Adelaide - Best Places To Visit - River Torrens
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Best Places To Visit In Adelaide

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Acknowledgement Of Country
Acknowledgement Of Country

Adelaide Unveiled: Top Places to Visit for a Memorable Experience

Unearth the real beauty of Adelaide, the enchanting capital of South Australia. If you’re searching for an adventure that includes pristine beaches, rich history, and diverse culinary experiences, look no further. As a nature enthusiast residing in Adelaide since 2005, I’ve explored every corner of this city. I’ve sifted through the many attractions to curate this list of must-visit places in 2023. This guide is much more than a generic list; it’s a local’s insider perspective, tailored to make your Adelaide visit an unforgettable one.

This post will navigate you through Adelaide’s must-visit spots. Whether it’s your first trip or you’re a travel veteran, there’s always something fresh and thrilling in Adelaide. From the scenic Adelaide Hills to the lively central market, and from the historic Port Adelaide to the lively Glenelg Beach, there’s an experience for every traveller.

Adelaide: A History on Stolen Land

As we delve into the history of Adelaide, it’s essential to acknowledge the complex and often painful history that precedes its colonial past. The land now known as Adelaide has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years by the Kaurna people, who are the Traditional Owners of the Adelaide Plains.

In 1836, the British established the city of Adelaide without treaty or consent from the Kaurna people, marking the start of a colonial era fraught with dispossession, displacement, and cultural disruption for the Indigenous inhabitants. This period is a stark reminder that Adelaide, like many Australian cities, was founded on stolen land.

Despite the challenges, the Kaurna people have shown extraordinary resilience. They have sustained their rich culture, language, and connection to the land, actively working towards reconciliation and the recognition of their rights. Today, Adelaide’s dual heritage is gradually being acknowledged, with ongoing efforts to integrate Kaurna cultural heritage into the city’s identity.

Remembering and respecting the traditional custodians of the land is a critical part of understanding Adelaide’s history and identity. This involves acknowledging the past wrongs, celebrating Indigenous culture, and striving towards a future that embraces Australia’s Indigenous heritage in a spirit of respect and reconciliation. The Kaurna people’s enduring connection to the Adelaide Plains is a testament to their strength and resilience and forms an integral part of the city’s identity.


Hahndorf Autumn Leaves - German Arms
Hahndorf Autumn Leaves – German Arms

I actually find it quite funny that a German village is one of Adelaide’s best tourist attractions. I often mention it to German people that I meet while travelling and as I am interested in their thoughts of us embracing this caricature of German culture.

Hahndorf was established in 1839 on the stolen land of the Peramangk Aboriginal people and is one of the oldest German settlements in Australia. Hahndorf is steeped in history and culture, with many original buildings and landmarks still standing today.

One of the best ways to explore Hahndorf is on foot, taking in the town’s old-world architecture, quaint shops, and galleries showcasing local art and crafts. Looking to indulge your taste buds? Hahndorf is a foodie’s paradise, with a range of cafes and restaurants serving traditional German cuisine but there are plenty of vegan options to be found too! Herbee’s Cafe is a great spot to stop for lunch. All that sightseeing is sure to work up a thirst that can only be quenched by a German beer from the German Arms.

Autumn is undoubtedly the best time to visit Hahndorf when the trees turn every shade of red, orange and yellow you can possibly imagine. To catch this marvellous spectacle plan your visit for late April to early May.


Glenelg Beach Adelaide
Glenelg Beach at sunset

Glenelg Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Adelaide, and for good reason. With its white sand, clear water, and lively atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to spend a day soaking up the sun. There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained, from swimming and stand-up paddle boarding to beach volleyball and jet skiing. You can also take a stroll along the jetty, grab a bite to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants, or simply relax and enjoy the view. Don’t miss the chance to catch a stunning sunset over the water.

Southport Beach

Southport Beach - Port Noarlunga
Onkaparinga Rivermouth – Southport Beach

There is one word for the Onkaparinga River Lookout: ICONIC! Its unique position on the river’s edge affords panoramic views across the expansive waterway and Southport Beach. A hit with photographers and Instagram enthusiasts, the lookout offers an opportunity to capture the natural beauty of the area in a single frame.

At sunset, the view transforms into a spectacle of changing colours, as the fading sun casts a golden glow over the landscape. The sight of the sun sinking into the sea beyond Southport Beach is nothing short of spectacular so grab some snacks for a cheeky picnic and enjoy the show.

Adelaide Central Markets

For the food-conscious traveller with an appetite for fresh, local, and plant-based cuisine, the Adelaide Central Markets are a must-visit destination. A vibrant oasis in the heart of Adelaide, these markets are a testament to the city’s dedication to sustainable and locally sourced produce.

For over a century and a half, the Central Markets have been the city’s hub for fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, and a delightful variety of vegan specialty products. Housing more than 70 traders, the marketplace boasts an array of colourful stalls packed with organic, locally grown produce that is as good for your health as it is for our planet.

The markets also provide a beautiful snapshot of Adelaide’s vibrant community spirit. Here, you can engage with friendly stallholders, learn about the origins of your food, and discover the stories behind the produce you’re buying. This connection to your food’s journey from the field to your plate is a key step in appreciating the value of local, sustainable eating.

Mount Lofty

If an invigorating hike and breathtaking views sound like your perfect day, then a trip to Mt Lofty should be on your Adelaide itinerary. Nestled just 15km east of the city, Mt Lofty, the highest point in the Mount Lofty Ranges, offers an exhilarating escape into the natural splendour of South Australia.

The renowned Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty hike is a much-loved route for both locals and tourists. This 7.8km return trail offers a delightful journey through aromatic eucalyptus forests and past many waterfalls. Although steep in parts, the path rewards every step with vibrant wildlife and scenic surroundings.

However, if hiking isn’t your preference, rest assured that the summit’s wonders are still within easy reach. You can comfortably drive to the Mt Lofty lookout and find yourself immersed in unparalleled panoramic views. Here, you can feast your eyes on the sweeping cityscape of Adelaide, the expansive coastline, and the lush Adelaide Hills. Informative panels help you identify key landmarks across the sprawling landscapes.

Keep your eyes peeled at dusk for wildlife. You can spot koalas, kangaroos and bandicoots on the trail and at the summit!

Botanic Gardens

The Adelaide city is quite unique in the fact that the CBD is surrounded entirely by the parklands. When escaping the bustling streets of the East-End to the serenity of the Adelaide Botanic Garden it’s hard to believe you are in still the heart of the city.

A visit to the Adelaide Hills isn’t complete without a stop at the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens. The gardens are a great place to take photos when they come alive with colour in Autumn but are a magnificent sight year-round.

Rundle Mall

The Malls Balls - Rundle Mall
The iconic “Malls Balls” – Rundle Mall

Welcome to Rundle Mall, an iconic piece of Adelaide’s history with a modern twist. As the first pedestrian mall in Australia, Rundle Mall is not just a shopping district—it’s a cultural hub brimming with historic architecture, renowned art installations, and a vibrant dining scene with an array of vegan options.

Admire the 19th-century façades that echo a rich past while strolling along the paved walkway. Keep an eye out for the famed sculptures, ‘The Spheres’ (affectionately known as the Mall’s Balls) and the delightful ‘Pig sculptures’. These serve as charming snapshots of public art and local humour.

Hungry? The thriving vegan dining scene here will entice your taste buds. Whether it’s a hearty plant-based brunch or an indulgent vegan dessert, you’ll find a plethora of delicious choices. Read our guide to the best vegan food in Adelaide.

Art Gallery

Embark on a cultural journey at the Art Gallery of South Australia, a cornerstone of Adelaide’s arts scene located on the cultural boulevard of North Terrace. Stepping into the majestic Victorian-era building, you’ll be greeted by a world of artistic expression that spans centuries and continents.

Home to one of Australia’s most impressive art collections, the gallery holds over 45,000 works from Australia, Europe, North America, and Asia. It’s an exceptional space where historical and contemporary art coexist harmoniously, offering a diverse and exciting exploration for art enthusiasts.

Entry is free so this is a great choice for budget travellers.

Adelaide Beaches

Grange Jetty
Grange Jetty

The beaches of Adelaide have to be one of the best things about the city. The 70km of coastline offers something to suit everyone and our coastline faces just the right way

Hallet Cove

A haven for geology enthusiasts, the Hallett Cove Conservation Park is a captivating locale, steeped in ancient narratives told through stone. It’s here that you can appreciate the grandeur of natural processes that unfolded over hundreds of millions of years. Among the park’s geological attractions, the most famous is the enigmatic formation known as the Sugar Loaf.

Named for its resemblance to a heap of refined sugar, the Sugarloaf is a unique, cone-shaped mountain, its form crafted by layers of sediments deposited in a glacial lake. These sediments tell the fascinating story of a time when Southern Australia was cloaked in an ice sheet, part of a sprawling, frosty tableau that also covered what is now known as Antarctica, India, Africa, and South America.

As you wander the park’s well-marked interpretive trails, pause to marvel at the Sugarloaf’s structure: a base of red sand topped with white sand, capped off by a layer of brown clay. Each layer is a chapter in the Earth’s timeline, a tale of icy epochs, continental shifts, and erosion sculpting the landscape over millennia.

A short distance away, don’t miss the chatter marks, intriguing scars etched into rocks by the movement of ancient glaciers. These marks lend credence to the theory that Southern Australia was once swaddled in ice, further illuminating the park’s chilly past.

As the day fades and the sun dips low, casting warm, golden light across the park’s diverse geological formations, you’ll witness a spectacle that marries the beauty of the present with the grandeur of the past. Hallett Cove Conservation Park, with the Sugarloaf standing as its geological centrepiece, is indeed a testament to the formidable power of time and a captivating exploration of Adelaide’s natural history.

Port Adelaide

This historic area is filled with old-world charm and maritime heritage. With multiple museums, art galleries and river cruises, it’s a perfect location for cultural explorers. Don’t forget to visit the Fisherman’s Wharf Market for some unique finds.

Plant 4 Bowden

This modern market hub boasts local vendors offering fresh produce, specialty foods, and artisan wares. Check out the variety of food stalls, vegan options, craft beers, and local wines for a tasty day out.

Pirate Life

Located in Port Adelaide, Pirate Life is a world-class craft brewery known for its unique and flavourful beers. Their lively taproom offers a rotating selection of brews, making it a must-visit for beer lovers.

Lot 100

Nestled in the Adelaide Hills, Lot 100 is a collaborative space shared by a brewery, distillery, and winery. A trip here offers delightful food, stunning scenery, and a taste of some of South Australia’s finest beverages.

Morialta Conservation Park - water pool at top of first falls with red rock formations

Morialta Conservation Park

Just a short drive from the city centre, this park is renowned for its rugged ridges, gully scenery, and seasonal waterfalls. It’s a haven for walkers, bird watchers and rock climbers.

Adelaide Hills

Famous for its cool-climate wines, artisanal produce and quaint towns, Adelaide Hills offers a refreshing change from the city’s hustle and bustle.

River Torrens

Winding its way through the heart of Adelaide, the River Torrens offers scenic trails, paddle boat rides and a peaceful respite from city life.

North Adelaide

With grand heritage homes, lush gardens, and upscale dining and shopping, North Adelaide is a charming and stylish neighbourhood.

D’Arenburg Cube

This architectural wonder in McLaren Vale is home to D’Arenberg winery’s tasting room, a surreal Salvador Dali exhibition, and a spectacular restaurant.

Down The Rabbit Hole

This whimsically named winery in McLaren Vale is known for its relaxed atmosphere, innovative wines, and charming converted bus tasting room.

Happy Valley Reservoir

This picturesque reservoir is perfect for leisurely walks and picnics, with its beautiful views and abundant birdlife.

View of CBD from Waite Conservation Park

Waite Conservation Park

A lesser-known gem, this park offers quiet hiking trails through native bushland where you can spot wildlife and enjoy panoramic views of the city and coast.

Semaphore Time Ball


This seaside suburb features a wide sandy beach, a bustling main street with a vintage cinema, and a charming carousel.


As Australia’s oldest Aboriginal-owned and managed multi-arts centre, Tandanya offers a rich cultural experience with its exhibitions, performances, and interactive tours.

Adelaide Fringe

The second-largest annual arts festival in the world, the Adelaide Fringe is a month-long, city-wide celebration of theatre, comedy, cabaret, visual art, and design. Fringe is on from mid Feb to mid March each year. Learn more.

Hindley Street

Known for its vibrant nightlife, Hindley Street is packed with bars, clubs, and live music venues, making it the entertainment hub of Adelaide. If you want to party in Adelaide Hindley is the place to be on a Friday and Saturday night. Check out the cocktail bars on the adjacent Peel St & Leigh St.

Visiting Adelaide FAQ

What can you do in Adelaide for free?

Adelaide offers many delightful free activities. Stroll through Adelaide Botanic Garden, walk along the River Torrens Linear Park Trail, or visit the Art Gallery of South Australia or South Australia Museum, both offering free entry. Enjoy window-shopping and people-watching at Rundle Mall, or relax at Glenelg, Brighton, and Henley beaches. Hike up Mount Lofty for panoramic city views, all for free.

What is Adelaide most known for?

Adelaide is known as the ‘City of Churches’ for its rich religious architectural heritage. It’s also famous for its internationally renowned festivals, fine wine, beautiful parklands, and vibrant arts scene.

How many days should you spend in Adelaide?

A three to five day trip is generally sufficient to explore Adelaide’s main attractions, experience its culture, and enjoy its food and wine scene. However, if you want to explore the surrounding regions, such as Barossa Valley, Kangaroo Island, or Adelaide Hills, you might want to extend your stay.

Why is Adelaide called Radelaide?

The term “Radelaide” is a playful nickname that locals and visitors often use to describe Adelaide. The “rad” part of the nickname stands for “radical,” indicating that Adelaide is a cool, exciting place to be.

What is the best area to stay in Adelaide?

North Adelaide is a popular area due to its proximity to the city centre, trendy cafes, restaurants, and shopping districts. For beach lovers, Glenelg is a great option, while those looking for luxury might prefer the East End.

What type of climate does Adelaide have?

Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers.

What is the best time of year to visit Adelaide?

The best time to visit Adelaide is during the shoulder seasons of Autumn (March to May) and Spring (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and outdoor activities are enjoyable.

Are the trams free in Adelaide?

Some parts of the tram route are free. The trams are free within the city centre, travelling between the Entertainment Centre and South Terrace, as well as along Jetty Road in Glenelg.

Is it safe to walk at night in Adelaide?

Generally, Adelaide is considered a safe city. However, like any other city, it’s always best to be aware of your surroundings, stay in well-lit areas, and avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas at night. Hindley Street gets pretty wild on a Friday & Saturday night!

Can you drink the tap water in Adelaide?

Yes, tap water in Adelaide is safe to drink so bring your reusable bottle!

What are the best outdoor activities in Adelaide?

Adelaide offers a range of fantastic outdoor activities that cater to every type of adventurer. From hiking through the sprawling conservation parks, kayaking along the beautiful coastlines, to cycling around the city’s extensive network of bike paths, there’s something to satisfy every outdoor enthusiast. One of the best ways to appreciate Adelaide’s diverse landscapes is to spend time in its stunning natural parks, such as Morialta Conservation Park or Adelaide Hills, where you can immerse yourself in the local flora and fauna. For a more detailed rundown of outdoor activities in Adelaide, check out our comprehensive guide here.

Do you need a car to get around Adelaide?

While having a car can provide more flexibility, it’s not essential. Adelaide’s city centre is compact and easy to explore on foot, and the public transport system including trams, trains, and buses, is efficient.

Does Adelaide have good transport?

Yes, Adelaide has a comprehensive and efficient public transport system, consisting of trams, buses, and trains, making it easy to get around the city and its surrounding areas. Learn about transport here.

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