Adelaide, the coastal capital of South Australia, is a brilliant example of a vibrant cosmopolitan city. Perched in the Adelaide plains, north of the Fleurieu Penninsula – this metropolitan city offers travellers many incredibly unique Australian experiences. From breathtaking and varying landscapes to the wonderfully delectable food and, of course, premium wine tour experiences unlike any you could expect in South Australia.
Don’t forget the beautiful beaches, the lovely gardens and the eclectic museum tours and the insanely diverse festivals you can be a part of while in the capital city of South Australia. So let’s have a close look at the many attractions that you can add to your list of things to do in Adelaide.
Explore the Capital on the Glenelg Tram
What started as a single tram track in 1873 now extends to several attractions in Adelaide. It began at Angas Street and continued through the South Terrace. An extension was added from Victoria Square through the North Terrace in 2007.
It’s the only remaining tram system in Adelaide. A delightful way to tour the city and learn about the incredibly rich history of Glenelg. This iconic experience is a must add to your list of things to do in Adela
Visit the Art Gallery of South Australia
To get your dose of art and culture, head to the North Terrace – to visit the world-renowned Art Gallery of South Australia. The Art Gallery hosts approx. 47,000 pieces from across the world – including a priceless collection of Aboriginal Art. The exhibits are beautifully presented to engage the viewers. The staff’s super friendly and knowledgeable too. And if all that art-viewing built an appetite, there’s a chic little café you can grab a snack from inside the Art Gallery.
View the City from the Roof of the Adelaide Oval
Located along the King William Road, next to the riverbank – the Adelaide Oval is one of the most beautiful sporting grounds in all of South Australia and even the world! The ground hosts some major sports events (Cricket, Football etc.) which are definitely worth checking out.
But if sports aren’t your thing, you can still visit the Oval to join an Adelaide Oval Roof Climbing Tour – the BEST way to enjoy the cityscape from a unique vantage point. Don’t worry it’s safe!
Taste Fresh local flavours at the Adelaide Central Market
The Adelaide Central Market is the perfect place to get a taste of the authentic local flavours and the hustle. It’s located in the heart of the city- you can enter from Grote Street or Gouger Street. With over 70 odd traders under one roof – you’ll be surrounded by fresh produce, baked goods and more. From cafes to multicultural eateries. It’s one of the largest markets in South Australia. A must-add to your list of things to do in Adelaide.
Escape to Paradise at the Adelaide Botanic Garden
Despite being in the heart of the busy city on the North Terrace, this botanic paradise almost feels like escaping to a different world of floral beauty and stunning architectural designs amid incredible greenery – It’s very therapeutic.
Explore one of South Australia’s most scenic garden spaces. Observe the many exotic and endemic plants found all across Australia. The Garden connects the Adelaide CBD, which gives enchanting views of the city. You can even enjoy a wonderful lunch surrounded by breathtaking botanic beauty.
See Pandas at the Adelaide Zoo
Located next to the Adelaide Botanic Garden – close to the North Terrace, we have the famous Adelaide Zoo. It’s the only place in the whole of Australia to home an adorable Panda pair. But this first-class attraction also homes African lions, Australian Sea-lions, Maned Wolves, Pygmy Hippos and more wildlife.
The enclosures are spacious and well maintained. Stay to watch several feeding shows too – you can also learn about the incredible wildlife hosted here from the super friendly guide.
Explore the South Australian Museum
Here’s a treat for the history and culture buffs. It’s one of the most renowned museums in South Australia – located amidst the Adelaide C.B.D – along the North Terrace. The collections housed here hold international and national significance to Australia.
It also hosts the most extensive collection of Aboriginal cultural artefacts in all of Australia. Other interesting exhibits include an exact replication of a giant squid bone structure to cool ancient Egyptian artefacts and many cool interactive sessions to keep the viewers entertained.
Go on a Shopping Spree at the Rundle Mall
Many would agree that Rundle Mall is the main precinct for shopping in Adelaide. From upscale stores to more quirky restaurants and boutique shops, choices are endless. Located in the middle of the city, you’ll find street art, bronze pig statues, unique sculptures, and numerous heritage buildings like the Adelaide Arcade as you tour around. A real variety of cuisines to choose from and enjoy too. Definitely worth checking out!
Immerse in Serenity in the Himeji Garden
If you’re looking for some nature therapy, a different kind of tranquillity, then this peaceful oasis awaits. Located along the South Terrace of the city, the landscape design here has captured all aspects one could expect from a proper Japanese Garden.
From a beautiful sand garden to ponds full of water flowers to beautiful floral plants & trees – It creates a serene paradise to immerse in. A must-add to your list of things to do in Adelaide.
Climb and Explore the Waterfall Gully
Perched in the foothills of Mount Lofty, which is by the Cleland Conservation Park – this is a perfect destination to get away from the city’s ongoing bustle. Put on some climbing shoes because the trekking trail can get a bit steep in certain areas. All in all, it is a scenic trail for every kind of traveller. Especially if you are into nature photography.
The Waterfall Gully homes the largest seven waterfalls in the park too, and it’s certainly breathtaking.
Go Wild Dolphin Watching in the Glenelg Beach
Adelaide’s favourite seaside destination is located in Glenelg. You can visit here on the tram as well. Get ready to stretch on the soft sandy shores and immerse in the scenic ocean views while enjoying some sun. Take a dip in the pristine blue waters, watch the sunset while strolling the jetty – even take a boat tour to watch the wild dolphins!
There are plenty of beach cafes and restaurants around if you get snack-ish. Perfect for some beach fun!
Take a River Cruise along Port Adelaide
Located along the Port Creek and just 20-minutes from the Adelaide CBD, this port town is full of maritime-historic splendour, heritage buildings and structures and vibrant street art for you to explore and enjoy.
Walk along the rustic cobbled streets and immerse yourself in the mesmerising port aesthetic of this town. There’re some mind-blowing restaurants and breweries you must visit. You can even explore the famous ship graveyard along the lovely Port River and if you’re lucky – spot some dolphins!
Explore the Old-time Adelaide Arcade
Located in the Rundle Mall, in the centre of Adelaide city- it’s back to the epic past in the Adelaide Arcade. The arcade was built in 1885, and it was the first building to get electric lights – making it a historically significant building for the city.
Even now, the structure is carefully maintained after renovation to keep most of the old-time charm – much like stepping into a different period overall. The incredible history of the arcade is also worth exploring.
Enjoy a Wine Tour at the Barossa Valley
Here’s a destination for all you wine connoisseurs! The Barossa Valley is a legendary wine-producing region located along the Northeast side of Adelaide. Approx. 1-hour drive from the city, you can enjoy a full-day tour in this verdant wine region.
Experience the fine art of winemaking in South Australia, visit the estates to tour the wine yards, indulge in some wine tasting – and a lovely family-style lunch and immerse in the beauty of Barossa Valley! It’s quite romantic too.
Explore Mount Lofty Botanic Garden
Another stunning botanic garden located approx. 20-minutes off the city, perched on the slopes of Mount Lofty, amid the Adelaide Hills. The park spans about 95 hectares, with plenty of stunning green footpaths. There’s plenty to see. The alluring florals and plants (exotic and native) attract much native wildlife and birdlife.
The small lakes mirror the sky and the surrounding picturesque landscapes beautifully. It’s incredibly enchanting – even during fall time too! An ideal place to enjoy a picnic day out.
Get Enchanted by the Ayers House Museum
Located just out of Adelaide CBD, amidst the city bustle – this is the last remaining 19th Century Grand Mansion that’s open (on weekends) for visitors. If you enjoy exploring a victorian-era architectural masterpiece, then a tour of this majestic museum is a must.
From the intricate artistic designs on the high ceilings to the detailed carvings on surfaces to the grand flooring – everything’s well maintained. Learn about incredible history from the friendly & knowledgeable volunteers and explore this historic landmark.
Chill out at the Henley Beach
Approx. 20-minutes from the city of Adelaide – Henley beach is an up-and-coming beach destination with a mellow party vibe and a beautiful beachfront. You can either go splashing in the calm, blue waters or explore the vibrant restaurant scene or both.
Enjoy a chilled fishing session up on the jetty too! This place is also known to be the BEST place to try flavour-packed fish and chips. Is it really good? Be the judge when you visit.
Explore the Wine Paradise of McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale is situated approx. 45-minutes south of Adelaide and one of the oldest and most prominent wine regions in Australia. Love delicious food and premium wine? This is where you’re heading. You can choose to tour on a vehicle or a bike.
Visit the verdant wine yards, watch the incredible wine process, indulge in the finest wines and end the tour with a scrumptious lunch. It’s going to be one tantalizing wine adventure!
Venture off to the Stunning Adelaide Hills
Get away from the beachfront and the city buzz and immerse in quaint village-side surroundings with nothing but scenic, verdant views of the Adelaide Hills. Located approx. 40-minutes from the capital, the hills are positioned more towards the east of the city.
It’s all about the chilled climate and the delectable local flavours. Go explore the history of the olden villages, do another wine tour, trek Mount Lofty or the Cleland Conservation Park – which are quite nearby.
Experience the Rich Asian flavours at Adelaide Chinatown
Get ready to immerse in the rich flavours of Asian cuisine and its vibrant cultural touch at Adelaide Chinatown – especially during the lunar new year. You’ll find Chinatown situated on the southeast side of Adelaide CBD.
Come with an empty stomach as there are so many multicultural cuisines from different regions of Asia to enjoy and experience. Sit inside a traditional, oriental style-shop and let yourself be transported to another time and place while savouring the flavours of Chinatown.
Visit the Historic State Library of South Australia
If you enjoy diving deep into the cultural and historical background of a region, then a visit to the State Library of South Australia is in order. Located along the North Terrace, the culture region – this iconic library homes priceless collections of photographs, letters, diaries, and even manuscripts.
The subjects vary from art to architecture to sport to emigration. You name it they have it. The building itself is something to explore. Being bored is out of the question.
Explore the Migration Museum
It’s a quick walk from the North Terrace of the city. The Migration Museum is the first museum dedicated to the history of migration in Australia. Learn about the diverse cultures that lived through the history of South Australia – especially the incredible culture of Aborigines before dark colonial times. The museum is made accessible for visitors in wheelchairs too.
You can learn about the complex history of the building structure as well– which is now the premise for the museum.
Tour the Kangaroo Island & Flinders Chase National Park
Located on Kangaroo Island, approx. four and a half hours away from Adelaide, this coastal national park is a protected area found on the west coast. The most otherworldly features you can witness here are the remarkable rock formations, and the super ancient Admirals Arch and the adorable long-nosed fur seals. You can do a day trip in this national park or spend a night in the ocean cabins – an unforgettable experience on its own. Stunning!
Tour the Caves in the Kelly Hill Conservation Park
Here is a one-of-a-kind nature tour awaiting in the caves of the Kelly Hill Conservation Park – located in the southwest part of Kangaroo Island. The limestone cave walls, and the crystallized columns, certainly give the whole cave trail an ethereal look, and it’s magnificent.
If you’re a little claustrophobic, there is the option of enjoying the above-ground cave tours – which are equally enchanting. But for the thrill-seekers, you can put on the safety gear and scale through the underground maze and explore.
Explore the Native Wildlife at the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Another jewel in Kangaroo Island that’s located right between Kelly Hill Conservation Park and Flinders Chase National Park. If you enjoy seeing adorable and furry wildlife that’s native to Australia, then this is the place to be. We are talking about Koalas, Kangaroos, Possums, Goannas and more!
Take an expert tour guide – they are knowledgeable and always ready to make your visit super special. You can also stay overnight in a beach cabana and enjoy the magic of Kangaroo Island.
Celebrate Art at the Adelaide Fringe Inc.
Be a part of Australia’s biggest Arts Festival – in fact, it’s the second-largest Arts festival in the world! From performance arts to visual arts to even street art. It’s held in the heart of Adelaide, and it’s known as the Mad March by the locals where over 7000 artists attend annually to entertain the masses.
If you are visiting Adelaide in mid-Feb or early March, then you can definitely be a part of this incredible celebration of Art!
Enjoy an Event at the Adelaide Festival Centre
Located along the King William Road – right across the Adelaide Oval, this arts venue is one of Australia’s first. It hosts musicals, dance or orchestral performances to significant exhibitions and much more. If you enjoy exploring the different forms of arts, then definitely make a visit.
Explore the Award-Winning National Wine Centre of Australia
This award-winning attraction is located on the border of the Adelaide Botanic Garden. It’s going to be a different experience. The guides are super knowledgeable and friendly. They’ll show you around and explain the incredible art and science that goes into creating premium wine.
They even have VR tours and other interactive sessions. You can end the tour by enjoying some premium wine and having a delicious lunch. Maybe even become a real wine expert at the end!
Enter Chocolate Heaven at Haigh’s Chocolate Visitor Centre
While being called the wine state in South Australia, Adelaide has another delicious surprise for travellers. To experience that, head to the Haigh’s Chocolate Visitor Centre – located near the parklands and the centre of the city.
Watch how the chocolates are handmade. The staff is quite welcoming – you might even get some irresistible tasting samples. The aroma alone will put a smile on your face. Make sure to get some Haigh’s Chocolate for the road and the folks back home!
Go Whale-Watching at the Beautiful Victor Harbour
Approx. 1 hour away from the capital, nestled in the southern part of Adelaide – this blue waterfront coastal city is a whole other experience. It is best to take a boat tour to go whale-watching and spot wild dolphins and seals.
You can also take a dip in the calming blue waters and enjoy some delicious fresh seafood. No trip to the Victor Harbour would be complete without you joining a horse-drawn tram across the causeway to explore the stunning Granite Island.