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Best Free Things to Do in Adelaide

Home > Adelaide > School Holidays | Long Weekend | Kids | Free | Family
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. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published December 12th 2012
Put excitement in your holiday or the school holidays
Fun Things to Do in Adelaide

things to do in adelaide, what to do in adelaide, school holidays, kids, children, shopping, markets, free
Canoeing on the Port River


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 if 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 me 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 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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Adelaide's Laneways Have Many Surprises


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 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.

If that sounds a little challenging, explore your own area by walking/cycling/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 disused buildings. Just be cautious and play it safe.

Treat Yourself (or the Kids) - Cheap Eats

things to do in adelaide, what to do in adelaide, school holidays, kids, children, shopping, markets, free
Tenafeate Creek Winery Has Marvellous Views


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.

And if you 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.

And while you're in 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 the likes of 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 the city.

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 kids) enjoying a meal is very relaxing indeed.

Shopping & Markets

things to do in adelaide, what to do in adelaide, school holidays, kids, children, shopping, markets, free
Swinging Bowl Satay @ Adelaide Summer Sunday Night Market


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.

Around the city three new markets are pulling the punters this summer. Summer Fridays in the East End is perfect if you want to unwind after work, while the Summer Sunday Night Market lets you unwind from a busy weekend by strolling around stalls on scenic North Terrace.

A new arrival on the Adelaide market scene is Vacant Space Twilight Markets which is more youth oriented, with free entertainment and a strong focus on arts, music and culture .

In the suburbs there are some newer arrivals, such as the Mitcham Village Markets and the Adelaide Peace Markets set in the attractive Warriparinga urban wetlands near Marion Shopping Centre.

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

things to do in adelaide, what to do in adelaide, school holidays, kids, children, shopping, markets, free
This Swing Bridge Leads to the Onkapringa National Park


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. The children would love this in the school holidays.

On a Sunday see the free 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.

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

For something different 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, and there are plenty of scenic places to stop for a break.

Day Trips

things to do in adelaide, what to do in adelaide, school holidays, kids, children, shopping, markets, free
Lake Woorabinda, part of the 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.

In the metropolitan area the Waite Precinct has so much to see that it is worth more than one visit - there is plenty 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

things to do in adelaide, what to do in adelaide, school holidays, kids, children, shopping, markets, free
Part of the View from "Mt Islington"


The trainspotters among us are spoilt for choice in Adelaide. The legacy of a huge rail network has left things to see scattered around the state, even if it will be hard to find train lines that work from early next year.

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.
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Why? Find things to do in Adelaide for the school holidays
When: Anytime
Cost: Mostly free
Your Comment
Dave, you really need to remove the word Free from the title of this article. Going for lunch at a winery - one of your first suggestions is not free. . Nice but not free. If suggesting free things to do, they really should be free. How many of the things listed have an entry fee ?
by Teena (score: 0|8) 1661 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

M
by moniq (score: 0|5) 1741 days ago
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