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Adelaide travel guide | Where to stay and what to do

Everything you need to know to explore the city.

Adelaide might be known as the “city of churches”, but it offers so much more than a steeple-speckled landscape.

Fringed by parklands and brought to life by a rich music and arts scene, its lively atmosphere is marked with an exceptional number of cultural events and celebrated with world-class wines. Naturally, a day trip to the Barossa Valley to visit the area’s award winning wineries is a must.

For families and beachcombers, the must-see destination is Kangaroo Island. It’s a short bus and ferry ride from Adelaide, though it feels miles away. The island boasts a unique coastal landscape of native birds, sea lions, penguins and rock formations. Stick around for the sunset. You won’t regret it.

Fast Facts About Adelaide

Main airport: Adelaide Airport (ADL).

Ground transport: Bus, train and tram.

Weather: Adelaide experiences four seasons. Summers are warm and dry with average temperatures of around 29°C. Winters are mild with maximum temperatures of 15°C.

Top 10 must-see destinations: Kangaroo Island, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide Botanic Garden, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Zoo, Himeji Gardens, Adelaide Gaol, the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Central Market and Mount Bold Reservoir.

Best places to stay in Adelaide

  • Adelaide CBD: Bordered by a series of parklands, Adelaide is very much a walkable city. Staying in the city centre is ideal if you’re in town for an event held in spaces such as the the Adelaide Festival Centre, the Adelaide Convention Centre or the State Theatre.
  • North Adelaide: Located north of the River Torrens, this leafy suburb features heritage-listed pubs and hotels, as well as popular dining hotspots. It’s an ideal base for visiting Adelaide Oval and Adelaide Zoo.
  • Glenelg: The charming seaside suburb of Glenelg is a top spot to soak up some sunshine on powder-soft sand and swim with dolphins in crystal clear waters.
  • North Terrace: Bordering Adelaide CBD and North Adelaide, North Terrace is the optimal base to explore both suburbs. It’s also just minutes from Rundle Mall.
  • Kangaroo Island: Despite being part natural reserve, a handful of accommodation options are available on the serene Kangaroo Island. These range from lodges to retreats.

Check out accommodation options in Adelaide:

Top things to do in Adelaide

  • Explore Kangaroo Island: Kangaroo Island is an unspoilt ecosystem of Australian native wildlife. Spare a day to take the ferry across to gaze on its New Zealand fur seals and touch its rock formations.
  • Cruise along the Murrary River: Cruise down a section of Australia's longest river in style, aboard the paddleboar Captain Proud.
  • Go to gaol: Adelaide Gaol is an historic icon of South Australia. It’s the longest continuously operating jail and the best way to visit it is by ghost tour. Definitely not for faint-hearted!
  • Dine on some of the region's best produce: Adelaide’s Central Market offers some of the freshest and best produce in the city. Take the ultimate food tour through its grounds to sample its finest.
  • Sip fine wines: Although known as the city of churches, it would perhaps be more correct to called Adelaide the city of wines. A bevy of world-class wines come from the nearby Barossa Valley region and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll make some time to visit on your trip.
  • Dive into the blue: Adrenaline junkies shouldn’t pass up the chance to test their nerve on a shark dive… inside a cage, naturally!
  • Visit Adelaide Oval: Arguably the most iconic sporting venue in the city, Adelaide Oval is worth a visit. Cricket fan? Get ready to see where all the action takes place up close and personal, and gaze on memorabilia from the sport’s greatest players.
  • Meet the critters at Adelaide Zoo: Adelaide Zoo is Australia’s second oldest zoo and is famously known as the home of the only Giant Pandas in the country.
  • Cruise down Mount Lofty: Get on your bike and get your adrenalin fix riding down Mount Lofty all the way to Adelaide.

KangarooIsland.SeaLions


Best events to attend in the year:

  • Adelaide Fringe: This arts festival is the second largest in the world and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Held over a month, it features a local and international lineup of comedians, musicians, magicians, circus acts, actors and cabaret performers. Various venues, 17 February - 19 March 2017.
  • Adelaide Festival: A mix of performances, exhibitions and workshops, Adelaide Festival has been entertaining audiences for over 55 years. It includes a Writers’ Week of workshops and talks. Various venues, 3-19 March 2017.
  • WOMADelaide: This feel-good music and dance festival is an icon of Adelaide and attracts international and local indie artists. Adelaide Botanic Park, 10-13 March 2017.
  • The Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Celebrating Australian art, the Biennial features works by contemporary artists across a variety of exhibition spaces throughout the city. It’s held every two years with the next Biennial being due in 2018. Various venues, February - May 2018.
  • Tour Down Under: Australia’s premier cycling race is a nine-day affair comprising of various events for various capabilities. While there are competitive stages, it also hosts family ride days and street parties that everyone can enjoy. 14-22 January 2017.
  • Clipsal 500: This is the largest domestic motor sport event in Australia and draws thousands of petrol heads to the sidelines every year to witness the professionals put the pedal to the metal. Adelaide Street Circuit, 3 March 2017.

How much will a trip to Adelaide cost?

Accommodation

  • Budget: Hostels from AUD$28 per person/per night.
  • Moderate: Moderate hotels and serviced apartments from AUD$65 per room/per night.
  • Luxury: 4-5 star hotels and resorts from AUD$93 per room/per night.

Typical meal

  • Main: $19.50 for a 300g chicken schnitzel with salad and chips at a nice pub.
  • Beer: From $7 for a craft beer on tap during happy hour.
  • Coffee: An average of $3.50 for a takeaway cappuccino.

Getting in and around

  • Uber: Uber launched in Adelaide in 2016 and is a comparable alternative to taxis. Only UberBLACK is available from the airport, which will cost you $27-$35.
  • Taxis from the airport: Approximately $27.
  • Local transport from the airport: Shuttles and buses operate between the airport and the city. Shuttles cost $10 one way. Bus prices start from $3.40 depending on distance and time.
  • Local transport throughout Adelaide: Adelaide is serviced by buses, trams and trains. 3-day visitor passes are available for $26 and provide you with unlimited travel across the Adelaide Metro network for three consecutive days. Alternatively, single public transport tickets start from $3.40 per ride (off-peak).

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is a journalist, avid traveller and all-round bargain hunter. If there's an online coupon code, deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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