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17 absolute best things to do in Adelaide, South Australia

Whether it’s world-class beaches, restaurants stocked with award-winning wine or a thrill for adventure that you just need to satisfy, the city of Adelaide is a guaranteed good time that you won’t forget in a hurry.

South Australia’s famously laidback capital is fast becoming one of the country’s hottest holiday destinations and with so much to do, it’s easy to see why visitors are flocking from all over the world to experience it’s many attractions. So, whether you’re visiting for the weekend or have a few weeks to get in there like a local, here are the 17 absolute best things to do in Adelaide.

Race cars at Mallala Raceway

Looking for Adelaide’s ultimate thrill seeking experience? Nothing comes close to getting down to Mallala Motorsport Park, jumping in a purpose built race car and taking on Australia’s favourite race track. Known as a ‘real driver’s track’ because of it’s highly demanding 2.6 km of bends, curves and corners, Mallala raceway has a driving experience to suit any rev head or adrenaline junkie.

Experience the exhilaration of ripping hot laps in the passenger seat of a professional V8 car or jump behind the wheel of a powerful V8 Holden or Ford and test your ability to drive fast and take control. It’s not just ‘rev heads’ that head to Fastrack V8 Race, anyone looking for an awesome experience will find it the ultimate Adelaide must-do.

 

Bradman Collection

It’s almost un-Australian to not give Sir Donald a visit down at the Bradman Collection, his purpose-built museum at the iconic Adelaide Oval. Dedicated to the greatest batsman in the history of cricket, the exhibition houses his priceless, personal collection of cricket memorabilia. Think you can give the legend a run for his money? Test your own cricketing skills in the interactive museum and see how you measure up.

Visit Glenelg

Want to escape the hustle and bustle? The historic seaside village of Glenelg is a favourite seaside escape for locals and visitors alike. Catch Adelaide’s last surviving tram down to the beach and take in the variety of lively attractions, an amusement park and sidewalk cafes. Glenelg’s fascinating history as South Australia’s oldest European settlement is sure to fascinate and there’s plenty of space for you to try your luck fishing from the picturesque pier. Want to get up close and personal with a dolphin? Jump in and take a swim, if you dare!

 

Sample wine at the National Wine Centre

Nestled in the city’s Botanic Gardens, the National Wine Centre of Australia is a mecca for wine lovers and those wanting to learn more about the Australian wine industry. Experience the winemaking process for yourself with an Interactive Wine Discovery Journey or simply take-in the stunning architecture and surrounding gardens with one of the centre’s 120+ wines and delicious seasonal menu.

Take in the serenity of Himeji Garden

There’s nothing more serene than a perfectly manicured Japanese garden, and for those looking to do some solo meditation or take a romantic stroll with a loved one, the delightful Adelaide-Himeji Garden is your perfect destination.

Entry is free and guided tours can be arranged.

Hike around Cleland Wildlife Park

Let nature be your guide at South Australia’s top rated Cleland Wildlife Park. Just 20 minutes from Adelaide’s city centre, you can spend a few hours exploring the park, feeding native animals like kangaroos and wombats or even getting up close and personal with one of the park’s many snakes and reptiles. If you want to make a day of it, there are BBQ facilities so you can have a cook up surrounded by some of Australia’s most iconic native animals. This is a photographer’s dream, so make sure you pack the camera.

Visit the Fleurieu Peninsula

Got time to take a day-trip? The Fleurieu Peninsula’s breathtaking scenery, fantastic surf, and awesome foodie scene makes it the perfect place for those looking for that perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. Victor Harbour may be the most popular stops along the coast but there’s plenty of smaller towns and hidden gems to explore along the peninsula. For a once in a lifetime experience, make sure you take the horse-drawn tram across to Granite Island to visit the resident colony of Little Penguins.

 

Go mountain biking at Cobbler Creek Recreation Park

Here’s one for the adventure junkies. Cobbler Creek Recreation Park is a mountain bikers paradise and the perfect place for beginners and experienced riders alike to unwind, have a BBQ and show off their skills on the multitude of bike jumps and awesome off-road trail rides. There’s even an adventure playground with a flying fox and raptor nests if you have little ones to entertain, as well as some peaceful trails for the walkers of the family. 

 

Check out the city’s street art

A few years ago, street art in Adelaide didn’t exist but a recent change in council attitudes has opened the door for lots of talented local and international artists to use the beautiful city laneways as their canvas. You can do an official guided tour if you want, but why not try getting lost and discovering some absolute gems of your own. The beauty of Adelaide’s CBD is there is always a great spot for a beer or wine nearby if you need to quench your thirst after all that walking.

Take a day trip to the Barossa Valley

Famous for its bold shiraz, thriving food culture and beautiful scenery, no trip to Adelaide is complete without a day trip to the Barossa Valley. An hour’s drive from Adelaide Airport, Barossa is one of the most iconic grape-growing regions in the world. You can take a guided tour if you’re thinking of winery hopping or simply jump in the car and cruise past fields of beautiful grape vines and quaint villages.

Try your hand at oyster shucking

South Australia is famous for its delicious oysters and you can find them freshly shucked in restaurants all over the city. But for those with a more adventurous streak, why not head to Coffin Bay Oysters, one of South Australia’s working oyster farms and try shucking some of your own! Wade out into the ocean and learn the history of oyster farming while collecting and shucking oysters with a local expert. The best part? You get to eat your catch once you’re done and pair it with a top-notch South Australian wine or local beer.

 

Eat at Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide Central Market is one of the oldest indoor markets still operating in the world. Beloved by locals and tourists, the array of baked goods, cheeses, multicultural snacks, coffee and hot meals will blow your mind. Grab some local produce and a coffee before heading off on an adventure or spend an afternoon taking it all in before exploring the nearby Chinatown.

Take in the view from the Adelaide Hills

It’s only a short drive up to the Adelaide Hills but you’ll see in no time why early European settlers flocked to the region to set up towns and vineyards. Little villages like Hahndorf and Lobethal are filled with European charm and architecture, and are surrounded by award-winning wineries, so why wouldn’t you want to visit? You can rent a cool vintage or muscle car to get you up there but don’t have too much fun and forget to check out the panoramic view of Adelaide and it’s beaches on the way down.

Walk around North Terrace

Adelaide might be filled to the brim with adventure activities, but for those who like to balance out adrenaline with a little culture, North Terrace has you covered. A tree-lined boulevard filled with local treasures such as Parliament House, the South Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace can have you spending a whole day soaking it in and still having activities to strike off the to-do list!

Climb Mount Lofty

Get the heart pumping with a bike ride or hike up the summit of Mount Lofty. Not only is Mount Lofty the access point to Cleland Wildlife Park but there’s plenty of attractions of it’s own to entice visitors looking for some great scenery and even the chance to join a mountain biking tour. Get fitted out with the latest gear before hitting some bushland paths and riding down into the city centre.

Listen to live music at The Gov

Want to rock out after dark? The Gov is a staple of Adelaide’s music scene and with 170 years under its belt, it sure knows how to throw a party. Some of the biggest names in local and international acts have graced its stage and with musos on pretty much every night of the year, there’s bound to be something up your alley. So whether you’re a metal head, pub rocker or prefer something with an electronic vibe, get down and enjoy some of the best nightlife Adelaide has to offer.

Adelaide Botanic Gardens

You don’t have to be a green thumb to enjoy everything the Adelaide Botanic Gardens has to offer. Established in 1855, this wonderland of natural beauty has everything from Australian natives to night flowering water-lilies and Australia’s oldest avenue of Moreton Bay Fig Trees. Take a leisurely stroll or get educated in the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, where you’ll learn all about the life of plants while exploring one of their permanent collections. On a budget? Entry to the Gardens is always free, so go and spend an afternoon.

 

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