After falling in love with Melbourne, taking way too many pictures of Sydney, enjoying sunny days in Brisbane and getting a bit disappointed by Perth (sorry!), Adelaide was the last of the five biggest Australian cities I had to explore. After only 3 days in and around this town, my conclusion is clear: Adelaide doesn’t have to blush being compared to its famous neighbours! My schedule was pretty tight but thanks to the good advices from locals and with a lot of random walking I saw enough to share this article with you. And for all the things I haven’t seen… well that’s one more place where I’ll have to come back! Maybe with one of you someday?
A city in a park
One of my highest personal requirements to enjoy a city is that it needs to be green. I love to walk, run or just relax in concrete-free areas. Adelaide isn’t just green: it’s a city in a park. The whole CBD is completely surrounded by parks in every direction!
The nicest part is in the north, where the River Torrens flows. Its banks are perfect for jogging, cycling or just enjoying some fresh air and sit on a bench. Across the river you’ll find the huge Adelaide Oval, one of the most modern stadiums of Australia, with plenty of other sport fields around it.
The Adelaide Zoo is on the north-east, next to the Botanical Gardens. Don’t miss them: they’re entirely free and they’re beautiful. The Bicentennial Conservatory building will bring you straight into the tropical rainforest while the wine center and its small vineyard nearby will remind you that the world class wineries of the Barrossa Valley are just one hour away.
A city of culture
The North Terrace in Adelaide might be the best cultural precinct of Australia. On the same street you’ll find the Arts Gallery, the free and fascinating Museum of South Australia (among other things, the collection of objects from Pacific civilisations was extraordinary) and the public library. The Mortlock Wing of the library is probably the nicest building of the city. It will bring you back a few centuries, or make you feel as though you walked right into the Harry Potter universe. What an amazing room!
Next to all these great buildings, the campus of the huge University of Adelaide is also worth a look. I could go to school again just to have the privilege of studying in such a beautiful university!
A city with a soul
My favourite way to explore a new city is to walk around randomly, getting lost on purpose and see where I end up. I can’t think about a better way to explore Adelaide: there are a lot of old buildings and tiny lanes in the CBD that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
But what I liked the most about Adelaide was its great street art. A real challenger for Melbourne! Everywhere you can just bump into an incredible mural: here are some beautiful examples below.
A city that takes food and coffee seriously
With such a short time in Adelaide, I obviously couldn’t try many cafés or restaurants. But I saw so many places where I would have loved to stop! All the terraces on the quiet Ebenezer Place for example looked amazing, and the coffee I had at Exchange was delicious.
For the best and cheapest fresh products you can’t miss the Adelaide Central Market. Dozens of tiny stalls full of fruits and vegetables, delicious cheese or fresh juices. There’s also an incredible mural on one side, maybe my favourite painting in the city.
A city close to nature
Could you believe that the gorge below is just half an hour away from the CBD? Hard to imagine but yet it’s true: this is the Morialta Conservation Park, a huge and beautiful park beginning just after the last suburbs of Adelaide.
When you’re there you completely forget the presence of a huge city so close. You can’t hear any car noise; you might even not have signal on your phone anymore! There are many foot paths in the park, from short hikes to longer trails. On all of them you’ll be able to spot an incredibly rich wildlife: colourful birds, butterflies, lizards… and koalas!
It couldn’t be easier to see them: the one above was comfortably sleeping on a small tree in the middle of the car park! A lovely couple of retired neighbours that I met that day told me that once a koala even got accidentally trapped in their garage!
The Morialta Conservation Park is part of the Adelaide Hills, a chain of small mountains culminating at 727m at the Mount Lofty. The view over Adelaide from its viewing platform is stunning, especially for sunset or at night time.
A city on the beach?
That’s the part of Adelaide I almost didn’t see at all unfortunately. During the 3 days I spent there it was always cloudy (as you might already have noticed on my pictures) and even windy and rainy on the last day. Not the best conditions to go to the beach…
My knowledge about the Adelaide beaches is almost non-existent. That same couple told me that the most popular one was Glenelg (the equivalent of St Kilda in Melbourne for example), but that all the other beaches further south were beautiful as well. That’s on my list for my next trip to the city, but if you know a nice beach in or around Adelaide share it in the comments!
Did you visit the 5 main Australian cities? Let me know which one you liked the most in the comments!