Street art, world-class festivals, free wifi, free bikes, Central Market, and the undercover Market Shed on Holland Street are all must-sees in Adelaide, which is dubbed the ’20-minute city’. Even the drive from the airport is quick (a joy compared to any London flight hub), and you can get up into the hills and down to the beach pretty fast.
Cricket and football fans should head to the refurbished Adelaide Oval and its beautiful surrounding parklands, all part of the Greater Riverbank Precinct, a long-term revamp project.
Adelaide is set among the four pretty seaside suburbs of Glenelg, Henley, Brighton and Semaphore, and the Adelaide Hills, all worth visiting and within a 30-minute drive from the city centre.
Glenelg is a hip seaside resort set on the far-reaching sandy shores of Holdfast Bay, the site of South Australia’s original mainland settlement in 1836. It’s famous for its wild dolphins, which you can swim with by joining a cruise.
Henley Beach offers gentle surfing, a café culture and al fresco entertainment in the summer, where you can picnic on the sands and watch the sun set over the ocean as a band plays on. Take a stroll down the affluent Esplanade, then turn into Jetty Road for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and cafes.
Semaphore boasts white sands backed by low dunes, which give you the sense of being miles from anywhere. Ride on the oldest working carousel in the Southern Hemisphere, take to the bike track or drop into one of the famous ‘old salt’ pubs to dine beneath the tin ceilings of century-old buildings.
Adelaide’s surrounding countryside
The Adelaide Hills stretch from the Barossa in the north, to the Kuitpo Forest in the south and are a nature-lover’s paradise. Traverse the Cherry Trail passing through Beerenberg, Summertown and the Glen Ewin Estate, where you can handpick strawberries, apples, figs and cherries.
The restaurant scene is also booming, serving cuisine from across the globe. Jock Zonfrillo’s dual-dining concept – with a street food cafe and intimate boutique restaurant, Orana – has been inspired by his love of native ingredients and is being talked about as Australia’s best restaurant.
There is also a burgeoning small bar scene, with Clever Little Tailor being among those credited with starting it off. The wine list is ever changing and the friendly staff will offer recommendations. The Howling Owl’s buttery lighting, lovingly curated art, and an impressive collection of gins, beer and wine also singles this hole-in-the-wall bar out from others.
Grab yourself a nip and window seat, and watch the world pass by. Other hip bars include The Publishers, The Cork Wine Café, Undaberri, Street, Press and Cantina Sociale.
Had your Adelaide fix? Head for tropical Darwin, the Northern Territory’s capital which looks towards Asia across the Timor Sea, surrounded by palms and rainforest and with a deep indigenous culture.
• Take a tour of the Adelaide Central Market. Pick and choose from a vast array of foodie delights at including pastries, bread, cheese, local fruit and vegetables and seafood. Afterwards, head to the Botanic Gardens with your purchases for a gourmet picnic.
• Grab yourself a window seat at one of Adelaide’s secret hole-in-the-wall bar’s such as the The Howling Owl, featuring exhibitions from South Australian artists, local food and a selection of gin
• Eat native at Jock Zonfrillo’s Orana in Adelaide, with unique dishes including everything from Kangaroo Island marron, Geraldton wax to Samphire risotto with smoked ‘roo tail
• Hit Adelaide’s beaches: family-friendly Henley and seaside suburb Glenelg. Enjoy boutique shopping, gentle surf and cool cafes
• Take a stroll along the River Bank Precinct and pop in to the iconic Adelaide Oval for a tour and visit of its museum. Better still, soak up the atmosphere watching the cricket or Aussie Rules football match inside the historic ground.