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Discover Adelaide in 1 Day: Top 5 Things to do

Home > Adelaide > Places of Interest | Photography | Outdoor | Accommodation | Zoos | Lists
by Leona (Devaz) Fensome (subscribe)
Savour | Capture | Write
Published January 11th 2014
On a recent trip to Perth for some well-needed sun and beach time, (sheesh Melbourne winter felt like it went forever...) I decided to pit stop in Adelaide for a night and check it out. This was a great move on two fronts. It actually made my Perth airfare considerably cheaper (who knew breaking it up into two flights would do that) and I discovered Adelaidians (is that even a word?) are a super friendly bunch.

I landed at 8.30am on a Friday and left at 2.30pm the next day (for the quick mathematicians out there, I did in actual fact have 30 hours entertain me for the purpose of this article). Totally impressed by all this charming city has to offer - here's my pick of the top five things to do in 'Radelaide':

1. Book accommodation through Even though I reduced my flight fare, I did need to stay somewhere. I contemplated 30 hours of non-stop discovery, but unfortunately (well, fortunately for me) I do love my sleep. I chose a 'Mystery package' and for $135.00 I ended up at the five-star Hilton Adelaide Hotel (wow). When I got to the hotel around 8.30am, the amazing front desk staff let me check into my room, plus they upgraded me! So, I managed to secure my room for an extra half a day at no cost. Totally generous and great customer service.

This hotel is in an excellent location. Centrally located near Victoria Square, it is in walking distance from the CBD, there is a tram stop out the front and... it has an outdoor swimming pool and spa overlooking the city. There's also a fully equipped indoor gym with sauna, plunge pools, a running track and tennis courts (outside). I was a bit giddy with excitement at the prospect of all of this. I did use all of it - bar the tennis court and running track. If you land a great hotel with lots of add ons - use them! I met some great English tourists in the pool area and it's always super interesting to hear what other people are up to.

2. Visit the Art Gallery of South Australia: The Art Gallery is nestled in the University of Adelaide grounds, just near the CBD on North Terrace. The architecture of the gallery building is stunning, as is the free exhibitions on offer. The front desk staff are incredibly accommodating and spent a bit of time explaining each of the exhibitions to me, the key points of interest and some must-see works of art. This definitely guided my decisions on what to take in and if you like history, you'll be spoilt. The gallery has a rich display of Australian art and also international paintings and artefacts. Plus it is free!

3. Adelaide Zoo: This was one of my favourite things to do in Adelaide. It was close to 40C when I was in Adelaide, so I caught a taxi from the hotel down (about $10 - $15). I pretty much spent most the afternoon there and meandered all through the exhibits and took some really up, close and personal shots on my DSLR. Because it was so hot, the zoo was quiet - which made it perfect for photography. The zoo is a well-thought out and interactive set up. Right behind the Botanical Gardens, it caters for children, adults and groups alike. The otters, lemurs and meerkats were stand outs for me. These little guys are hilarious to watch (and super cute) and will provide you with some great captures (if you move fast enough). As the afternoon cooled down a bit, I walked back to the CBD - which was really lovely and encompassed the Botanical Gardens, University of Adelaide and North Terrace.

4. Gleneg: Located about 10km from the CBD, you can get to Glenelg on the tram and it costs about $5 for an adult. I stayed for a couple of hours (the tram guide let me use the same ticket, even though it ran out 9 minutes before - so accommodating!) If you plan to stay longer, I'd recommend a day ticket. Rich in history, Holdfast Bay is a stunning spot for a swim if the weather is sunny. The white sands and blue-green waters are incredibly inviting.

I went on the Saturday (after the 40C weather had dropped) and it was a bit overcast, so I went along the beach and pier and dropped into the Bay Discovery Centre - which is located in the Glenelg Town Hall and is a museum of all the beach history and settlement of Glenelg. Really informative and there's a mezzanine gallery of South Australian artists, which is well worth dropping into as well. If you are looking for a bite to eat, drink or shopping - Jetty's Road is filled with restaurants, shops and places to stop into.

5. Adelaide Central Market: If you like (*ahem*) love food, then you may not get past Central Market. Jam packed (and I really mean this) with fresh fruit and vegetable stores, European providores, fresh coffee and cafes, bakeries and patisseries, speciality foods and butchers - this is a foodie's heaven. Located on Gouger Street it is easily accessible from four different entry points. It's highly recommended you check out their times for tasting produce. On my wanderings, I tried the:

'Best Hot Dog in Adelaide' (Bratwurst, with sauerkraut, mustard, onion, cheese and sauce - pretty darn good). It's from a stand in the middle of the market.

Quinoa tabbouleh and Moroccan Chicken baguette with salad
Blueberry coconut yoghurt: from the House of Health store

Fresh strawberries, green apples and blueberries
Fresh roasted brown rice and green tea (to take home): from Little Toyko.

Green tea from the T-Bar cafe (they have a huge range of different teas to try).

All incredible produce and really flavoursome. If you're wondering how I managed to cram all this in, I pretty much did a full day on the Friday and started early on the Saturday. As most things were relatively close together - that saved time. Plus, the tram is free when going into the city from the Hilton (two stops).

I know this is a Top Five, but I need to do one more special mention: Rundle Mall. I mean, it wouldn't be a review without this iconic shopping district. There is a lot to see, buy and do in Rundle Mall. I was particularly fascinated by the architecture and spent a bit of time looking up, traversing all the little arcades and lane-ways to get a taste of Adelaide CBD life.

It's a pleasant walk and relatively easy to do on foot. The Regent Arcade was a stand out for me. History says it opened in 1928 and was considered one of the most luxurious theatres in the country. I had lunch in one of the little cafes (yes, on top of all the food from the Central Market!)

Would love to hear your favourite places in Adelaide and what you enjoy doing. I'm planning to head back and discover more of the city this year, so recommendations are welcome!
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Where: Adelaide City
Your Comment
The central market looks like a nice area, and that meerkat is so cute.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 3179 days ago
I've been to Adelaide 3 times but saw neither of these places. I guess another trip is warranted. Thanks for the inspiration.
by Happy Mom (score: 2|548) 3178 days ago
Thanks for an exceptional article with truly stunning images. Despite living in Adelaide I had to look twice at most of your photos to convince myself they were in Adelaide!
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11309) 3178 days ago
What a brilliant article, I live in Adelaide and love that you loved our city. :)
by Paula McManus (score: 3|3784) 3179 days ago
Great article! I'm heading there later this year so have placed all of your spots on my to do list.
by ROF (score: 2|313) 3178 days ago
Really liked your article and agree that Adelaide is the best!!
by berna (score: 0|3) 3167 days ago
Stay longer . I love my city . So much to see out side the city it's self . The Barrossa Valley , Handorf , Semaphore . A stroll down Port Adelaide , full of history , great buildings . We don't have big theme parks but I don't think we need them . Go to Kangaroo Island . Not to mention all our strange and quirky pubs .
by sylvi (score: 2|295) 3158 days ago
Fantastic article! Heading there in February and will definately be stopping at these 5 locations.
by amand (score: 0|3) 3172 days ago
I forgot to mention the casino . Not for the gambling , the building is the old railway building , it still has the train station , but the building is just gorgeous . I love it .
by sylvi (score: 2|295) 3158 days ago
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