Adelaide Travel Guide

Adelaide is one of the best-planned cities in Australia. The mountains along the inner boundary and the sea along the outer boundary define Adelaide. The beautiful Torrens River runs through the parklands in the city center. Adelaide is known as the city of churches and none more magnificent than St Peter’s Cathedral. Standing atop Montefiore Hill is Colonel William Light, watches over the city he helped found.

The capital of South Australia doesn’t have the population of other Aussie cities like Sydney or Melbourne. It has a reputation for being a tad staid with the title of the City of Churches. But Adelaide is far from the sleepy town you might think. It has two world-renowned arts festivals, a passionate sporting population and some of the finest eateries and vineyards on its doorstep. There are many Adelaide tours that can be taken. One of the most popular is Kangaroo Island lying just over 110km southwest of Adelaide.

Adelaide Guide & Travel Information

Adelaide is close to the beach with a choice of Glenelg, Semaphore and Henley beach only a few minutes from the heart of the city. The beach atmosphere is relaxed with wide beaches and white sands. And the little cafés along the beaches make it a relaxing way to spend a Sunday – take the dog for a walk along the beach, stop for breakfast and watch the waves break onshore.

Tours of Adelaide

Popular tours on the island include: Seal Bay, where rangers talk you through the habits of the enormous sea lions as you walk through the animals basking and playing in the sun; Flinders Chase National Park, with its massive rock formations, stunning eucalypt forests and windswept lighthouse; Kelly Hill Caves with its subterranean maze of stalactites and stalagmites; and Emu Bay where native wildlife like can often be found playing behind the sand dunes. Oh – and don’t miss the fabulous Vivonne Bay, once voted the best beach in Australia!

Improve your wine tasting skills with one of the many vineyard tours offered in the famous Barossa Valley wine region. Complement the wine by sampling some of the region’s best gourmet produce – ranging from boutique chocolates to world-class cheeses.

Be guided through significant Aboriginal sites in the Coorong National Park by the traditional owners, the Ngarrindjeri people. Learn some of the traditional arts like basket weaving and share the magic of traditional stories shared by the elders. Cruise the shallow lagoons with ease in flat bottomed boats or rent a kayak to see the multitude of birdlife who seek refuge in the area.

A taste of Europe in the heart of the Adelaide Hills, Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest German settlement. Sample the gourmet delights while strolling the tree-lined streets, then visit the Hahndorf Academy, a regional center for heritage and the arts. Explore the local galleries and cellar doors, then stop in at the Hahndorf Inn for a German pint to round out the day.

With 35ha of native grasslands and forest reserve, Cleland Wildlife Park offers a hands-on approach to getting to know Australian wildlife. Roam around the open enclosure with the kangaroos, or get up close and personal with a cuddly koala. Be educated and entertained with daily live animal feedings, including Tasmanian devils, dingos, pelicans, and snakes. Stay late for the nocturnal tour, where you’ll see what the animals get up to when the sun goes down! Find and book cheap flights, hotels, vacations and rental cars with Expedia.

victoria-square

Adelaide the capital of South Australia is one of the best-planned cities in Australia. The mountains along the inner boundary and the sea along the outer boundary define Adelaide. The beautiful Torrens River runs through the parklands in the city center. Adelaide is known as the city of churches and none more magnificent than St Peter’s Cathedral. Standing atop Montefiore Hill is Colonel William Light, who watches over the city he helped found.

Award-winning hotels line the city streets from where you can walk to the Casino housed in the restored old Adelaide Railway Station, and the magnificent Parliament House in North Terrace. You can review hotels in Adelaide here.

Adelaide’s population is around 1.1 million people but it is a city that is easy to get around and there are many transport options.

Adelaide is so close to the beach with a choice of Glenelg, Semaphore and Henley beach only a few minutes from the heart of the city. The beach atmosphere is relaxed with wide beaches and white sands. And the little cafés along the beaches make it a relaxing way to spend a Sunday – take the dog for a walk along the beach, stop for breakfast and watch the waves break onshore.

Take a ferry on the Torrens River to the Adelaide zoo or a tram to the beach at Glenelg. The city center of Adelaide is a contrast of beautiful old buildings and the modern Adelaide city center measures just one square mile and has many attractions that are well worth visiting.

Adelaide travel

Adelaide Attractions

Adelaide offers plenty of things to do and we have a selection of Adelaide activities that we feature on our Travel Guide. We do suggest that you click the headings and browse as many are unique and there are some wonderful things to do in Adelaide that we have found.

Around Adelaide is the Barossa Valley, Kangaroo Island, Glenelg, and Victor Harbour. Wine is very much part of life in Adelaide and most visitors find the time to travel around the Barossa Valley, best done on a tour with a driver! Adelaide provides for lots of tourism opportunities and there are many Adelaide attractions. Maybe visit the South Australian Museum, Adelaide Botanic Garden or perhaps enjoy the National Wine Centre, read more about Adelaide museums. Adelaide has many historic buildings and includes Ayers House, Government House, and the Old Adelaide Gaol.

Art Galleries are found all over Adelaide and include the Art Gallery of South Australia and many other commercial art galleries. Parks are famous in Adelaide and many to explore including Adelaide Botanic Gardens or maybe walk around Victoria Park.

Adelaide Animal Attractions

Adelaide Zoo
This popular zoo is located in shady parklands and only walking distance from the city center. Highlights are the South East Asian rainforest and the Children’s Zoo which has a petting area and nursery. Frome Road, Adelaide (08 8267 3255).

adelaide zoo

Cleland Wildlife Park
These beautiful parklands are situated just 12km from the city center and offer magnificent views of Mt Lofty and the scenic Waterfall Gully. Highlights are the new Ocean to Outback Interpretive Centre which is an interactive journey through South Australia’s diverse landscapes. There are daily animal feeding presentations, koala close up and handling sessions and 90 minute guided nocturnal wildlife tours. Mount Lofty Summit Road, Crafers (08 8339 2444).

Cleland Wildlife Park

Gorge Wildlife Park
This park has one of the most comprehensive collections of privately owned animals and birds in Australia. See all your favorite native animals as well as some exotic breeds such as monkeys, alligators, meerkats, and otters. Reddan Drive, Cudlee Creek (08 8389 2206).

Hahndorf Farm Barn
At this unique farm, you can hold, touch and feed the animals. Guests are free to roam around the barn and can also jump into the pens to touch and feed the many tame animals. You can hold guinea pigs and baby chickens, pat miniature horses, and bottle feed lambs and goats. Located in the popular tourist village of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, a thirty-minute drive from the city. Lot 100 Mount Barker Road, Hahndorf (08 8388 7289).

Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary
This native wildlife sanctuary was established in 1969, it is home to 100 species of birds and native mammals and is situated 25 minutes from the city. There are animal shows, self-guided walks, and nocturnal tours. Stock Road, VIA Sterling (08 8370 9197).

Adelaide Art Galleries

Adelaide Central Gallery
This gallery was founded in 1987 and has quickly become a prominent contemporary art gallery in Adelaide. There are 12 exhibitions annually by emerging and established artists from around Australia. 45 Osmond Terrace, Norwood (08 8364 2809) Bus or walk from CBD

Art Gallery of South Australia
This impressive gallery holds one of the finest art collections in Australia, which are housed in a beautiful, historic building. North Terrace, Adelaide (08 8207 7000). Walk from CBD

adelaide art gallery

 

Art Images Gallery
This modern gallery is located in Norwood, it features contemporary Australian art, by local and interstate artists. 32 The Parade, Norwood (08 8363 0806). Bus from city
The Jamfactory
The Jamfactory has four onsite studios that specialize in contemporary craft and design. Visitors can watch the artists in action as they create designs in glass, ceramics, furniture, and metal. Located in Adelaide’s West End Arts precinct. 19 Morphett Street, Adelaide (08 8410 0727). Bus or walk from CBD
Greenaway Art Gallery
This large converted warehouse shows a variety of artworks including painting, sculpture, and photography. 39 Rundle Street, Kent Town (08 8362 6354) Bus or walk from CBD
Hill Smith Gallery
Established for twenty years and featuring two floors of exhibition space, this gallery is in the heart of the CBD. It displays contemporary artwork by local interstate artists. 113 Pirie Street, Adelaide (08 8223 6558)
New Land Gallery
This public gallery provides an opportunity for the emerging country and regional artists to display their works, by displaying 8 exhibitions annually. 2 McLaren Parade, Port Adelaide (08 8444 0400).

Adelaide Beaches

Beaches stretch all the way down the coast from Semaphore in the north, via Henley Beach, West Beach, Glenelg, Brighton, Marino, O’Sullivan Beach, Christie Beach and Aldinga Beach to Sellick’s Beach in the south. The most famous and most popular is that at Glenelg. The nudist beach is Maslin Beach, between Noarlunga and Aldinga.

Beaches

Aldinga Beach
This beautiful scenic beach is located in the seaside resort of Aldinga, close to Glenelg. This beach is popular with sunbathers, families, swimmers and scuba divers The Esplanade, Aldinga Beach, Adelaide (08 8323 9944)

Boomer Beach
This beach is suitable for experienced surfers due to its huge waves and strong currents. A great beach in Winter for whale watching as often humpback whales can be seen from the shoreline. Ocean Road, Port Elliot (08 8552 5738)

Brighton Beach
This beach in the Glenelg area is another good family beach, also popular for fishing and snorkeling. Esplanade, Adelaide (08 8229 9980)

Henley Beach
This is one of Adelaide’s most popular beaches due to its proximity to the city. A great beach for swimming, and has plenty of eateries and shops nearby. Esplanade, Henley Beach, Adelaide (08 8463 4500)

Henley Beach tour

Glenelg Beach
Glenelg is Adelaide’s most popular seaside resort, located 11km southwest of the city. Its long white sandy beach is clean and safe which makes it a great beach for families and swimming, it is also surrounded by lovely picnic areas, a great esplanade and many restaurants, cafes and bars.

adelaide beaches

Adelaide Parks and Gardens

Adelaide Botanic Gardens
At the eastern end of North Terrace are the cities Botanic Gardens, founded in 1855. Bicentennial Conservatory, the largest greenhouse in the southern hemisphere can be found in these gardens, it has up to 4000 plants from Australia and Malaysia, including rainforest trees. The Botanic gardens also feature an International Rose Garden. North Terrace, Adelaide (08 8222 9311)

Botanic Park
This huge park of 34 hectares is located in the Northeast Parklands, close to the zoo and Torrens river. The park is ideal for picnics and hosts many major events. Hackney and Frome Roads, Adelaide

adelaide parks

City Sk8 Park
Adelaide’s premier skate park was opened in 2000 and is very popular with skateboarders and spectators. The park can be used day and night as it has lighting and camera surveillance 24 hours a day. North Terrace, Adelaide

Elder Park.
This popular city park is adjacent to the River Torrens and the Adelaide Festival Centre. There is a very modern outdoor dining area, as well as a kiosk. King William Street, Adelaide

Mt. Lofty Botanic Gardens
These gardens are on the eastern slopes of the Mount Lofty Ranges, less than half an hour from the CBD. They include several walking trails that cover the seven valleys in the gardens, all displaying magnificent views. Summit Road, Crafers (08 8370 8370)

Victoria Park
This large park is comprised of a motorsports street circuit, the Victoria Park Racecourse, plus walking, running and cycling tracks and is bordered by some beautiful stately homes. Fullerton Road, Wakefield Road, and East Terrace, Adelaide

Wittunga Botanic Gardens
These gardens have a beautiful lakeside setting and are great for picnics, family gatherings and strolling through. They are located in Blackwood. Sheperd’s Hill Road, Blackwood (08 8379 8370)

Adelaide Wineries

Barossa Valley Wineries

The Barossa is Australia’s most well-known wine-growing region, with up to fifty wineries operating in the area. Situated only a half hours drive from Adelaide, with beautiful scenery along the way, and plenty of towns and wineries to stop for refreshments. Listed below are some popular wineries in the area, most have tours and open cellar doors, with wine tasting and sales.

  • Kellermeister Wines
    Barossa Valley Highway, Lyndoch (08 8524 4303)
  • Kies Family Wines
    Barossa Valley Highway, Lyndoch (08 8524 4110)
  • Penfolds Winery
    Tanunda Road, Nuriootpa (08 8568 9408)
  • Rockford Wines
    Krondorf Road, Tanunda (08 8563 2720)
  • St Hallett Winery
    St Hallett’s Road, Tanunda (08 8563 7000)
  • Wolf Blass
    97 Sturt Highway, Nuriootpa (08 8568 7311)
  • Yalumba
    Eden Valley Road, Angaston (08 8561 3200)

Adelaide Hills Wineries

The Adelaide Hills not only boasts some of Australia’s most beautiful scenery but is also one of the oldest wine regions in this country. The predominant wines produced here are Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Also to be found here are award-winning restaurants, quaint hotels, and B&Bs. The wineries listed below are scattered throughout the Adelaide Hills with most having open cellar doors, winery tours, and tastings.

adelaide wineries

  • Arranmore Vineyard
    Rangeview Road, Carey Gully (08 8390 3034)
  • Ashton Hills Vineyard
    Tregarthen Road, Ashton (08 8390 1243)
  • Bendbrook Wines
    Pound Road, Macclesfield (08 8388 9773)
  • Bird in Hand Winery
    Corner Bird in Hand and Pfieffer Roads, Woodside (08 8389 9488)
  • Chain of Ponds Wines
    Main Adelaide Road, Gumeracha (08 8389 1415)
  • Hahndorf Hill Winery
    Lot 10 Pains Road, Hahndorf (08 8388 7512)
  • Leabrook Estate
    Adelaide-Lobethal Road, Lobethal (08 8331 7150)
  • Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard
    Harris Road, Lenswood (08 8389 8339)
  • Nepenthe Wines
    Jones Road, Balhannah (08 8388 4439)
  • Shaw and Smith
    Lot 4 Jones Road, Balhannah (08 8398 0500)

Adelaide Historic Buildings

Ayers House
Ayers House in North Terrace is one of the most historic of Adelaide’s buildings. From 1855 until 1897, this was the home of Sir Henry Ayers, the man after whom Ayers Rock is named. He was premier of South Australia on five different occasions, but only for a total of four years, between 1863 and 1873. The house was actually built in 1846 for William Paxton, a chemist in the city, but it was purchased by Ayers in 1855 and he then lived here until his death in 1897, gradually expanding the building into the 41-room mansion which stands now. Subsequently, it was used as a dance hall and then as nurses’ quarters, but now it is a museum. 288 North Terrace, Adelaide (08 8223 12340).

Beehive Corner
This small but incredible building gained its unusual name because of its turret and beehive cement moldings. It was built in 1895 and is a good example of neo-gothic architecture. Restored in 1998, it is the entrance to the Rundle Mall in the CBD. 32-40 King William Street, Adelaide

General Post Office
The General Post Office is on the corner of Victoria Square, in King William Street. Not all of the fine stone building is now used for its original purpose, but part of it still is.

Government House
This is the oldest Government House in Australia. The oldest part of Government House, the East wing, dates back to 1839. This house is the private residence of the Governor but it does have two open houses per year, garden tours a few times annually and some charitable and community events in the grounds.
Corner North Terrace and King William Street, Adelaide ( 08 8223 1655).

Edmund Wright House
Edmund Wright House was built in 1878 as the Bank of South Australia. The ornamental work required the skills of expert craftsmen, some brought from overseas to undertake the task. The building became unoccupied in 1995 and was used as the State History Centre. It now hosts occasional functions and exhibitions. King William Street, Adelaide

Holy Trinity Church
This is the oldest church in South Australia. The foundation stone was laid by Governor Hindmarsh in 1838. The clock was made in 1836 and shipped from England. It has recently been restored. North Terrace, Adelaide

H.M.S. Buffalo
In Glenelg, five minutes’ walk north of the town center and close to the Sailing Club is a replica of H.M.S. Buffalo, which made the journey from Portsmouth in 1836 to bring the first settlers here. The original ship was later wrecked off New Zealand, but this replica was constructed from the original Admiralty plans. It was built here between 1980 and 1982 and is a seafood restaurant and museum. Corner Adelphi Terrace and Anzac Highway, Glenelg (08 8294 7000).

Jetty Road
Jetty Road is the main street in the seaside suburb of Glenelg. The tram line runs along this street and tram rides are free for the length of Jetty Road only. Here can be found the main shopping area, as well as several historic buildings, including the Congregational Church, now known as St. Andrew’s Uniting Church. The original church here opened in 1859 and is now used as the Church Hall. The present Italianate church was built in 1880. The pipe organ, with 1,068 pipes, was installed in 1883.

Light Square
Light Square contains the grave of and memorial to the man who designed this city, Colonel William Light.

light square

King William Street
King William Street, the principal street of the city, is wide and lined by some imposing buildings.

Memorial Rock
Memorial Rock in Glenelg marks the place where Colonel Light and his team disembarked in 1836 to begin the task of searching for a site for the capital of South Australia. From the center of Glenelg, walk north along the foreshore past the Surf Life Saving Club and as far as the isthmus, about five minutes walk, to find this spot.

National Soldiers’ War Memorial
On the corner of Kintore Avenue and North Terrace stands the National Soldiers’ War Memorial, erected in 1931.

Parliament House and Old Parliament House
Parliament House is in North Terrace between King William Street and the Railway Station. The western part of this building (Old Parliament House) was constructed in 1889, but the remainder was not added until 1939. When Parliament is not sitting, there are tours of the building between 10:00 and 14:00. When Parliament is sitting, the public is admitted to watching proceedings from 14:00.

Old Adelaide Gaol
The Old Adelaide Gaol was opened in 1841 and operated until 1988, it is located centrally in Adelaide’s parklands. Forty-five prisoners were executed here during the Gaol’s period of service, including Elizabeth Woolcock in 1873, the only woman to be executed in South Australia. At first, the executions used to take place outside the main gate but later condemned prisoners were hanged on a gallows inside the Gaol. On weekdays you can do a self-guided tour of the Gaol, there are guided tours on Sundays as well as Ghost Tours, Night Tours, and Sleep Overs! 18 Gaol Road, Thebarton (08 8231 4062). Bus from city

Railway Station
The Railway Station, in North Terrace, is a fine stately building constructed in 1928. It is still used as the terminus for all suburban rail services, operated by diesel railcars, but, sadly, not for any long-distance services. Go down the ramp at the corner, or the steps a little further along North Terrace to reach the trains.

Ruthven Mansion
Ruthven Mansion is in Pulteney Street, near North Terrace. It was Adelaide’s first block of city flats, constructed in 1911.

Scots Church
The Scots Church is in North Terrace, on the corner of Pulteney Street. It was constructed in 1850 and is the second oldest church in Adelaide, known for its stained glass windows and its sanctuary furnishings.

Tandanya Complex
At the eastern end of Grenfell Street, the Tandanya Complex is to be found. This is a center for aboriginal art and culture from all over Australia. Art and artifacts are available for purchase and there are didgeridoo performances every day at 12:00. The center is open daily from 10:00 until 17:00. Tandanya is the name of Adelaide in the local aboriginal language.

Tattersalls Hotel
Tattersalls Hotel, in Hindley Street, was built in 1882. Kelly’s Heritage Bar features original heritage decor.

The Old Gum Tree
The Old Gum Tree is some two kilometers north-east of the Glenelg city center and is the tree beside which Governor Hindmarsh chose to read the Proclamation of the Establishment of South Australia on 28th December 1836. A re-enactment is held on the same date each year. .

Victoria Square
Victoria Square, in the heart of the city, has a fountain in its center. From its southern end, the only remaining tram service in Adelaide departs for Glenelg.

Adelaide Events

South Australia is not called the festival state for anything; there are many different events that are held throughout the city each year drawing international performers and audiences. From concerts and theatre to annual cultural festivals, there is always something happening throughout the city.

WOMAdelaide

WOMAdelaide is probably the most famous of all events in the South Australian capital. The funny-sounding name of the festival stands for the World of Music, Art, and Dance Adelaide. This is a spectacular celebration of world music in the beautiful surrounds of the Botanic Gardens. The festival is held for four days in March with several stages set up to showcase performers from all over the globe. In addition to the music performances, there is a speakers’ corner, the Global Village that has more than 100 food stalls, several bars, and clothing, and craft stalls, a Kids Zone and visual arts exhibitions, workshops and roaming performers. Some of the exciting past performers and groups who have graced the stage at WOMAdelaide include Xavier Rudd, The Beautiful Girls, The Cat Empire, Peter Gabriel, Sarah Blasko, Crowded House, The Gadflys and many, many others. Every year this exciting festival gets bigger and better with more and more cultural events and workshops added to the program.

Adelaide Fringe Festival

The Adelaide Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere and the second largest fringe festival in the world. Held over a period of 24 thrilling days and exciting nights it features the full spectrum of visual arts from dance to stand up comedy and anything and everything you can imagine in between. From humble beginnings, in the early 1960s, there are now more than 250 venues around the city that are transformed into performance spaces with more than a million people attending events. The festival includes a great range of both free and ticketed events and it is open to anyone to apply to take part in the program. Highlights of the festival include the opening night party, the Fringe Family Weekend and the Garden of Unearthly Delights.

Bigpond Adelaide Film Festival

The Bigpond Adelaide Film Festival is considered by many to be the most important film event held in Australia and it is also listed in Variety Magazine’s world top 50 Unmissable Film Festivals. Since 2002 it has been exposing audiences to film from every nook and cranny around the world and has proudly hosted uncountable premieres. The program provided each year is always exciting and features groundbreaking documentaries, short film and feature-length movies for all tastes and interests.

Tropfest

Each February Adelaide becomes the epicenter of the short film world when it hosts Trop Fest, the world’s largest short film festival. It has been recognized internationally and on Aussie shores for the contribution that is made to the short film industry and often attracts homegrown and international artists. Past audiences have included such actors Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Naomi Watts, Ewen McGregor, Gabriel Byrne and Salma Hayek and directors such as Baz Lurhmann and John Woo. This is a free outdoor event accompanied by live music and entertainment along with international food stall and bars. If visiting Adelaide towards the end of February, you should definitely try to coordinate your trip to coincide with Tropfest.

Barossa under the Stars

Since 1997, Barossa under the Stars has become one of South Australia’s premier events and its line up is feverishly anticipated by music fans around the country. Just an hour out of Adelaide, the event is held over the summer in the open air surrounded by the vineyards. This idyllic setting has already played host to such world-class performers as Sting, Chris Isaak, Shirley Bassey, Rod Stewart, John Farnham, and the Beach Boys. Get your fill of fine music, wine and dining out under the glorious Barossa skies with the Food and Wine Village supplying copious amounts of the finest fare for your gastronomic titillation.

Come Out Festival

The Come Out Festival is Adelaide’s children’s festival of creativity, contemporary art, and fun. It is the largest event of its kind in the world and has tickled the creativity bone of millions of children since it began in 1974. Each year there is an exciting program of events for children up to age 14 and families to explore and participate in.

Crush Festival

If you are partial to a fine drop of wine or two, then a visit to the Crush Festival in the Adelaide Hills is in order. Held at the end of January many of the state’s finest wineries have their goods on display during the festival and in one hedonistic day you can enjoy some of Australia’s best wines, take a wine appreciation course, chill out with good friends, good wine, good food and music at one idyllic location in the Adelaide Hills.

There are so many different events and festivals that are held throughout Adelaide and its outskirts during the year, that you are bound to find something that really excites you. Many of these events are unique or internationally acclaimed and celebrated.