One of the beauties of being a “modern” city is that it can benefit from careful and intelligent planning. This is the case with Adelaide, an unexpectedly attractive and cultural city, which was founded by Colonel Light in 1836. Light planned the city to include a compact one-square-mile centre based on a grid system with plenty of open space and parkland stretching out from its core and his vision is largely a resounding success. This is a city that has been designed for living, and its residents certainly know how to make the most of it.
Adelaide is one of Australia’s greenest cities, not just for the wide expanses of open parkland that surround it but also for its sustainability. Great efforts have been undertaken to ensure it is fully sustainable and environmentally friendly and it is now reaping the rewards of its investment.
For visitors from outside the area and overseas, Adelaide is perhaps best known for being Australia’s wine capital. The steady climate, with little rainfall, mild winters and blazing summer sunshine is perfect for grape cultivation, resulting in some of the most famous Australian wines. The rolling hills surrounding Adelaide produce some of the most fruity and delicious whites available, and the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and Clare Valley are names that trip off the tongue all over the world.
Thanks to its compact centre, Adelaide is perfect for exploring on foot. The city is laid out on a grid system making it easy to navigate your way around and hard to get yourself lost. Start your discovery by wandering along the North Terrace through the Festival Centre, heart of Adelaide’s cultural map and past some of the city’s most famous landmarks. Here you will find the University of Adelaide and the Art Galley of South Australia, home to one of Australia’s greatest art collections and an architectural work of art in its own right.
Founded in 1881, the gallery boasts a collection of nearly 40,000 works of art from all over Australia, Asia, Europe and North America across a variety of media. Its Australian collection tells the story of Australia from pre-colonial times to the present day through art and design while its overseas collections cover the period from the Renaissance right through to the present day.
Continue your explorations of the North Terrace as you pass war memorials, grand buildings and the Festival centre right on the banks of the River Torrens. The Festival centre offers a diverse programme of quality shows and entertainment right the way through the year, spanning every genre and suitable for every budget.
This is home to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June and the OzAsia Festival in September as well as a rolling schedule of music, dance, theatre and exhibition events. With the Art Space gallery located in the grounds and a pleasant restaurant and bar, this is a lovely place to visit either for a show or simply to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
Adelaide is renowned for its wide variety of festivals. In addition to the Cabaret and OzAsia Festivals it also plays host to the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Fringe, Come Out Festival WOMADelaide, Adelaide Film Festival and several others with an international flavour. March is festival time in Adelaide and a great time to visit. Many of the city’s main events take place at this time and the weather is at its best.
Sports lovers will enjoy a trip to the Adelaide Oval, one of Australia’s most prestigious and elegant sporting venues, especially during the summer when the cricket is on. Other key sporting events in the calendar include the Santos Tour Down Under and Clipsal 500 V8 car race.
Shopping in Adelaide is a delight. Start at Rundle Mall for major high street names packed closely together all under one roof before making your way to Rundle Street where a collection of quirky boutiques stock pieces by up-and-coming designers and established top-end names. The Central Market makes a great place for a wander and to admire the colourful fresh produce on offer.
For eating and drinking you will be spoilt for choice in this cosmopolitan city. Head to Gouger Street, home to many of Adelaide’s leading restaurants with food for every taste and budget, and on to Rundle Street for yet more choice. Given its compact city centre it comes as a surprise to visitors that there are over 100 restaurants located in the heart of the city alone with many more as it stretches out into the suburbs.
Getting around is easy in Adelaide. Much of the centre can be covered on foot, but if you do want to head a little further afield there is a reliable tram service that connects up most of the suburban areas quickly and efficiently. Glenelg is located right on the waterfront at Hindmarsh, some ten minutes out of the centre, and is on one of the main tram lines, while if you head east, the colonial town of Norwood makes for some fun and exploration.
Adelaide is famed for its beaches and many are within a thirty-minute journey from the city centre. Thanks to the enviable climate it is possible to enjoy the white sands and crystal clear waters pretty much all year round.
Don’t visit Adelaide without making time to visit the wine producing areas outside the city. The National Wine Centre of Australia in Adelaide itself makes a good starting point for your viticultural exploration, providing some excellent background into the wine industry and providing the opportunity to sample a wide variety of grapes and vintages. There has been wine production in this area for over 160 years and many of the techniques used here are at the forefront of the worldwide revolution in wine production. For a foray out into the sun-soaked hills and plains of the local wine producing region, take a car if you prefer to self drive or alternatively book a place on one of the organised wine tours to make the most of a perfectly planned day.