Freelance writer, born and bred in South Australia.
Published October 2nd 2016
Three days, six locations
One of my best friends came down from Sydney last week for his first ever trip to Adelaide. As soon as I knew he was on his way, I threw on my 'tour-guide' hat and jumped on excel to start planning his trip. (I'm a control freak, and an organisation nut) He was only in Adelaide for four days so I needed to be smart with what we were going to do and where we were going to go. I found myself in a bit of strife trying to be selective and prioritise certain attractions over others. It's true that Adelaide has so much to offer. I wasn't sure what would show off our beautiful state best. But, I think I chose well in the end. As I dropped him off at the airport to wave goodbye, the expression on his face was a powerful mix - happy that the holiday went well, and sad that it was over.
Thankfully, the weather was lovely for our day trip to Victor Harbor. If you're a visitor to Adelaide, I strongly recommend hiring a car as most of the greatest scenic destinations can't be reached by public transport (Oh, and our buses tend to not really follow that whole 'schedule' thing). There's so much on offer at Victor Harbor and the town has grown into a beautiful, tourist-friendly location. The picturesque walk/horse & tram ride over to Granite Island is always fun and provides a number of photo opportunities. Victor's neighbouring suburbs of Port Elliot, Middleton and Goolwa are also abundant with things to see and do. It was too cold for us to have a surf, but we did sit and watch the brave locals at Middleton Point. And, of course, a trip to the Port Elliot Bakery was mandatory.
The trail around Granite Island in Victor. Image: Emma Jane Warren
Adelaide's nightlife is a whole different ballgame to any other state. I've been to bars and been clubbing in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and they simply don't compare. Nightlife in Adelaide is a community. You will go in with two friends, and leave with twenty more. The vibes are driven by locality and a sense of togetherness. I took my friend to Rundle Street on a Saturday night and we ended up staying there until the early hours of Sunday. Although we began at the Stag and then moved to the Elephant, we actually spent the majority of our time jumping between Hacienda and Mary's Poppin (both on Synagogue Place). We concluded the night in a classic pub-crawl fashion - chewing on burritos from Zambrero and drooling over an AB.
Generous drinks in the city. Image: Emma Jane Warren
Because my friend was up for the adventure and brought a sturdy pair of sneakers, he agreed to climbing Mount Lofty with me. This hike is a tourist's dream for a few reasons. One is that it showcases one of South Australia's wonderful conservation parks. The entire hike, while being fantastically sign-posted and cemented, feels quite rural and is jam packed full of wildlife and greenery. Yet, the main attraction with the Mount Lofty hike is the comprehensive view that troopers receive at the top. This location is arguably the greatest lookout in the state, because it overlooks all of Adelaide city and the nearby coast. Of course, you don't have to walk up there to capture the view. If your leg muscles aren't up for it, you can definitely drive instead.
Fresh air walking to Mount Lofty. Image: Emma Jane Warren
Every tourist wants to buy something from their travels, and Glenelg is an ideal place to do it. Jetty Road has a number of boutique and interesting stores for fashion & clothing. There's also Harbour Town on Tapleys Hill Road where you can get the cheapest bargains in Adelaide. While down that way for shopping, it's essential that a stop is made at Adelaide's most popular tourist beach - Glenelg. We walked the jetty, grabbed lunch down the street, and ice-cream from Copenhagen. Oh, and we took a lot of photos (mainly selfies with the beach backdrop). Glenelg is also the perfect spot to watch the sunset if you can manage to get there at the perfect afternoon time.
Overwhelmingly stunning sunset from Glenelg Jetty. Image: Emma Jane Warren
Everybody knows that Adelaide is famous for our wine. There was no doubt I was going to take my friend to a wine region. However, picking which one was a real difficulty. The only reason I chose the Barossa was because it was closer to where I live, and I'm a sucker for Seppeltsfield Wines. We stopped in at Rockford, Seppeltsfield, Two Hands, Langmeil, and Penfolds.
Wonder and peace in the Barossa Valley. Image: Emma Jane Warren
My friend is a chef by trade, so I was nervous to take him anywhere food-related. However, the Central Markets simply isn't something a tourist can miss. The hustle and bustle inside the markets and the eclectic nature of different flavours and cuisines sums up Adelaide in a nutshell. Good food is a thriving part of South Australian culture and all visitors need to experience some locally sourced produce and delicacies. The stall owners in the Central Markets always have a beaming smile and a tendency to allow free tastings & great advice. Such hospitality and friendly manner isn't something you can find easily in other states.
What do you mean that our buses 'don't follow that schedule thing?' That is silly and not true. Which buses are you talking about? Local city buses run to schedule unless there is a problem like an accident or power failure. I'm sure buses to Victor Harbour would also travel to schedule. I'd be surprised if you are a user of public transport.