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Looking for tips on things to do in Adelaide?
As part of our city guides series, we interviewed Nicole Smith from Bitten by the Travel Bug who is an Adelaide native.
Nicole shares with us her insider tips on the best things to do in Adelaide, plus advice on where to eat, sleep, drink, shop and explore.
Adelaide is often the ‘forgotten’ city of Australia or considered ‘for the old fogies’ because it’s more food and wine country. That said, Adelaide is one of the greenest cities in the world, the most affordable city in Australia, and we have a huge passion for sport and the arts.
Adelaide has the best of everything Australia offers within 20-minutes of the city centre – who wouldn’t love that?
Best of all, there’s minimal traffic problems in Adelaide.
Wander the main street and enjoy a proper German stout at the Hahndorf Inn, enjoy the leather or wood-craft stores, eat some lebkuchen (that is, gingerbread) or other traditional German cakes at the bakery, and enjoy the atmosphere.
If you have time I highly recommend you walk or take the bus one stop out-of-town to the Beerenberg Farm. The jams and condiments made by Beerenberg can be found around Australia and internationally, and if it’s strawberry season you can pick your own berries to enjoy.
Connected to the city by Adelaide’s trams (and the historic carriages on the weekends), Glenelg is Adelaide’s busiest beach. Personally, I’d choose to visit Henley Beach if you want to escape the crowds and have clean sands, but you can’t go past the restaurants, bars, shopping and nightlife in Glenelg.
Glenelg’s cleaner and quieter cousin, Henley Beach has white sands, volleyball courts, and quality restaurants and cafes – alongside the local fish&chip and yiros/souvlaki stores.
Henley Beach is quite an artsy places with plenty of galleries along Seaview Road popping up and a weekend organic market.
Rundle Street East
In the city centre, but if you’re looking for boutique stores, a range of pubs and plenty of great places to eat then Rundle Street East is your place to go.
Be sure to check out the laneways as there are more galleries, more restaurants and more shops than just on the main road!
If you’re looking for a central location that’s budget friendly my top choice would be Adelaide Central YHA. Located in Light Square it’s a two blocks to Rundle Mall – Adelaide’s main shopping strip and there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby.
If you’re after luxury in Adelaide then you can’t go past the Intercontinental Adelaide. On North Terrace, you are a stone throw away from Adelaide’s main sights – the Torrens River, Rundle Mall, the museums, and even Adelaide Zoo!
If you are wanting a beachside getaway be sure to enquire about Oaks Liberty Towers and Oaks Plaza Pier at Glenelg. One is on the water and Marina whilst the other is one street back. Offering larger apartment-style rooms it is a great choice for families looking to stretch out and relax.
If boutique is more your style then I’ve heard good things about the Clarion Hotel Soho. Slick, sexy and modern, the Clarion Hotel Soho is perfect boutique hotel for a couple’s getaway.
For more places to stay in Adelaide choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com. You get free cancelation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.
My personal favourite type of shopping is through little boutiques and King William Road, Hyde Park and Rundle Street East take the cake for choices. King William Road can be a little higher priced but check out Wild Child for a great range, though sizes do run small.
Rundle Street has big name bands like Australian designer Lisa Ho and Zimmerman to favourite miss gladys sym choon and alternative chain, Dangerfield. There are also some quirky boutiques in the backstreets including Mid-West Traders.
Adelaide love their markets, but the one closest to our heart has to be Adelaide’s Central Market. Open Monday to Saturday the restaurant is home to fresh produce from across the state, an array of boutique stalls, as well as a camera store and second-hand book seller. If you want a quick, cheap, fresh bite then this is the place to go.
Adelaide also has a Farmers Market at the Wayville Showgrounds. Farmers from across the state come every Sunday to sell their produce and cut out the middle man, meaning you get great tasting produce and get to support farmers from around the state. There’s everything from fruit & veg to baked goods, bottled cordials and small goods.
If fashion and design are more your style then the Gillies Street Market, which happens twice a month, will be a winner with you. Find your inner vintage goddess amongst live music and food stalls.
January we play host to the Tour Down Under. Forgiving all the locals who will done lycra and think they are the next Cadel Williams, Adelaide puts on a good show. Think outdoor parties by the Torrens River, a big parade welcoming the athletes, 7-days of intense racing through the best areas of South Australia, and of course – street parties, the chance for many of the neighborhoods that riders will start/finish in to host a party and celebrate what’s best in that area.
For four weeks during February and March Australia’s largest arts event, the Adelaide Fringe Festival comes to town. Similar to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide opens its doors to artists from around the world to share their art forms – cabaret, comedy, circus, dance, film, theatre, puppetry, music, visual art and design.
The Clipsal 500 is the beginning of a busy March. V8 supercars turn the cities East into a race track. It’s not just the V8 Supercars that will take to the track as the GT championship is back in 2013, as well as playing host to the Dunlop racing series.
WOMADelaide, the dance, music and arts festival is held mid-March. A unique music experience runs over four days in the cities Botanic Park and show cases performances and workshops by the best traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs.
WOMADelaide also has a very cool ‘Taste the World’ cooking program and environmental discussion forum, and supports a number of charitable causes. Best of for families, all kids 12 and under get free entry into the festival!
If contemporary and traditional isn’t the beat to your drum I highly recommend checking out the Future Music Festival. A one-day festival from noon til 10pm, Future Music Festival showcases the best of up & coming or the summers top performers. This year features big name performers like The Prodigy, Bloc Party, Dizzee Rascal, Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding, Fun, The Temper Trap and Psy – and that’s not even half the line up!
Adelaide is also home to the Schutzenfest in January – the cities equivalent to a German beer fest; the Adelaide Festival , an arts festival which runs alongside the Fringe Festival in March, and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June. There’s also the Adelaide Fashion Festival in October for the fashionistas among us!
If you’re in the city centre it’s pretty easy to walk around between the main sites or take the free connector bus.
If you’re heading to Glenelg, from one side of the city to the other, King William Road, or the Entertainment Centre, I recommend you take the tram. It’s one route so easy to get on or off, and if you’re travelling through the city its free!
I’d recommend visitors use buses to get around but to make your own decision check out the Adelaide Metro website or visit the Adelaide Metro store on the corner of Currie Street and King William Street in the city to plan your journeys.
Adelaide isn’t the most WiFi friendly city. I’d say that all hotels and hostels will have WiFi, and many cafes will but it won’t be the best quality.
If you’re having connection problems I’d check out China Town and Grote Street as there is quite a few Internet cafes, otherwise check out Internodes Hot Spot locations for cafes that offer free WiFi.
Little tip from a local – visit between January and March. Not only will you get the best weather but this is when Adelaide really shines and proves that it can compete with Melbourne and Sydney.
Adelaide is a big city and serviced by all Australian airlines (Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar), including many regional ones.
Getting from the airport to the city is easy. It’s about AU$15-20 for a taxi or there are airport JetBus services from the city and many surrounding suburbs.
If you prefer the scenic route, Adelaide is the heart of many of the overland train journeys offered by Great Southern Rail. Take the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin, via. Alice Springs; The Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth, via Adelaide; the Overland from Melbourne to Adelaide; or the Southern Spirit from Adelaide to Brisbane, via. Melbourne.
Trains get into the station at Mile End, and though only minutes from the city I recommend you take a taxi or catch a public bus from Richmond Road.
If you want a view of the city, a great place for a picnic or somewhere to go ice blocking (yes, you sit on a rug on a huge piece of ice and hurtle down a hill!) then I recommend visiting Light’s Point.
Adelaide has the beaches people travel to Sydney for, the arts & culture of Melbourne, plenty of great food, but the laid back attitude of a small city/country town, which makes Adelaide a brilliant blend of everything I want in a city.
We always start our travel research with these trusted websites listed below:
Flights to Adelaide Car Rental in Adelaide BIO – Nicole Smith is an Adelaide born girl behind travel blog, Bitten by the Travel Bug where she documents her solo journey around the world in search of adventure, culture and just a little bit of luxury. When she’s not writing on the blog you can find her on in 140-characters-or-less Twitter or on Facebook. What do you suggest for things to do in Adelaide? Share in the comments. We've helped thousands of readers plan their trips and get on the road. Join our email community and take your first step today!
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Flights to Adelaide
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BIO – Nicole Smith is an Adelaide born girl behind travel blog, Bitten by the Travel Bug where she documents her solo journey around the world in search of adventure, culture and just a little bit of luxury. When she’s not writing on the blog you can find her on in 140-characters-or-less Twitter or on Facebook.
What do you suggest for things to do in Adelaide?
Share in the comments.
We've helped thousands of readers plan their trips and get on the road. Join our email community and take your first step today!Join Us