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Best Free Things to Do in Adelaide

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. Please click the link to Like my articles, and subscribe to see more.
Published March 25th 2018
Put excitement in your holidays
Fun Things to Do in Adelaide

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Exciting Things to Do in Adelaide: Canoeing at Port Adelaide

I sometimes think that being on holidays can be more stressful than being at work or school. You don't have that set routine of tasks that defines the day, so you're forced to devise one for yourself. And when you travel somewhere else for a vacation, I always need some quiet recovery time back home to unwind after that too. I wonder if it's an age thing?

Let us take the stress out of your holidays (or your kids' school holidays) with a carefully selected set of suggestions to keep you amused over your break. Finding interesting and free things to do in Adelaide need not be hard.

A previous article on free things to do in Adelaide is extremely popular, so I will still concentrate here on cheap South Australian attractions and low cost things to do in Adelaide.

Explore for Free

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Surprising Street Art in Adelaide Laneways

Now exploring may sound like hard work, but it needn't be. Just find somewhere that you have never been to and go there. It needn't involve driving - you could take a train to Gawler or a bus to Belair, or go for a ride on the O-Bahn if you have never tried it. Even take the tram to Glenelg and do a little shopping before enjoying an ice cream on the beach.

If that sounds a little challenging, explore your own area in Adelaide by walking, cycling, or driving down a road that you have never used before. You may be be very surprised by what you discover on your own doorstep.

Or take a look at some of the curious or unusual laneways in the city. You will be intrigued by the curiosities that you find and the unexpected art displays.

For the more adventurous there are plenty of places that can get your adrenaline up, such as Adelaide's scariest places, or looking at abandoned and disused buildings. Just remember to be cautious and play it safe.

Treat Yourself or the Kids to Cheap Eats

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Cheap Eats: Pizza and Wine at Tenafeate Creek Winery

There are always new places to see and new tastes to try around town. Treat yourself with a delicious lunch from our carefully selected list, and if you're watching your spending then try these places. When you and your family have a big appetite, these places are great value for money.

Want something more casual but still classy? You must try the gourmet food trucks at one of Adelaide's Fork on the Road food truck festivals. It is so exciting trying to decide which (or how many) of the delicacies that you will devour.

Before you go to the city, check out Splash Adelaide's website. These guys just keep on rolling out fun free things to do all around the city to keep us amused. Now how good is that, especially during the school holidays?

Of course there are other ways to treat yourself too - the kids would love a visit to an old style lolly shop in Glenelg or in Adelaide.

One of my favourite ways to treat myself is at a great boutique winery near Gawler which makes pizzas that burst with flavour, and wines that complement them. Sitting on the winery patio with a special person (or the children) enjoying a meal is very relaxing indeed.

Shopping & Markets

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Find Tasty Cheap Eats and World Food at Markets in Adelaide

One can never do enough shopping, and markets add that extra bit of excitement as you expect the unexpected. There are some new markets in Adelaide that are the rage at the moment - don't be the last person in your crowd to check them over.

Several popular markets are pulling the punters this year. Summer Plant 4 Markets are perfect if you want to unwind after work and enjoy a bite to eat, while City East Markets lets you unwind from a busy week while you search for hidden treasure. Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers' Market is packed with people hunting quality fresh food every weekend, and just down the road is Unley Market with their artisan goods market stalls.

There's a full list of the current markets here, but my favourites away from the city are currently the traditional open air Original Open Market and the eclectic mix you will find at the Myponga Market.

Things to do and Places to See

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The Swing Bridge at Onkaparinga National Park is Fun for Kids

Here are a selection of unusual ideas for what to do in Adelaide.

Visit one the swinging bridges at St Peters or Old Noarlunga, and explore the nearby attractions that both offer. Children love to do this in the school holidays.

On any Sunday see the displays at the Army Museum and do the Keswick Barracks Heritage Walk.

On a Wednesday watch the free model boating display at the rather special Woorabinda Lake Reserve.

Not free, but a visit to the old Torrens Island Quarantine Station is an unforgettable experience and well worth the $25.

The Bicentennial Conservatory is free to visit and many people enjoy the displays reminiscent of Jurassic Park (and I'm not talking about the visitors!). If you are feeling affluent why not treat yourself to a meal at the beautiful Botanic Garden restaurant that will be very memorable.

For exciting things to do try indoor rock climbing - bring a group of friends to make it more fun and competitive.

How about taking the family for a ride along the Torrens Linear Park? Hundreds of people do it every weekend, it's fun for kids and there are plenty of scenic places to stop for a break.

Day Trips

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Lake Woorabinda in Stirling Linear Park

Adelaide has so many beautiful places to go that we are really spoilt for choice.

A wonderful drive in the Adelaide Hills that I discovered recently is the Onkaparinga Scenic Drive, which meanders through some fascinating small towns to Mount Torrens and Birdwood. Well worth a look!

Kids can't resist the lure of Victor Harbour as it is full of things to see and do. Don't forget to take a peek at the penguins, and on the way back explore the reservoir that brings life to Adelaide.

Pack a picnic and take a look at some of the four reserves that make up the Stirling Linear Park. Even the locals don't know of them all - feed the ducks at the Woorabinda Lake Reserve, lush Stirling Park, the rambling Madurta Reserve, and Hender Reserve.

Not far away is the beautiful Mount Lofty Gardens which is also worth a look - especially in Autumn.

In the metropolitan area the Waite Precinct has so much to see that it is worth more than one visit - there are plenty of free things to do for both adults and children to do here.

And if you don't have a car, don't despair. Why not buy a daytrip ticket and treat yourself to a mystery trip. Choose somewhere that you have never been before, or that sounds interesting. Or just travel to the end of the line.

But don't do as I did once in Antwerp and fall asleep, waking many hours later to find a sea of suits staring at me slumbering.

Rail Fans

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Visit Abandoned Railway Stations in South Australia

The trainspotters among us are spoilt for choice in Adelaide. The legacy of a huge rail network has left abandoned railway stations scattered around South Australia. If you are a rail enthusiast then of course you will have been to the fascinating Tramway Museum and the National Railway Museum, but there are lots more things to see.

Some of Adelaide's disused railway stations have been put to good use such as at Mt Lofty, while others at Balhannah and Manoora in the Gilbert Valley are neglected and run down, forgotten by the local communities that they served.

The old tram lines that criss-crossed Adelaide are now long forgotten, but you can read about them here.

Finally if you enjoy a spot of gunzelling then "Mount Islington" is a good place to try it, with commanding views of the old Islington rail yards and the huge rail freight depot across the tracks. Take a look at the amazing Victorian era Islington Railway Workshops as you go past.
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Why? Find things to do in Adelaide for the school holidays
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Your Comment
It would be great if you could include how to get to these places, and when they are open.
by Patricia Palmer (score: 1|32) 1821 days ago
Still can't find the map, or contact details, or when the kayaking is available
by Patricia Palmer (score: 1|32) 1820 days ago
Dave, I can't find your number or email online anywhere. It's monique from 891 ABC Adelaide. Can you get in touch? Want to have a chat with you about a segment. monique dot bowley at gmail dot com

Thanks heaps

by moniq (score: 0|5) 3720 days ago
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