Welcome to Adelaide

A group of friends enjoying lunch and wine at the Lane Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills
Spend some time at the Lane Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. Photo: Adam Bruzzone, South Australian Tourism Commission

 

Adelaide is often called the 20-minute city because it's so easy to get around, making it one of the world’s most liveable cities. Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and it is charming and charismatic. Adelaide and South Australia are also home to world-famous Australian wineries, festivals, parks, art galleries and museums, and is renowned for local home-grown produce. With all of this on offer, it's time to book that holiday to Adelaide and South Australia.
 

Getting around Adelaide

Put on your walking shoes otherwise use the buses, trains and trams to get around. There’s two free city loop buses that get you around the city centre and to key landmarks. Get yourself a Metrocard Visitor Pass for 3 days of unlimited travel. While there’s so much to explore in Adelaide, you don’t want to miss out on what’s just outside so I would recommend you book all-inclusive tours or consider hiring a car. 

Take a tour of Adelaide

A couple on an EcoCaddy tour of Adelaide

Take an EcoCaddy tour around Adelaide. Photo: SA Tourism
 

  • Take one of the many sightseeing tours of Adelaide. Tour highlights include visiting Haigh’s chocolate factory; a Torrens River cruise where you’ll see local landmarks such as Victoria Square, Trinity Church, Parliament House; lunch at the seaside town of Glenelg; and a visit to Adelaide zoo.

  • Take a guided tour through Adelaide Central Markets and meet the local producers, sample local coffee beans, fruit, nuts, chocolate, yoghurt, meats and cheeses.

  • Take a Choco Latte walking tour and taste the city's top coffee and chocolate cafes. You start at Haigh's Chocolates (my favourite chocolatier) and work your way down Rundle Mall, sampling and learning lots of delicious and sweet information.

  • Cycle your way around Adelaide using the city’s free bike system.

  • Do a free self-guided Adelaide walking tour. Download free itineraries here. Otherwise, join a free Flamboyance walking tour and give a tip at the end of the tour.

  • Take a photography tour where a professional photographer will show you how to capture the best sights that the city has to offer.

Popular attractions

People on an Adelaide oval rooftop

Book an Adelaide oval rooftop climb. Photo: Che Chorley Photography
 

  • Adelaide Gaol is a popular place to hang out, particularly when you’re only a visitor. Go behind the bars and get a taste of what life was like for almost 300,000 prisoners that lived here over the 147 years that the goal operated. Why not book an Adelaide Gaol history tour, twilight tour or ghost tour – if you dare.

  • Head to Adelaide Oval to watch a game of Australian football (AFL) or cricket, or to see some of the biggest names and musicians perform. Book tickets to see the Adelaide Strikers in a cricket match during the summer. In winter, watch the Adelaide Crows or Port Adelaide show off their footy skills on their home turf.

  • For something a little different, book an Adelaide Oval roofclimb tour where you'll get amazing views over the city. These tours also run during major sporting event which means you get to hear the crowd roar and all the action on the field from the oval rooftop.

  • Cruise down the River Torrens on a gondola, kayak, canoe paddle boat or cruise boat.

  • Mega Adventure Sky Challenge which takes adventure to a whole new level of fun from playing tennis or riding a bike in the sky, to the ultimate challenge - the ParaJump.

Adelaide beach & water activities

A woman in the water at Glenelg beach in Adelaide

Head to Glenelg beach for a swim. Photo: Lucy Adamopoulos
 

Adelaide's beaches are easy to get to, plenty to choose from, and are gorgeous all year round. They pretty much run in one long strip along the coastline, but each one is very different. Pack your hat and towel and choose from North Haven, Sellicks beach, Henley, Grange or West beach.

  • Head to seaside suburb of Glenelg which is just 20 minutes drive from Adelaide CBD. If you don't have a car, take the tram from Adelaide to Glenelg and enjoy a bit of sightseeing along the way.

  • Pack your swimmers and towel because when you get to Glenelg, you're going to want to spend some time on the beach. Glenelg beach is one of Adelaide's most popular spots to hang out, and you won't be lost for things to do. There's beach volleyball, playgrounds for the kids to have a swing or slide, BBQ areas in case you want to dine alfresco, and the nearby Beachouse amusement centre with water slides, ferris wheel, carousel and arcade games.
     

A couple strolling along the jetty at Glenelg in Adelaide

Stroll along the jetty at Glenelg. South Australian Tourism Commission
 

  • Take a bike ride around Glenelg. If you don't have your own wheels, you can hire free bikes through the Bike SA program.  

  • Take a guided walking tour or do a free self-guided walk to uncover Glenelg's history and to catch a glimpse of the beautiful mansions. There's plenty of walking trails and Adelaide is wonderfully flat so it makes for easy walking.

  • Wander along the esplanade and out to the jetty where you can throw a line and do some fishing, or buy some ready-made fish and chips and watch the sunset.

  • Take a dolphin sightseeing cruise where wild dolphins and bottlenose dolphins swim up to the boat if they want to play. This is your chance to snorkel and play with these beautiful creatures. 

  • Glenelg is also the place to do some retail therapy with the Harbourtown factory outlet shopping and plenty of other stores happy to help you spend some money.

Adelaide's animal adventures

A panda bear at Adelaide Zoo

Meet Adelaide Zoo's pandas "Wang Wang" and "Funi". Photo: Simon Wilson
 

  • Adelaide Zoo is an iconic Adelaide attraction and is home Wang Wang and Funi, the zoo's famous giant pandas. There's 3,000 other animals, bird, reptiles and fish living in this city oasis.  Adelaide Zoo is near the River Torrens and is next to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens (on Frome Road). Walk from the city centre, drive, or catch the Adelaide Connector bus from the CBD.

  • Monarto Safari Park is Adelaide Zoo's sister park, and is an hour drive from the CBD. This is an open range zoo and sanctuary where over 500 animals roam free. You'll feel like you're on an African safari when you board the jungle bus to see the cheetahs, lions, giraffes, rhinos, and other exotic and endangered species. If you don't have your own car, take the LinkSA bus that has a direct service from Adelaide CBD to Monarto Safari Park.

  • Head to Adelaide's Dolphin Sanctuary in Port Adelaide where 40 bottlenose dolphins live and another 300 dolphins drop by for a visit regularly. There's also long-nosed fur seals and endangered Australian sea lions, plus sea birds that shelter in the 10,000 year-old mangrove forest. Get up close to these beautiful locals by booking a kayaking or paddleboarding adventure. Adelaide's Dolphin Sanctuary is 20 minutes from the city.

  • Cleland Wildlife Park is in the Adelaide Hills (20 minutes drive from the CBD). Buy a bag of animal food from the park and you will literally have the local koalas, kangaroos, emus, wallabies and waterfowl eating out of the palm of your hand. The trick is to move slowly and quietly so the animals are comfortable getting close to you. Other animals you’ll spot around the park are wombats, echidnas, bettongs, dingoes, native birds and reptiles.

 

A family hand feeding the kangaroos at Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills

Hand feed kangaroos at Cleland Wildlife Park. Photo: Paul Torcello, SA Tourism
 

  • Add a Kangaroo Island day trip to your itinerary. It's a 16-hour round trip by road but it is well worth making the effort. Otherwise, splash out on flights to Kangaroo Island which will give you more time to explore this beautiful place.

Adelaide's parks & gardens

A group of people mountain bike riding in Cleland Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills

Go mountain bike riding in Cleland Conservation Park.
Photo: Sven Kovac, SA Tourism

 

Adelaide is like a Russian doll. The city has parks within parks and more parks around the corner or a short drive from the city. If you love green spaces, you're in the right place. 

  • Visit the Adelaide Botanic Gardens (located in North Terrace) and enjoy a walk, jog or find your own patch of grass and relax with a good book. Book a free guided walk or grab a free map at the visitors centre and head off on a self-guided walk around the gardens. The Adelaide Botanic Gardens are an easy 20-minute walk from the CBD. Otherwise, jump on the free city tram or take the free city connector bus that loops around the city and stops at popular city attractions including the Botanic Gardens.

  • The Adelaide-Himeji Garden is a traditional Japanese garden. Walk through the ornate gates and find spaces to meditate, paths that take you past flowing waters and gardens, and a teahouse. The gardens are a 15-minute walk from the city centre in South Terrace.
     

A couple hiking in the Adelaide Hills in Cleland Conservation Park.

Take a hike in the Adelaide Hills in Cleland Conservation Park.
Photo: Sven Kovac, SA Tourism

 

  • Take a hike up Mount Lofty which is in the Adelaide Hills and only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide CBD. The walk up Mount Lofty takes between 1.5-3 hours but you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over Adelaide city when you reach the top. Mount Lofty has a few walking trails to choose from including: 

    • the popular 7.5km Heysen loop trail that takes in the Mt Lofty summit, the Mt Lofty Botanical Gardens, and the stringybark forests of Cleland Conservation Park.

    • the 5km Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty Summit hike that takes about 2 hours to walk.

  • Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens are at the base of Mount Lofty, and is well worth exploring. There’s outdoor sculptures and art, walking trails and tours, gullies and gardens, and wildlife including birds, turtles and flying foxes.

Food and wine in Adelaide

People walking around Adelaide Mall with Haigh's chocolate shop in the background

Sink your teeth into Haigh's chocolates while in Adelaide.
Photo: Tourism Australia

 

  • Adelaide Central Markets is the tastiest way to experience this city and is one of the oldest indoor markets in the world. For the past 140 years, Adelaide Central Markets has been selling all kinds of delicious fresh produce under one roof, from fruit and vegetables, cheeses, seafood, meats and small goods, and tasty bakery treats. The markets are open from Tuesday to Saturday.    

  • Head to Haigh’s Chocolates Visitor Centre for a free guided tour of the factory and some sweet-tasting samples. (Haigh’s is a delicious Adelaide home-grown company).
     

People walking through the Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide Central Market. Photo: Ian Routledge, SA Tourism
 

Visit the world-famous South Australian wineries. There are more than 200 cellar doors to choose from. Absolute must-visit wineries are in the Adelaide Hills which is just an hour out of Adelaide. Be sure to stop by the nearby town of Hahndorf which is Australia’s oldest German settlement and renowned for hearty German food and great wines.
 

A woman sipping a glass of wine at one of Adelaide's vineyards

Enjoy a tipple at Adelaide's cellar doors. Photo: Tourism Australia

Adelaide's museums & galleries

South Australian Museum

Visit the South Australian Museum. Photo: Adam Bruzzone, SA Tourism
 

Head to North Terrace which is the cultural precinct of Adelaide. (North Terrace is a major street in the CBD, not a suburb and is well serviced by trams and buses.) North Terrance is home to many of Adelaide’s museums and galleries including:

  • South Australian Museum has the largest collection of Australian Aboriginal artefacts. You can also take the Adelaide Aboriginal Cultural Walking Tour. Entry is free.

  • Art Gallery of South Australia is filled with painting and artworks from all over the world. You’ll be hard pressed to see all 40,000 paintings, sculptures, sketches, photographs and designs on display. General admission is free, and charges apply for some exhibitions.

  • Migration Museum is where you'll discover migrant family stories and struggles. Entry is free.

  • The National Wine Centre is a delicious museum like no other. This place pays homage to ‘all things wine and wonderful’. Take the wine discovery journey guided tour or book a wine tasting tour where you can sample over 120 different wines including top drops from South Australia’s famous Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale. The National Wine Centre is on Botanic Road, which runs off North Terrace. 

  • South Australia Parliament House which runs free guided tours when Parliament is not sitting. 

  • State Library of South Australia offers free self-guided walking tours of its many exhibitions and collections. learn about Adelaide's dark criminal past, architectual tour, and the exceptional people that shape Adelaide.

  • Walk towards the yellow painted windows to discover Ace Open art gallery and a range of free exhibitions and creatives works by contemporary artists.

  • An easy walk or bus ride away from North Terrace is Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. This is the oldest Aboriginal-owned art museum which has free exhibitions, tours and amazing storytelling indigenous Australians.
     

A group of friends having a drink at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide

Drink your way around this delicious museum. Photo: Randy Larcombe, National Wine Centre of Australia
 

  • GagProjects is a funky warehouse gallery on Rundle street that promotes the best local contemporary talent, connecting artists with institutions and private collectors.

  • Check out Jam Factory (on Mophett Street and just off North Terrace). You’ll find workshops and exhibitions by Australia’s up-and-coming designers showing off their ceramics, glass, furniture, jewellery and metal work. Take a free tour and be sure to watch the glass blowing designers in action.

Adelaide's festivals & events

A performance with masked dancers at the Adelaide Fringe Festival

Be part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Photo: Meaghan Cole, Blunderland
 

South Australia is known as Australia’s festival state because it hosts many national and internationally acclaimed events. I promise you, Adelaide knows how to throw a good party.  There's plenty of eclectic cultural experiences, modern performance art; music, film, street art, and dance. So get your culture on and experience Adelaide's festivals.

  • The Adelaide Fringe is Australia’s largest festival for art, music, outdoor theatre, film, and dance. Adelaide Fringe Festival has 100's of pop-up venues in parks, warehouses, laneways and empty buildings, plus theatres, hotels, art galleries and cafes. Artists and performers from all over the world take part in this four-week-long party in February and March.

  • WOMADelaide outdoor music festival features traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs, street theatre and visual artists. This four-day festival is held at the Botanic Park in March.
     

A little girl dressed up and enjoying the WOMADelaide festival

Another festival not to be missed is WOMADelaide. Photo: Megan Crabb
 

  • The Adelaide Festival brings together the best in international music, theatre, dance and arts every summer for two week.

  • Adelaide Writers’ Week brings together writers and thinkers for a week of readings, discussions and debate.

  • The Adelaide Film Festival runs for 11 day in October, and according to Variety Magazine “is one of the Top 50 unmissable film festivals around the world.”

  • The South Australian Living Artists Festival (SALA) is everything 'art' including sculpture, painting, photography, moving images and installations. Exhibitions are everywhere, from traditional galleries and studios to cafes, restaurants, wineries and shops.  

  • Enjoy the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June, and the Feast Festival in November that celebrates all things “queer”.
     

The Santos A cyclist being cheered on by spectators at the annual Tour Down Under bike race in Adelaide
  • The Santos Tour Down Under is held every January and attracts some of the biggest names in world road cycling. Photo: Meaghan Coles, SA Tourism

Choose Your Destination

Where will you travel to next?