Intro to Adelaide
When asked what cities we’d be visiting in Australia, we mentioned Adelaide as our second stop. A common response was , “Why?” even from Aussies themselves (maybe even more so). Unassuming Adelaide is often overlooked on the average itinerary. Travelers think first of more famous spots like Sydney, the Gold Coast and Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a shame, as Adelaide has a whole lot to offer. The city that is now capital of South Australia was founded in 1836 by a group from Britain looking to start a colony based on free settlement rather than convict labor. Since those beginnings at the Old Gum Tree, Adelaide has become a vibrant, modern city. It’s compact, and you easily can get from city center to countryside in a half-hour. Temperatures are generally moderate, and when it does get hot, there are lots of parks and greenspaces to cool off in. A number of annual festivals and events keep residents and visitors busy. (We had a ball at CheeseFest in Rymill Park while we were there). Combine this with nearby beaches and wine country, and Adelaide has got it all!
I have family in Adelaide, so we had a bit of an advantage as far as insider tips and free guide services (thanks Cormacks!). Here were the highlights for us:
Adelaide Central Business District
Adelaide Central Business District, with historic landmark buildings buildings built by immigrants (not convicts, the locals like to point out), ample green spaces and museums (including the fascinating South Australian Museum) is a great place for a walk. Check out Victoria Square, Parliament House and Chinatown. The Adelaide Central Market boasts over 80 stalls filled with fresh produce, meat, seafood, cheeses, flowers. . .you name it.
The Wine Regions
Adelaide Hills, Barossa and McLaren Vale Wine Regions: starting just 20 minutes or so east of Adelaide these world famous wine regions are home to a couple hundred wine labels and a multitude of cellar doors set in some very beautiful countryside! A local specialty is Shiraz, but vineyards higher in the hills are known for their Chardonnay, Riesling and Grenache.
Hahndorf and Its Amazing Meat Pies
Views and Roos at Mt. Lofty
From Mt. Lofty, there are sweeping views of the region at the summit. Hiking trails crisscross the range. At Cleland Wildlife Park you can get up close and personal with kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and an assortment of other local fauna. The number of free-ranging kangaroos there was pretty amazing, and some may have little joeys peeking out from mama’s pouch!
Glenelg, where the colony of South Australia was established in 1836. It’s got a popular beach and dining options with amazing views.
Go for a Sail
Sailing from Port Adelaide watching seals, accompanied now and then by dolphins. (This was a special bonus provided by sailing cousins who also cook up a mean curry!)