Best Things to Do in Adelaide

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With a population of 1.35 million people, Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia. Designer William Light wanted the city to be surrounded by parks and public gardens (totalling 900 hectares of green space). The city of Adelaide thus offers a perfect balance between nature and modernity. It is quieter and more affordable than Sydney or Melbourne, but is still a cosmopolitan and big city. Adelaide is also called City of Churches due to the religious diversity. It is a place known for its good food, wines, and festivals. In 2017, Adelaide even ranked 10th in the list of most liveable cities.

Getting to Adelaide

Both international and domestic flights depart from Adelaide Airport. From Europe, it takes about 24 hours for two flights and a stopover. From Melbourne, the flight is only 1 hour 20 minutes and 2 hours from Sydney.

Adelaide Airport is located 15 minutes by car or 25 minutes by bus from the city centre. Some hotels in the city centre offer a shuttle service to pick you up from the airport.

If you’re travelling by car, you’ll drive about 14 hours from Sydney to Adelaide. It takes 8 hours from Melbourne to drive on the famous Great Ocean Road!

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Seasons & Climate

The climate in Adelaide is Mediterranean, hot and dry in summer and cool and wet in winter. The average temperature in mid-summer is 30 degrees and 15 degrees in winter.

In the summer (December to February) the temperatures are between 15 and 30 degrees and it rarely rains. The precipitation in Adelaide is the lowest in Australia. In summer, temperatures in the city centre reach 45 degrees. Remember to walk around with a hat, sunscreen, and water!

Autumn (March to May) is very pleasant in Adelaide, with little rain and average temperatures between 12 and 23 degrees. The gardens and parks of Adelaide are beautiful at this time of the year.

In winter (June to August), the temperatures drop by 10 degrees. It even happens that it freezes on the hills of Adelaide. Although it is less sunny, this season is perfect for whale watching.

In spring (from September to November), the average temperatures are between 12 and 22 degrees. The days are mild, but the nights are cool.

The best time to visit Adelaide is from November to May.

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Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission

How much time do you need?

To see the city centre, the parks, beaches and the hinterland of Adelaide, you need at least 4 days. One or two days are enough to explore the city centre though.

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Photo : Florence Lourme

Attractions in Adelaide

Whether you love the tranquillity of nature or the bustle of the city, there is always something to do in Adelaide.

Gourmets explore the Central Market, where you find fresh produce and dishes from around the world.

Wine connoisseurs should spend a day in the vineyards of McLaren Vale and Barossa. With more than 200 vineyards, Adelaide is Australia’s wine capital. The National Wine Centre offers tastings of more than 120 different wines!

Nature enthusiasts visit the many parks including the botanical garden in the heart of the city.

Hikers go to the waterfall of Mount Lofty. From there you have a panoramic view of Adelaide and the surrounding area.

Those interested in art, culture and history, should visit the North Adelaide museums on North Terrace and admire the architecture of the old buildings.

If you’re a shopaholic, going for a stroll on Rundle Street, packed with shops and shopping malls, is just what you need.

Those who enjoy picnics on the beach and stunning sunsets will love Glenelg, Semaphore or Henley Beach.

You want to party until the end of the night? Then go to Rundle Street and East Terrace for a drink and then head to Hindley Street for a boogie.

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Photo : Florence Lourme

How to get around in Adelaide

The traffic in Adelaide is not as busy as in Sydney or Melbourne. Even finding a parking spot is not a problem. Parking is quite expensive, but the city provides free parking spots (from 15 minutes to 3 hours). In the evening and on weekends parking is usually free!

If you prefer public transport, have a look at Adelaide Metro. There are buses, trams, and trains. Some services are free, such as the tram in the South Terrace city centre, which takes you to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, or the Free City Connector bus, which connects most tourist attractions. If you want to more places, you can buy individual tickets on the bus or rechargeable cards at the station, in information centres (tourist offices) or in newspaper shops. With this card you get special prices.
For $25, you get a card that allows you to travel indefinitely for 3 days by bus, tram and train across the whole transport network.
The Adelaide Rail will take you along the coast a little further north and south of the city, but also inland.

There are many bike paths and BikeSA bikes that you can borrow for free during the day, once you present your ID card.

Where to go out?

If you want to meet people, Rundle Street is the best place. There are a bunch of nice bars and restaurants with flavours from around the world. On Hindley Street, you find nightclubs where you can dance to all types of music.

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Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission

Recommendations for Adelaide

Take a boat trip to Port Adelaide. For only 10 AUD, you’re cruising for two hours, and you can even see dolphins if you’re lucky.

In February and March, Adelaide hosts several festivals. The city is very busy at the time and you have the opportunity to watch free concerts, street performers, and outdoor games.

At the Semaphore or West Lakes cinemas, you get to watch movies for only 8 AUD, no matter what day. In comparison, tickets in other cinemas cost 20 AUD!

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 17:30 to 20:30, you can enjoy a vegetarian and vegan dinner at Govinda Restaurant. This is a Krishna Temple, where you have to take off your shoes before going to dinner.

From Tuesday to Thursday between 4pm and 6pm, it’s Happy Hour at the Lady Burra Brewhouse. There you get the beer brewed locally in the heart of the city centre.

Written by Marine Cowley

Updated on the 05/12/2019. Published on the 17/09/2019.