Full travel guide to Adelaide, South Australia

The vibrant city of Adelaide, South Australia is bursting at the seams with experiences and places to see. Our full travel guide can help you plan your perfect visit…

Team Wanderlust
12 December 2022
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South Australia

How to get there and around

Explore on two wheels (South Australian Tourism Commission)

Adelaide is a buzzing, diverse city – and it’s as easy to reach as it is thrilling to explore. Airlines such as Qatar Airways fly straight here from London, Manchester and Edinburgh with just one stop in Doha. They call it the 20-minute city – this being the common journey time from the city centre to the airport, the beaches, and the Adelaide Hills wineries – making it the perfect place to start your Aussie adventures. The city also serves as a natural gateway to the many other riches of South Australia, from Kangaroo Island to the Flinders Ranges, with self-drive options simple to arrange. While exploring Adelaide itself, don’t miss EcoCaddy’s pedicabs, a fun and sustainable way to see the city.

If you only do three things in Adelaide

Restaurant Botanic (Jonathan van der Knaap)

1: Soak up its sustainability experiences

Adelaide recently became only the second place worldwide to be officially designated a National Park City, and this green ethos extends to the mindset of the locals. Its best restaurants – among them Etica, Restaurant Botanic and Peel St – all place sustainability to the fore, while countless other companies play their part too. EcoCaddy is a prime example: the operator not only offers carbon-negative tours by pedicab, guiding you through Adelaide’s green spaces and street art, but also makes city-wide collections of food scraps. And with parklands, beaches and hills all forming part of Adelaide’s everyday landscape, there’s nature wherever you turn.

Art Gallery of South Australia (South Australian Tourism Commission)

2. Get a taste of its art and culture

Adelaide has soul, spark, and serious style. From the thriving food scene of Adelaide Central Market and the world-class collections at the Art Gallery of South Australia to the relaxed beach vibes of Glenelg and the laneway bars of the city centre, this is a city that packs your days with authentic Aussie experiences. There’s good reason why it routinely features in lists of the world’s most liveable cities.

WOMADelaide (Grant Hancock)

3. Join in with the festivals

Often dubbed the Festival City, Adelaide is known across the globe for its vibrant large-scale events. Top billing goes to Adelaide Festival and Adelaide Fringe, held more or less concurrently in the Australian summer – the former is known for its pre-eminent programme of dance, literature, music and more, while the latter is a glittering six-week romp of comedy, cabaret, theatre and other delights, second in size only to the Edinburgh Fringe. Want more? You’re in luck. Try the fantastic WOMADelaide, which draws world-famous musicians and artists to Botanic Park, or one of the many high-quality food festivals that turn the city into a gourmet’s paradise.

Gastronomic experiences in Adelaide

Shobosho (Josie Withers)

The wine

Wine is one of Adelaide’s chief pleasures. Penfolds has an estate in the city itself, while more than 200 other cellar doors sit within easy reach. The wineries of the Adelaide Hills, where you can sample the award-winning produce from the likes of Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard and The Lane Vineyard, are just 20 minutes away. Also close by, where the sea meets the vines, you’ll find the coastal vistas of the McLaren Vale wine region, home to organic and biodynamic wineries, boutique cellar doors and world-renowned wine brands. And as if that weren’t enough, the one and only Barossa can be visited as a day-trip.

Australia’s restaurant of the year

When Gourmet Traveller named Adelaide’s Restaurant Botanic as its Australian Restaurant of the Year in September 2022, it came as little surprise to the locals. Chef Justin James, formerly of Copenhagen’s Noma, is a household name in these parts, thanks to his ground-breaking tasting menus (expect an unforgettable four-hour dining experience) and his devotion to regional produce. The restaurant is set in the Adelaide Botanic Garden and features dishes such as emu cured on salt rock with sunrise lime, and dry-aged Murray cod steamed in paperbark with celeriac and garum butter. A phenomenal wine list adds to what is a remarkable restaurant.

Must-try dishes

It says plenty that for some travellers, Adelaide’s food and drink alone are fine enough reasons to come calling. When you consider the bounty that the region provides – from glorious goats’ cheeses and plump king oysters to fresh veggies and delicious berries – that’s little surprise. And while refined dining most definitely has its place here (just count those gourmet awards), the most iconic local dish is still the pie floater: a crusty meat pie served in a thick, tasty pea soup. This being a hugely cosmopolitan city, you’ll also find top-notch options for everything from Vietnamese to Italian.

Where to stay in Adelaide

Hotel Indigo Adelaide

Eos by Sky City

A new luxury property forming part of a high-end entertainment complex, this five-star hotel offers everything you’d expect and more: spa treatments, signature restaurants, opulent suites, a premium pillow menu and even an on-call mixologist. It’s one for the high-rollers, or those celebrating a special occasion.

Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets

Enjoying a fantastic location in one of the city’s liveliest and most eclectic neighbourhoods, this arty boutique hotel is just the spot for a memorable stay in Adelaide. You’ll find colourful décor and a classy restaurant on site – as well as a rooftop bar – and you won’t need to wander far to enjoy the city’s cultural scene.

Ibis Adelaide

Offering a good-value alternative in the heart of the South Australian capital, the 311-room Ibis Adelaide has floor-to-ceiling windows, modern furnishings and a location in the central business district. There’s a good fitness centre and the hotel also has its own restaurant and bar. All in all, it’s an enjoyable base for a stay.

How to spend two days in Adelaide

Adelaide Central Market (Tourism Australia)

Day one


Adelaide goes by many descriptions. It gets called The Festival City, The Twenty Minute City and The Vineyard City – names well warranted in all cases – and in more recent times it’s become something of a cocoon city, emerging post-Covid as somewhere more relevant and attractive than ever.

Start your wanderings at the excellent Art Gallery of South Australia, one of the best of its kind in the country. You’ll gain a sense of the region’s long and rich Indigenous heritage, as well as being able to admire classic, contemporary and abstract works from across Australia and beyond.

Then head to Adelaide Central Market, which has been drawing in food-lovers and culture-seekers since 1869. It’s full of life year-round, with more than 70 independent traders operating from the famous red-brick market hall. You’ll find fresh produce from around the state, as well as some of the city’s best lunch spots.

RoofClimb Adelaide Oval (John Montesi)


They love their sport Down Under, and Adelaide is no exception. The city’s crowning glory is the Adelaide Oval, where the Ashes stadium’s much-photographed, century-old cricket scoreboard contrasts with the ultra-modern stands around it. If there’s not a match on (Aussie rules is played here, as well as cricket), join a guided tour of the ground to see the venue up close. There’s even the option to do a RoofClimb, an experience that treats you to 360-degree views of the city.

Too much like hard work? Head instead to the Adelaide Botanic Garden, an oasis of calm covering more than 50 hectares. Carefully landscaped and showcasing plants from right around the country – and the world – it incorporates areas of wetland, forest and native vegetation, as well as dedicated rose and dahlia gardens. There’s even a global collection of cacti and succulents. It’s also where you’ll find Restaurant Botanic, named Australia’s best in 2022.

Hains & Co (South Australian Tourism Commission)


For an evening meal elsewhere, tap into Adelaide’s international flavours – try the wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas at Etica, the Spanish pintxos at ‘Udaberri, or the African-inspired grills of Africola – or go more local by opting for a table at Fishbank, which specialises in seafood, or Press Food & Wine, where the emphasis is on high-quality, modern Australian cooking.

Then lose yourself in the city’s lively laneways, where street art and speakeasy bars create a heady atmosphere for a night out. Recent years have seen small, lovingly run drinking holes becoming a major part of the city’s nightlife. Top choices include Clever Little Tailor, which has groaning shelves of liquor bottles and sharply togged staff; Hains and Co, where cocktails and cigars both figure prominently; and the Pink Moon Saloon, which bills itself as a ‘house of fire and drink in the West End’.

Morialta Conservation Park (Michael Waterhouse)

Day two


Adelaide is ringed by handsome Australian countryside, but few of its outdoor gifts are as reachable or rewarding as the Morialta Conservation Park. Just 12km from the city, it’s a verdant swathe of creeks, woodlands, gorges and waterfalls, complete with walking trails and native animals, from koalas and kookaburras to honeyeaters and thornbills. In spring or winter you’ll see the waterfalls at their best, although a visit at any time of year holds scenic rewards.

In the city proper, the long-standing Adelaide Zoo is a well-known wildlife draw – housing giant pandas as well as Aussie critters – but out here in Morialta, it’s all about the more visceral appeal of being out in nature. Bushwalking trails range from easily manageable paths to more intense half-day hikes, and there are further adrenaline kicks in the shape of rock-climbing and mountain-biking. Just the thing to get you going in the morning.

Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard (South Australian Tourism Commission)


From Morialta it’s a short drive to reach the wineries of the Adelaide Hills region, where among the steep hills and winding roads, more than 50 cellar doors are waiting to be discovered. As well as tastings, many offer tours, master classes, food-pairing experiences and even – in true South Australian style – fully fledged fine dining. Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard is one of many examples, with head chef Jesse White making the most of premium local produce, and wide views across the estate elevating the dining experience even further. Other top gourmet options include The Lane and Sidewood Estate.

But it’s the wine itself that takes top billing. This is the leading region in the state for Pinot Noir, a light-bodied tipple that tends to be silky-smooth with notes of strawberry and cherry. Other cool-climate varieties, such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, also do well here. There’s little, in other words, not to love.

Moseley Beach Club (South Australian Tourism Commission)


Having freshened up back in the city, take the 20-minute tram ride out to Glenelg, Adelaide’s most popular city beach, which looks out across St Vincent Gulf towards Kangaroo Island. Being wide and west-facing, this is a glorious spot for sunsets, and you’ll find all manner of cafes and bars in which to enjoy the night in style – in many cases, you won’t even have to take your feet out of the sand.

Leading back inland from the beach, the kilometre-long strip of Jetty Road acts as Glenelg’s lively main drag, with regular events and yet more places to eat and drink. Alternatively you may prefer to stay down by the surf, watching the stars appear overhead – Adelaide is a destination of many pleasures, but this much-loved beachside suburb is as enjoyable a corner of the city as any.

Make it happen

Qatar Airways

Fly to Adelaide with Qatar Airways, named World’s Best Airline at the 2022 Skytrax Awards. Stretch out in comfort, onboard one of the youngest fleets. While you dine, sleep or watch some of the 4,000-plus entertainment options, you’re sure to enjoy the inflight experience.


A 12-night holiday to Australia with Trailfinders including flights, 9 days car hire, 3* and 4* hotels in Adelaide, Barossa, Clare Valley, Victor Harbor, Kangaroo Island and Sydney costs from £2,799 per person (based on two sharing). Includes Adelaide city tour, Ultimate Winery experience and ferry transfers to Kangaroo Island. Call Trailfinders on 020 7368 1354.

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