Although Adelaide is located away from Australia’s east coast, it may make it easy to overlook. But Adelaide’s plethora of restaurants, bars, festivals and attractions more than justify a visit. Adelaide is situated along the south coast near Barossa and McLaren Vale, where the country’s world-renowned shiraz is made. And at the opening of the adjacent Gulf Saint Vincent, you’ll find Kangaroo Island, a strip of land known for its prime wildlife-spotting and picture-perfect surroundings.
If you don’t have time to venture outside the city, don’t worry. You’ll have plenty to see and do in the heart of Adelaide. Nature lovers will appreciate Adelaide Botanic Garden and the Adelaide Zoo, while foodies can sample cheeses, baked goods and more at the Adelaide Central Market. Meanwhile, shopaholics will enjoy browsing the stores found at Rundle Mall. And those in search of culture should head straight to the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum.
Weather – When to Visit Adelaide
The best time to visit Adelaide is from March to May and September through November, during the city’s fall and spring. During these shoulder seasons, rainfall is rare and daytime temperatures sit in the 60s and 70s. You’ll also avoid the crowds and higher prices associated with the area’s peak season, which coincides with the summer holidays and Adelaide’s festival season. (Note: March, the beginning of Adelaide’s autumn, is best avoided if you’re hoping to score a deal, since several top events take place at this time.) June to August, the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, is a great time to visit if you’re on a budget, but you’ll encounter Adelaide’s coldest temps and increased chances for rain.
What Should You Pack?
When figuring out what to pack for the beach, there are two tips to keep in mind. First, forgetting an item isn’t the end of the world. Unless you’re heading for a remote, deserted island, chances are you can find a store where you can pick up the extras. Second, don’t stress out over making a packing list when there’s a stress-free beach travel essentials list for you below:
- Sunglasses and hats offer much-needed sunscreen and flip flops are perfect for navigating hot, sandy beaches. Go pack them now so you’re not kicking yourself later.
- What about those little items that make beach visits so much more enjoyable? For a little extra comfort on your trip, make sure you pack: Lip balm, sunscreen, bug spray.
- Beach toys and goggles are a must for kids. Building sandcastles and viewing the underwater wonders are perennial favorites.
- Take a first-aid kit with you. Hopefully you’ll only have to worry about a few minor scrapes from seashells, but having your own kit handy is a good precaution.
- Beach Bag – Your beach bag will likely contain a few of the items mentioned above. For a well-rounded bag, consider tossing in sunscreen, lip balm, bug spray, first-aid kit and water-proof baggies.
- Beach Gear – No matter who’s supplying the gear, look to have the following items on hand: beach bag, beach chairs, beach towels, beach umbrella or tent, beach cart and a cooler.
- Remember: Don’t wait until you’re parched to drink. When you’re out in the heat and sun, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking regularly. So take along a water bottle as well.
Entry & Exit Requirements
All American visitors entering Australia must have a valid U.S. passport and a tourist visa. For travelers staying less than 90 days, an Electronic Travel Authority (an electronic, label-free visa found on the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website) is required. Some airline and travel agents can apply for an Electronic Travel Authority on your behalf. To learn more about Australian entry and exit requirements, visit the U.S. State Department’s website.
Adelaide Botanic Gardens
Covering more than 124 acres (50 hectares) between the North Terrace and Botanic Park, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens are among the city’s most stunning green spaces. With tree-lined walkways, water lily and lotus ponds, and flower gardens blooming with roses and dahlias, this is an idyllic place for a walking tour. Read more on the Ultimate Adelaide City Walking Tour.
Visit the Barossa Valley, one of South Australia’s most popular wine regions, on this day trip from Adelaide. With a guide, you’ll enjoy wine tastings at Seppeltsfield Winery and Wolf Blass. Learn about the region’s winemaking history, admire the picturesque scenery of the Adelaide Hills and River Torrens, and enjoy a 2-course lunch. To end your tour, stop in the historic German settlement of Hahndorf. Read more about Barossa Valley with Hahndorf Tour from Adelaide
Discover one of South Australia’s wildlife hotspots on this full-day 4WD tour of Kangaroo Island, including round-trip transport from Adelaide by ferry or plane. Spot playful Australian sea lions at the Seal Bay Conservation Park; see echidnas, wallabies and koalas in their natural habitats; and get up close to cockatoos, Tamar wallabies and kangaroos on a guided bushwalk. Read more about Small-Group Kangaroo Island 4WD Tour
Adelaide Central Market
If you enjoy sampling local cuisine, a visit to the Adelaide Central Market is a must. This sprawling market – which has serviced Adelaide’s residents and tourists since 1869 – features more than 80 vendors selling everything from seafood and meat to produce, cheeses and baked goods. An array of cafes serving sushi, pizza, juices and more are also located on-site.
Waterfall Gully is the largest of seven waterfalls situated in Cleland Conservation Park. At this popular outdoor attraction, photographers can snap jaw-dropping photos while fitness buffs traverse the nearly 3-mile-long Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit path, a challenging hiking trail that starts at the base of the waterfall. Hikers report occasionally spotting kangaroos, echidna and koalas here as well.
Things to do in Adelaide
Look for dolphins off the coast of Adelaide on a dolphin-spotting cruise from Glenelg, a seaside town just south of the city. As you glide across Holdfast Bay by catamaran, keep your eyes peeled for some of the thousands of dolphins who live in these waters. To enhance your encounter with these lovable creatures, upgrade your tour to include a dolphin-swimming experience from the boat. Read more about Dolphin Cruise from Adelaid
Kayaking in Coorong National Park
Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore the Coorong National Park—it’s an 86-mile-long (140 kilometers) peninsula of protected saltwater lagoons and sand dunes. This tour provides the equipment and know-how to explore the park’s protected areas without impacting the national ecology. It’s also longer than most other tours of its kind and provides lunch, which means you can concentrate on enjoying yourself on the water. Read more about Half-Day Kayaking Tour in Coorong National Park.
Murray River Riverboat Tour
Escape Adelaide’s urban bustle for a day on the tranquil Murray River during this tour to Mannum, which includes a riverboat cruise. You’ll spend two hours floating along the Murray River, watching for wildlife like pelicans and other birds while morning tea and lunch are served on board. Hear about the history of Mannum’s paddle steamer, and check out the Melba’s Chocolate Factory in Woodside. Read more about Murray River Riverboat Tour
Cleland Wildlife Tour
Meet some of Australia’s most beloved native animals on this day trip from Adelaide to Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills. Learn about koalas, feed wallabies and kangaroos under staff supervision, be amused by wombats and emus, and observe dingos, Tasmanian devils and more. You’ll also visit the Mt Lofty Summit for panoramic views and photo ops. Read more about Cleland Wildlife Park Tour
McLaren Vale Hop-On-Hop-Off Winery Tour
Explore the McLaren Vale wine region at your own pace with a full-day hop-on hop-off winery tour from Adelaide. After departing from the Adelaide CBD or McLaren Vale, ride on a comfortable bus to your choice of more than 15 winery stops. Have plenty of time to hop on or off at any of the selected stops and enjoy the offerings. Read more about McLaren Vale Hop-On Hop-Off Winery Tour
Best Restaurants in Adelaide
Orana $120/240 pp
Adelaide’s Orana is a major standout for George. Lead by internationally-renowned local chef Jock Zonfrillo, Orana boldly uses native ingredients like bunya nuts, green ants and quandongs to create culinary works of art. Orana was named Australia’s Restaurant of the Year 2018 by Gourmet Traveller magazine and Restaurant of the Year 2019 by the Good Food Guide. Telephone: 61 8 8232 3444 Web: Orana
Sunny’s Pizza $11 – 30
Retro and wonderfully kitsch, Sunny’s Pizza is a must-visit Adelaide restaurant. Opened recently by five friends and designed by Adelaide’s Studio-Gram (the architects behind Africola and Osteria Oggi), digging into a pizza at Sunny’s feels like a meal at your most eccentric friend’s house, but with the addition of an awesome bar, DJs and, let’s face it, probably much better food. Telephone: 61 404 280 522 Web: Sunny’s Pizza
Shobosho $41 – 100
The Japanese-inspired menu blends smoke, steam and fire – the ancient traditions of Japanese yakitori – and has drawn Head Chef Adam Liston back to Adelaide after his stints in Shanghai and Melbourne. Décor is slick, rich and warm with a distinctly Japanese feel. Telephone: 61 8 8366 2224 Web: Shobosho
Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar $70 pp
Ex-MasterChef contestant Andre Ursini’s self-titled Cucina & Polenta Bar is another of Gary Mehigan’s best restaurants in Adelaide. Cooking traditional dishes using rich, hearty recipes, everything about Andre’s is warm, inviting and lathered in regional Italian charm. Telephone: 61 8 8224 0004 Web: Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar
Johannesburg-born Duncan Welgemoed serves red hot, authentic South African cuisine at Adelaide’s wildly different Africola. Cooking is done on the fire with a big emphasis on vegetables, seafood and rotisserie meats. It’s colorful, loud, brash and boozy – just as it should be. Telephone: 61 8 8223 3885 Web: Africola
Best Adelaide Nightlife
A magnet for wine lovers, Apothecary 1878 is also one of Adelaide’s most eccentric bars – a Parisian-style parlor decked out with antique pharmacy cabinets, chandeliers and ornate Victorian furniture. Despite its seedy neighbours, this place is a class act with knowledgeable bar staff and a 1,200-strong wine list. Telephone: 61 8 8212 909 Web: Apothecary 1878
Clever Little Tailor
Not only is this space, with its designer tub chairs and exposed rustic stone, romantic, the service is, well, joyful. Settle down with a bottle of wine from the blackboard menu. Unusually for a wine bar, Clever Little Tailor also has several beers on tap – and a decent list of cocktails. There’s only room for 70 people, so arrive early if you want to secure one of the booths. Telephone:
61 407 111 857 Web: Clever Little Tailor
Tucked away down an obscure laneway off Waymouth Street, Proof Bar is boisterous, unstuffy and totally in-your-face. If you wish to avoid life’s temptations then stay away. This Dublin dark bar serves classic cocktails, robust reds and engaging conversation. The house speciality is the Sour House, a mixture of rum, punt e mes, lime, orange, clove and port. Telephone: 61 8 8212 0708 Web: Proof Bar
Feel like a taste of northern Spain? Udaberri has some of the best jamon iberico in Adelaide and a good range of Australian and imported wines by the glass. Plunge into the mood by ordering a few share plates – the Spanish sardines and oven-baked chorizo are excellent. Telephone: 61 8 8410 5733 Web: Udaberri
The Rising Sun Inn
This unusual suburban pub is as far removed from the classic Australian watering hole as you can imagine. The Rising Sun feels more like a private club with its miniscule front bar, intimate dining room, open fireplaces and battered Chesterfields – arrive early if you want to secure one of these. Come here mid-week to experience this establishment at its best. Order a couple of share plates over the bar and a few glasses of local craft beer. Telephone: 61 8 8333 0721 Web: The Rising Sun Inn
Best Adelaide Hotels
The Playford MGallery by Sofitel – Luxury
The Playford Adelaide Mgallery is a boutique hotel in the heart of Adelaide which offers the perfect blend of classical style and contemporary luxury. Located only 9km from Adelaide International Airport this hotel has a stunning Art Nouveau ambience and features 182 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites, luxurious amenities and exquisite cuisine. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit The Playford Adelaide Mgallery by Sofetel.
The Chancellor on Currie – Family Friendly
Inspired by its Neo-Georgian architecture, 4 star The Chancellor on Currie’s 64-room boutique hotel in Adelaide’s CBD is a downtown landmark. Enjoy personalized service, a choice of accommodation styles, indoor heated swimming pool, spa, gym, and complimentary Wi-Fi For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit The Chancellor on Currie.
Ibis Adelaide – Mid Range
Located in the heart of the CBD the hotel’s 311 rooms comprise of the latest Samsung television technology and views over the Adelaide Hills. The restaurant and bar spill out onto balconies that overhang Grenfell Street and share the floor with restaurant and conference facilities. The indoor gym comprises of Technogym equipment and WiFi is located throughout the hotel. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Ibis Adelaide.
Peppers Waymouth – Romantic
Black-tile-and-timber columns frame the Hollywood-glamorous marble lobby of this ultrasleek upscale hotel. Beveled-glass elevators with marble floors, designed to resemble the interior of a diamond, whisk you to snazzy, contemporary quarters of glass, marble, and wood. A picture window separates bathroom and bedroom. The first-floor restaurant can deliver treats day and night; you can work them off in the cerulean-blue tile pool, which has underwater portholes for watching the hotel entrance. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit The Peppers Waymouth Hotel.
Majestic Minima Hotel – Budget
Quirky yet affordable. This boutique property contains 46 compact Unique Art Rooms. All rooms have king size beds, 32” LCD televisions with Foxtel, complimentary WiFi and contemporary ensuite bathrooms. Hotel facilities include guest terrace, undercover parking ($10.50 per night) and free laundry facilities. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Majestic Minima Hotel.