centre. It is also the gateway to the outback and to stunning Kangaroo Island. Lonely Planet voted South Australia as one of the world’s top 10 regions to visit in 2017, and in 2018 Adelaide is the world’s tenth Most Liveable City. Adelaide is also one of the ten great wine capitals of the world – it really is starting to come into it’s own. Street art is flourishing, laneway bars are popping up all over the place and the place is starting to buzz. Here are a few ideas for things to do in Adelaide.
NEW (Oct 2018) – I have just created a Facebook Group to answer any questions you may have about travel in South Australia. We can help with any queries you have, make further suggestions and provide the latest information. Click here to join now.
Adelaide Free Walking Tour
One of my favourite things to do when I arrive in a new city is a free walking tour. These are usually run by young, enthusiastic guides who will spend a couple of hours telling you a little about the history of the city, important or popular attractions, local tips and recommendations and answer any questions you may have. The tour of Adelaide city is no exception. This is also the perfect opportunity to get recommendations for restaurants and nightlife, hear about local events, and see some of the quirky areas that may not feature on other tours. While the tours are free, the guides rely on tips, so don’t forget to leave a little something at the end. Click here for the Tours Around Adelaide website for times and details.
West End Brewery Tour
While visiting South Australia why not take a tour to see how one of the popular local beers is made. The West End Brewery is located just a couple of tram stops out of the city centre and has been in operation on this same spot since 1886. Now they make a variety of beers and ciders and have recently started doing tours including tastings of many of them with matching food. During your tour ensure you look for the colours painted on the brewery tower. This will tell you the current reigning SANFL (football) champions and the runners-up, ensuring no one in the city can forget who has the bragging rights this year! Click here for times and prices for the West End Brewery tours.
Adelaide Central Markets
Adelaide Central Markets are fully undercover fresh produce markets located in the CBD between Gouger and Grote Streets. They have stalls of local and other gourmet foods. There are places to eat and get coffee, and so this is a perfect place to wander for an hour or two taking in the sights and smells. Tastings are on offer and every stall will tempt you. I have yet to walk through there without taking home more than I planned.
The markets are open from Tuesday to Saturday, with live music on Friday evenings to add to the atmosphere. There are also cooking demonstrations and the popular “Producer in Residence” stall shows of different local businesses from week to week. To see our review please go to OurWorldinReview.
Want to learn more about the Adelaide Central Markets? There are many different tours offered, from short visits to chef’s tours. Click here to see the array of tours and the latest prices.
Adelaide Gaol Ghost Tour
The Old Adelaide Gaol contains one of the oldest buildings still standing in the city, and it is said to be the most haunted site in South Australia, so this is the tour to hear some creepy stories and spot some ghosts. As the only state in Australia not to have convicts, the South Australian penal history is slightly different, and this is the perfect opportunity to learn about it. Click here to see prices and details of the Adelaide Gaol Ghost Tours
Adelaide Oval is one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world. About three years ago the oval was completely redeveloped, doubling the capacity and turning it into not only a beautiful venue, but also one of the best in the world to watch cricket or Australian Rules football (AFL). It is also used occasionally for other football codes as well as big-name concerts. In the past Rolling Stones, Guns ‘n Roses and Adele have all played on the oval.
Before arriving in Adelaide be sure to look up if there is an event on at Adelaide Oval and get along and enjoy. If you are lucky you will see one of Adelaide’s spectacular sunsets as the sun sinks down behind the western stands. It is also possible to do a tour of the oval, or do a roof climb to see the playing surface from a whole new angle. Click here to see prices for the Stadium tour or the Adelaide Oval roofclimb.
Haigh’s Chocolate Factory
Haigh’s Chocolate is one of South Australia’s most iconic brands. The company is now over 100 years old and produces some of the most delicious chocolate around. The flagship store is located in the same place it has been since the company began, in the distictive Beehive Corner building on the corner of Rundle Mall and King William Street. To tour the factory though, you will need to make your way to just outside the city centre in Parkside. The tours are free, and include some chocolate tastings and tea and coffee afterwards. There is also a factory outlet on site to purchase all the chocolates, and you may even be able to pick up some cheaper imperfect products that won’t be going to the retail stores. More more details and to book the free tour click here.
Note: there are many day tours that include a visit to the Haighs Chocolate Factory. If you prefer to combine a visit with other attractions to allieviant the need for transport, click here to see some options.
Get out of the CBD and head down to the coastal suburb of Glenelg. With pristine beaches, this is the perfect place to visit in the early evening to watch the sun sink into the ocean. Catch the tram from the city and it will drop you off at the end of Jetty Road, within metres of the beach. Spend some time wandering up and down the street and then browse through the shops. Grab a coffee or a snack in one of the many cafes along the strip, or as the sun goes down head to one of the beachfront venues to watch the colours. If you have kids with you, the popular Beachouse is a great entertainment area with waterslides, dodgem cars, mini golf and much more. Also on the beachfront is arguably the best free playground for kids in Adelaide.
Visit the State Library of South Australia.
Libraries have evolved a lot over the last few decades, and the State Library of South Australia is no exception. With the recent addition of a glass entry area, the library is now a great location for many travelling exhibits that come to Adelaide, so it’s worth calling past as you walk down North Terrace to see what is on.
One of the library’s permanent collections is the Bradman Collection. Sir Donald Bradman is arguably the best batsman the game of cricket has ever seen. He is revered in the sport, and in South Australia, for the person he was after his playing years were done. During his lifetime he began donating some of his personal memorabilia to the State Library, starting with small items like scrapbooks, but towards the end of his life he donated much bigger, more personal and valuable items. Some of the items have been moved to the new cricket museum at Adelaide Oval, but most items still remain here at the library.
While visiting ensure you have a look at the Mortlock Wing. This part of the library was the original library building opened in 1884. The building is very traditional, all dark timber, wrought iron and that lovely musty book smell. The ground floor now houses many small displays, showcasing South Australian life, ranging from sports, to childhood, to arts and architecture.
If you want to learn a little more about the library, free tours are run each weekday. Have a look at the website to see if there is a time and tour to suit you.
Hire a BBQ Boat
Looking for a unique picnic lunch idea? Why not hire a BBQ boat and spend an hour or two floating around the Torrens River while cooking and eating a delicious meal. Boats are available for up to ten people, so you can bring a group, or select a smaller, more initmate boat for a completely private romantic meal. Click here to see more details and prices.
Adelaide Zoo is an easy walk north of the CBD along Frome Road. It is home to more than 2500 animals, including the only pandas in Australia. It is a leafy location and perfect to visit with a picnic lunch to enjoy while sitting on the central lawns.
During the day there are many animal displays and talks, including feeding the lions and panda talks. There are also extra activities that can be booked in advance such as Meet the Keeper, Animal Encounters and Behind the Scenes experiences. There can also be extra displays, usually during the Australian school holidays.
Adelaide Riverbank Segway Tour
Segways tours are so much fun and they are surprisingly easy to use. After only a couple of minutes training you will be zooming alone. This tour meanders around the riverside precinct taking in Adelaide Oval, the Festival Centre and the Adelaide Zoo along the way. Currently undergoing a huge revival, this area is fast becoming the new heart of the city, with riverbank bars, new outdoor spaces, and soon, a new Festival plaza. Click here to see prices and availability of the tours.
Adelaide Museums and Art Gallery
Next door to each other on North Terrace are both the South Australian Museum and Art Gallery. Both are free to enter and are a good way to while away a couple of hours. Both also hold special exhibitions from time to time so check out their websites.
Just around the corner on Kintore Avenue is the Migration Museum which has displays based around immigration and the settlement of South Australia. Again, entry is free.
Further to the west along North Terrace is the MOD museum, opened only recently in May 2018. Describing itself as a “future-focused museum” it has lots of interactive, immersive displays that challenge perceptions. Entry to this museum is also free.
Pedicab Street Art Tour
Changes were made to the city bylaws only a couple of years ago to allow street art to flourish in Adelaide. Now the city actively helps match up artists with walls and amazing murals can be found around every corner. With Adelaide’s emerging street art scene there comes street art tours. Why not try one with a difference, by jumping in a pedicab. These electric Eco-caddies with be driven around the city centre by an experienced guide who will tell you all about the street art you will see on your tour. Click here to see prices and details of the Pedicab Street Art Tours
Don’t know where to start when looking for somewhere to eat in Adelaide? Why not try out a food tour so you can experience some places that would not have been considered. We recently did a Night Safari walking tour with Foodi, a full review can be found on OurWorldinReview. It was a great night out with some delicious food so now we are looking forward to trying one of the many other tours they have available in the future. There are cupcake and dessert tours, wine bar tours, craft beers, brunch or high tea, and more. Go to the Foodi website to find out more.
Gouger Street/Rundle Street
There are two busy restaurant strips in Adelaide, Rundle Street and Gouger Street. In either of these you will find many choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There is not only a wide variety of food, there is also food ranging from takeaway to grab a quick bite on the go, to fine dining restaurants. A walk down either of these should provide you with something to satisfy the hunger pangs.
Visit the Pigs in Rundle Mall
Adelaide’s premier shopping mall is right in the centre of the city. Not only are there shops to suit anyone, there are many restaurants and cafes for a bite to eat or to grab a barista coffee. There are often buskers and other forms of entertainment in the Mall too. During your visit be sure to check out the controversial pig statues and the local meeting place, the Malls Balls.
Adelaide Day Trips
Adelaide is right in the middle of many different wine regions. It is almost essential to do at least one of the many available wine tours while you are here. The three most popular regions are the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.
If you prefer a more organised day tour, click here to read my post on the Best Adelaide Day Tours
Looking for more tickets or tours? Click through one of the options below to search further.
Transfers from Adelaide Airport into the City Centre
On arriving into Adelaide by plane, there is no long commute from the airport here.
- It’s a short 10-15 minute taxi or Uber ride into the city centre from right outside the doors.
- There is also the JetExpress bus that will take you straight into the city for only the price of a normal public transport ticket.
- If you prefer a shuttle straight to the door of your hotel they are available for $10AUD per person and run approximately every half an hour. You will find the desk straight in front of you as you come down the escalators from a domestic flight into the baggage hall. From international arrivals, turn left and walk a few metres towards the domestic baggage hall and the desk is on your right.
- If you would like to organise a private transfer in advance, click here to see the latest options and prices.
Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.