Adelaide is one Australian city where anyone who loves enjoying the good life in style, will uncover secrets to take away, taste and treasure. What impressed me most was the fact that within 90 minutes of travel from the city, you could be scaling a spectacular coastline or exploring an island wildlife haven…. Bungy jumping, Hot Air Ballooning over the vineyards, or even sailing in the midst of sand dunes and even better – discovering the caves and rocks of this amazingly varied landscape.
If variety is “the spice of life”, then Adelaide must be the most happening destination. So many different experiences await you and the best part is that you can walk to most of them from your accommodation and what choice there is! Everything from 5 Star extravagance to the comfort and warmth of a B&B, international hostel, or a laidback cabin on the beach.
The city offers food, wine, and arts, which the world comes to celebrate ….a 30 Kms. long clean sandy coastline spread with stories, water sports, and space to relax….the undulating hills were the wines, wildlife, crafts, and country charms wait to welcome the jaded traveler.
The Cultural Scene
Adelaide prides itself on style, elegance, and high-energy arts. With just over one million residents, it stages an arts festival which the world agrees is among the top three – and the best by far in Australia. The city is also the nation’s largest selection of quality performance spaces and specialist venues.
The grandest of Adelaide’s major thoroughfares in the North Terrace. This is the cultural heart of the city and a “must do” on your tour itinerary. It’s a trip through some of the best treasures and stories of the world – and a way of quickly getting to know this amazing place. North Terrace is exactly 1 mile (1.6 km) long and can be walked easily, but there will be plenty of diversions.
This wide leafy promenade has the State’s main galleries, museums, hotels, two university campuses, and its finest library and Botanic garden. Either side is the main shopping precinct, the arts center, and the River Torrens. Take your time and take it all.
For the connoisseurs of art, the Jam Factory Contemporary Craft and Design Centre welcomes visitors to tour its studios which produce artworks, fashion, furniture, and gifts in metal, glass, wood, and ceramics. Ever seen glassblowing – the red hot blob being transformed into a thing of beauty? Now is your chance. The excellent retail gallery is a must-visit site.
Like in India, the contemporary dance performance and classical music are particularly strong here – being home to the Australian Dance Theatre and Leigh Warren and Dancers, plus the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, Australian String Quartet, and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra among others.
The Street Scene In Adelaide
Adelaide’s historic East End is the city’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan precinct. Transformed over the past decade from its historic function as Adelaide’s wholesale fruit and vegetable markets, the East End blends this heritage with a dynamic café and dining culture, united with unique retail shops, mainstream Art House and IMAX cinemas, hotels, offices, multimedia centers, and a burgeoning inner-city residential population.
Hutt Street is another great café quarter with a relaxed and friendly village-style setting, which blends history into the contemporary. I quite liked the easy sophistication without being snooty. Pavement breakfasts and casual coffees are popular – with tasty lunches in between. Dining under leafy verandahs is one experience I will never forget. The famous dining focal points are the Citrus Café and Nediz Tu, icons of modern Australian cuisine.
Hutt Street is conspicuous by its colonial-era stone buildings and quaint, quiet, cottagey sidestreets that are a real bonus.
Gouger Street is a wonderful meeting of venues, cultures, and cuisines. The market is admired worldwide for its unique qualities and character. The street is renowned for fresh produce and gourmet foods are irresistible – and so are its cafes, coffee shops, and noodle bars where the whole of Adelaide passes through.
Politicians, painters, musicians, tourists, and office workers dine and do their shopping along with chefs, lawyers, store owners, writers, and families. It’s also the place where chefs buy their special clogs. Just outside the main market is the principal dining strip with a great spread of world cuisines including classical French to Argentinean, Vietnamese and Thai. It also ha sits a share of seafood restaurants and cafes.
The scene is set as you climb the hill with your back to the city. Fine mansions, prestigious apartments, and well-kept cottages nestle among the well-established trees and gardens of this up-market suburb.
Alfresco dining is popular along this classy precinct of more than 40 restaurants, wine bars, and cafes. Lunch is a sunny courtyard overlooking the city….pavement dining under old iron lacework verandahs….or amid the bustle of a Mediterranean-style bistro. The Oxford and Royal Oak hotel deliver award-winning food and wine in very attractive settings.
Coastal Adelaide is conspicuous by its distinctive landscape with estuarine environments, extensive sand dunes, offshore reef systems, and geologically significant cliffs that will provide you with something of interest with each bend of the coastal road.
Many kilometers of continuous metropolitan beach bring all of Adelaide within easy reach of the sea. Broken into 4 distinct sections, the coast offers a maritime history, recreational fun, and ecological wonders.
The St.Kilda Mangrove Trail is a “must visit” site. Here you can meander through the mysterious tidal world of the mangrove forest on a 1.7 Kms boardwalk. The nearby Greenfields Wetlands covers 42 hectares of low-lying saline land and has been developed into a stormwater detention basin and wetlands habitat and is home to 150 species of birds.
North Heaven is where you go for a day’s sailing or simply to watch the yachts come and go. Largs Bay is the last remaining metropolitan home for the coastal colony of the Red Capped Plover and 20 indigenous species of coastal plant life and s serene spot for strolling along the sand.
Semaphore hosts an International Kite Festival on its foreshore and the miniature steam train which operates during school holidays is a favorite….not only for the kids.
In 1992 West Lakes was honored with an award as the best residential development in the world. I was fortunate to have a look myself…. marvelous.
West Beach is the closest beach to the city, only 15 minutes away. It is home to an award-winning caravan park and holiday village.
Anyone who swims at Christie’s Beach walks the Tjilbruke Trail, launches a boat at O’Sullivan Beach, surfs at Moana, visits the underwater trails at Port Noarlunga, or simply watches the sunset over Witton Bluff will know and appreciate the value of Adelaide’s coastline.
Rolling hills with neat vineyards run beside forests of gum trees and orchards. The home of sparkling wines so good, the French premier champagne house Bollinger came to have a look and appreciated the quality. The Adelaide Hills are reckoned by many to soon become Australia’s premier wine region. It certainly has all the right ingredients of climate, soil, and altitude. In fact, it’s like the whole of Europe in one little mountain range.
For tourists, it’s the perfect tasting territory …. Scenic drives, friendly welcome at the cellar door, lunch at the winery perhaps or nearby restaurant…. And the chance to buy what is increasingly becoming recognized overseas as some of the world’s best wines. The villages are dotted about the ranges and you can understand the character which goes into each bottle – especially if you are lucky enough to meet the winemaker themselves on a tour.
It is reported that Queen Victoria received a celebrated hock wine from the region in 1845 and exports were established from here. This wine came from Echunga – equally famous for its gold mine. Who knows if the winemaker knew he had struck a rich seam with his plantings.
Today the Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from the Lenswood area are highly regarded and the Chardonnay from Chain of Ponds has helped create the up-market “White Grange” Yattarna label. The whites are judged fragrant and vivid and the reds – the Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot particularly – judged fine and elegant.
The beauty is you can make your own decision during a delicious tasting session of your own.
Parks & Gardens
Within 30 minutes from the city, you will find ancient forests…the chatter and laughter of parrots…and parks and gardens full of amazing wildlife and avian species.
At Cleland, you can wander freely among Kangaroos, Wallabies, Emus, and Waterfowl and meet a Koala. Enjoy a night walk or Aboriginal trail. Morialta and Para Wirra offer fabulous bushwalking and Hallett Cove offers dramatic coastal views.
As far as gardens are concerned, Adelaide is set in the middle of Parklands and its surrounding areas offer an amazing selection of experiences ….dreamily romantic rose gardens, fountains, and avenues of fragrant blossoms…and even a tall rainforest are just minutes away from the city center.
The real city’s elegant Botanic Gardens with rare flowers, fountains, cool green sanctuaries, and a historic Palm House offers refreshing recreational avenues for the jaded traveler. The Adelaide-Himeji Garden recreates a classical Japanese setting and a Linear Park, you can cycle or walk from the hills, through the city to the ocean…while the Open Garden Scheme presents more than 60 private gardens to the public.
Self Drive Tours
Self Drive tours are increasingly being preferred by the discerning international traveler. It is easy to hire a car and follow the suggested itineraries in the publication – “Adelaide Self Drive Touring Itineraries and Map, From the Hills to the Sea”. It includes map-referenced and themed itineraries, including adventure, antique, arts, food, and wine, heritage, parks, and gardens.
Barossa Valley Wine Tour
This being my first visit to Australia and the fact that I am a wine buff, I was advised by the Tourist Information Center at Adelaide to embark on a 190 Kms. drive that would take me through the best parts of the Barossa and Eden Valleys. And I must tell you….this is wine buff heaven!
Points of interest en-route included the Big Rocking Horse at Gumeracha, the National Motor Museum at Birdwood, the Collingrove Homestead, and the Bethany Art & Craft Gallery in Angaston. And of course, the cellar doors beckoned everywhere.
There is another equally enchanting Self Drive option vis-à-vis the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Peninsula Tour.
McLaren Vale And Fleurieu Peninsula Tour
This is a lovely drive of just under 290 km. from Adelaide to McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek wine regions, and the very best Fleurieu coastal scenery. Highlights include the historic hills township of Hahndorf, picture-perfect Strathalbyn, the popular coastal resort of Victor Harbor, and the more than forty-five welcoming cellar doors of McLaren Vale.
Traveler’s Fact File
Daily international services fly directly into Adelaide International Airport, while direct domestic flights are very frequent. Typical flight times to Adelaide are 1 hour from Melbourne, 90 minutes from Sydney direct. There are also indirect services that fly to Adelaide via other cities.
Driving From Sydney
From Sydney, it’s 1632 Kms. to Adelaide via the national capital, Canberra, and the historic towns of the Murray River. This route can be driven comfortably in three days.
Then there is the wine route to Adelaide, a 1486 Kms drive taking in the magnificent Blue Mountains, the wine regions of New South Wales and Victoria, and then the nation’s premier wine center – the Barossa Valley.
A third drive is a 1670 Kms outback journey via Broken Hill. However, it’s important to make careful preparations for this route.
Driving From Melbourne
Here’s your opportunity to take one of the world’s great coastal drives, The Great Ocean Road. Offering some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in Australia, this two-day 1160 Kms trip from Melbourne brings you into Adelaide via the Coorong, the lower reaches of the River Murray, and the wine country of the Fleurieu Peninsula.
An alternative route of 1040 Kms takes you through the historic gold rush country of Victoria and into Adelaide via the towns of the River Murray. It can be driven comfortably in a full day.
A little shorter is the 850 Kms drive via Bordertown, Tailem Bend, and Murray Bridge.
The Indian Pacific
The Indian Pacific is one of the world’s great train journeys. It spans the continent, 4352 Kms. from Sydney to Perth and you can climb aboard and travel to Adelaide from either city in the luxury of a sleeping cabin.
Sydney to Adelaide takes 24 hours offering a Blue Mountain sunset, outback dawn near Broken Hill, and the beautiful mid-north of South Australia. Perth to Sydney is an 11/2 day adventure across the awesome Nullarbor Plain.
The original Overland pioneered the concept of the straight-through inter capital rail journey in Australia last century. Today’s stylish train offers sleeping cabins or aircraft-style seats for the overnight journey of 774 km. from Melbourne to Adelaide.
If only 5 Star will do, Adelaide’s international hotels can check you into anything from a penthouse to a first-class suite or room equal to anything in the world.
Motel accommodation is plentiful or you can try an inner-city serviced apartment complete with its own self-catering kitchen.
Adelaide’s backpacker and youth hostels are of a very high standard and extremely popular, while caravan parks, many with luxury on-suite cabins are a great family alternative.
Staying By The Sea
Adelaide’s long stretch of suburban beaches is well endowed with seaside stays, from 5-star hotel rooms to budget motels, from flats and apartments to guest houses, and welcoming bed and breakfast accommodation in private homes.
Country & Outback Stays
The appeal of the countryside is even more appealing when you stay in a restored cottage in an Adelaide Hills orchard or beside a vineyard in one of the state’s world-famous wine regions.
You can stay on a farm, perhaps in a fully restored shearer’s quarters or you might find yourself tucked up in bed in a miner’s cottage. And what could be more evocative than a few nights in a stately country home for a glimpse of how Australia’s farming aristocracy once lived?
In the outback, you can stay in 5-star comfort underground, bush cabins, wilderness lodges, self-catering cabins, or at a campsite under the stars.
If you yearn for a river holiday, you can be your own captain aboard a luxury houseboat or cruise as a live-in passenger on a first-class riverboat. Ashore there are great choices too, including riverside cabins, cottages, caravans, and campsites.