48 Hours in Adelaide – Art, music, fashion, food, wine and fun are all part of the Adelaide experience
People call it “Radelaide” for a reason. The South Australian city of Adelaide boasts a thriving yet laid back culture where a multitude of interests shine. Art, music, fashion, food, wine and fun are all part of the Adelaide experience. Despite the many jokes about this wonderful spot on the planet, my visit was great enough to warrant a repeat in the near future. And it isn’t just me, people of all ages and especially millennials are visiting with greater frequency than ever before. Find out what all the Adelaide buzz is about. You might be pleasantly surprised.
SEE AND DO
Hallett Cove Boardwalk – What better way to get fresh air and exercise, not to mention experience amazing seaside views, than a walk on Hallett Cove Boardwalk? If you’re a photography buff, snapping shots of the stunning rocky coastline is an absolute requirement. There are plenty of options regarding how long to make this trek. I suggest walking one way toward the train and riding it back.
Do you like to bring your furry four footed friend on new adventures? Between Clifftop Crescent, Hallett Cove and Kingston Park, dogs are permitted. However, dogs are not prohibited in the Hallett Cove Conservation Park section of the Marion Coastal Trail.
Time required – minimum of 2 hours
For more information visit their website.
Central Market – Spend a few hours on a foodie tour, believe me your taste buds will thank you for it. The traders located in Central Market take pride in presenting the customer with the best and most ‘market fresh’ fish, produce and baked goods possible. It’s not only delicious, it’s beautiful too. The colors and food, spice and wine scents plus the samples from cooking demonstrations make this a fantastic way to spend a morning or afternoon. Examples of what you’ll find here vary but among the many choices are Cantonese Seafood, Aussie wines and champagnes and locally grown fruits and vegetables. While there is plenty of fish and meat, if you’re following a vegan, raw or paleo diet, you won’t feel left out. The abundance of organic produce is nothing short of amazing.
Time required – 2-3 hours
Rundle St. East – Known as the pulse of Adelaide, Rundle St. East exudes an aura all its own. You’ll experience a fantastic mix of old historic charm with modern sophistication and ease. The first thing most visitors notice besides the historic grand hotels, is the crazy funky variety of unique shops, both well-known and up-and-coming in the fashion industry. Astonished is the best way to describe how you’ll feel for the first time among all the choices. The upscale quality combined with such an eclectic mix can be overwhelming to newbies. Everything from simple accessories to fine jewelry, clothing, shoes and home wares can be found here, Alanna Hill, Jack London and Saba to name a few.
Don’t worry about dining or drinking, there are options galore. Among the many pubs and dining establishments, you won’t go hungry or thirsty. Truly some of the best beer, wine, coffee, international cuisine and desserts are found in pubs and cafes among the shops so you can give yourself a break between card swipes.
If you need some quiet time but don’t want to hole up in a hotel room, catch a flick at one of the famous Palace Nova Cinemas where all the latest releases are featured. All in all you get the idea that in Adelaide, Rundle St. East is the place to be, see and be seen. Don’t miss it.
Time required – 4 hours
FILLING YOUR BELLIES
After a morning or afternoon on Hallett Cove Boardwalk, you’ll need something to eat and it should be delicious. Adelaide has plenty of dining establishments whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner for two or a gathering spot for a multitude of friends.
Press Food and Wine – This is the kind of place that works for either a small intimate party or a large group. The ground floor’s kitchen is open all day so you can drop in to grab a snack or take your time and enjoy a glass of wine. Rather than seeing cooking as an art, the chefs at Press Food and Wine prefer to look at it as a skilled craft, one for which they’ve earned boasting privileges. The pickling, brining, curing, smoking and baking is all done in-house for the best possible quality. The group I was with made reservations for the loft space above and thoroughly enjoyed both the food, the drinks and the atmosphere.
Favorite dish – Crab Pasta
Monday’s Coffee Store - Monday’s just became easier to manage with the opening of this super-central cafe. Think New York City deli colliding with a Melbourne cafe and the result is Monday’s Coffee Store. Bagels, pastrami, filtered and specialty coffees galore plus a decent selection of teas are among the offerings. Minimal and simple in design, this is a stylish yet comfortable location to escape the Mallrats while trawling through the brilliant range of reading material available.
Favorite dish – Pastrami Bagel
Location – 7/38 Gawler Place, Adelaide
Casablabla - Inspired by the culture and food in Morocco, Turkey, Bali and Cambodia, Casablabla is great fun. Believe me, we enjoyed everything we tried and we tried a lot. The salsa is excellent and the flamenco dancers add excitement to the already festive atmosphere. The rooftop bar is the best place to be for the full experience of this loud and rowdy establishment. Try the Caprioska, you won’t regret it.
Favorite dish – Lamb shank with soft polenta
GETTING AROUND TOWN
City Bike – Bike off some of those delicious meal calories with City Bike. From bike pick up to Henley Beach is a flat 12 km ride. Head to the beach and turn right into the square.
Pick up picnic supplies at the Market, including a bottle of wine and stop somewhere for lunch. The riverside is lovely or do what we did and stop at the Himeji Gardens. A gift from Japan, the gardens are small but incredibly tranquil. Drinking is permitted in the park 11am and 8 pm but banned in the city squares.
Take time to ride up the hill to leafy North Adelaide and see the statue of founder, Colonel William Light at the top of Montefiore Hill. This is also an excellent place to get a wonderful view of the city and pedal around historic streets with old heritage buildings.
Favorite stop – Montefiore Hill
WHERE TO STAY
InterContinental Adelaide – The custom designed suites at InterContinental Adelaide are contemporary, stylish in every way, yet very comfortable. Extra spacious and numerous amenities make this hotel ideal. We thought it might be too full of business types but it was a pleasant mix of friends, families, couples, relatives and business associates. In other words, there is something for everybody at InterContinental Adelaide.
What to love – location, the comfortable rooms and their points programs. Also that Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones stays here.
Mantra Hindmarsh Square - For a more economical couple of nights, try Mantra. Offering all the creature comforts required, including high speed internet access, air conditioning and your own kitchen, this is a great place to relax yet be in the center of everything.
What to love – fully equipped kitchenettes in each room
GETTING TO ADELAIDE
If you’re visiting within Australia, Webjet is the best option. You can count on them having a weekend special or some kind of deal that makes it easy and affordable to enjoy a long weekend in Adelaide.
If you’re visiting from the UK, LHR to ADL is a long flight, but if planned accordingly, you can find great deals and make your way throughout most of Australia’s major cities. Adelaide is the largest city in South Australia and hosts the principal airport. For anyone new to the land down under, it’s a great starting point.
NOT TO BE OVERLOOKED
Adelaide is home to iconic art exhibits and despite the rumors, Kangaroo Island is a wonderful place to learn about indigenous culture, as well as see kangaroos up close and personal. And don’t forget that with the warm climate, the area beaches can be enjoyed nearly year round. That alone is a fantastic reason for visiting, especially in winter.
Adelaide is definitely a city with a fresh perspective on living life to the fullest. It’s a city with a vibrant hipster vibe combined with world class wineries, art galleries and upscale shopping. In other words, we agree with Lonely Planet’s description of Adelaide being ‘effortlessly chic’. Turn a deaf ear to anything ugly you’ve heard and decide for yourself after a spending weekend in this wonderful place. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be planning your return visit before your plane home leaves the runway.