The South Australian capital is an utter delight, from heritage buildings, to leafy spaces, to cutting-edge bars, top-notch produce and world-class art right in the heart of the city centre. You don’t even have to stroll far from your hotel or business meeting to see lions, for goodness’ sake. Here are 10 things you can do on your lunch hour in Adelaide.
Adelaide Botanic Garden
Despite its compact city centre, Adelaide contains plenty of green spaces, not least of which is the Adelaide Botanic Garden. You could visit in your lunch hour every day of your business trip, and still find something new to enjoy. Take a free, self-guided audio tour using the MyParx app; grab a bite at Cafe Fibonacci; or stroll through wetlands, water gardens, rose gardens, native gardens, kitchen gardens, medicinal gardens, and more.
Head out for a panda fix on your lunchbreak at the Adelaide Zoo, just across the way from the botanic garden. Giant pandas Wang Wang and Fu Ni are the Southern Hemisphere’s only breeding pair and a major drawcard for the zoo. But there are more than 3,000 animals to observe, from African lions to Victorian koalas. You could even opt for a 15-minute brief encounter with your favourite wild thing – from playing with meerkats to checking hippo teeth.
Out & About
If you’re feeling active, hire a bike or go for a run by the Torrens. The river runs from the Adelaide Hills to Henley Beach, and the Torrens ‘lake’ in Adelaide city attracts walkers and joggers, as well as picnickers. If you’re feeling less than active, take a ride on Popeye, one of the blue and white fleet of boats that cruise the lake – it’s a 40-minute round trip with commentary.
Adelaide’s Victoria Square has been redeveloped and now has greenery, a fountain, cafes and more. It’s a great spot for a quick workout – peek inside the box marked What’s In The Box? for equipment such as footballs, Frisbees and skipping ropes to up your game. Alternatively, drop and do some push-ups, go for a stair run, or take part in a free or low-cost class. Just remember your sunscreen – it can get hot during the summer.
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Food & Drink
Adelaide Central Market
Foodies rejoice – with more than 80 stalls, offering fruit and vegies, meat, cheese, bread and more, you won’t be short of lunch ingredients at the bustling undercover Adelaide Central Market. If you don’t want to pick and mix, hit one of the many eateries, such as Lucia’s, famous for its traditional pizza. For a more in-depth look at the produce in this 148-year-old market, visit the producer-in-residence stall, which changes every couple of weeks.
The CBD’s Peel and Leigh streets have found themselves bursting with awesome bars and eateries. Check out Peel Street’s Gondola Gondola for lunch, Tuesday to Friday. It serves up sake and Japanese whiskey (go easy, it’s only lunch time), alongside a Pan Asian menu. Meanwhile, in Leigh Street, the tiny Pink Moon Saloon offers such treats as prawn and lobster rolls and club sandwiches along with heartier fare – but it’s open for lunch only on Fridays.
Art Gallery of South Australia
Artistic inspiration awaits on North Terrace, within the Art Gallery of South Australia. There are free bite-sized lunchtime talks on works of art by gallery guides every day except Tuesdays. Or just meander through the collections that span Australian, European, North American and Asian art, with or without the help of an audio tour app. Current exhibition Sappers & Shrapnel showcases the little-known art form of ‘trench art’ – objects crafted by soldiers from the waste of warfare. It’s on until January 29.
South Australian Museum
Take an early lunch for an 11am free guided tour of the South Australian Museum – explore galleries on Ancient Egypt, Aboriginal Cultures, Whales and Dolphins, and a special gallery on the achievements of Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. The latest exhibition is Curious Beasts, featuring animal prints by the likes of Durer and Goya, ranging from the 15th to the early 19th centuries (until February 5).
Rundle Mall and Street
Rundle Mall was Australia’s first pedestrian mall and now is home to more than 700 shops, including four department stores, and 15 arcades and centres. Pause to take your picture with The Spheres artwork (otherwise known as the Mall’s Balls) and nip around the corner to Adelaide Arcade for some Haigh’s Chocolates, before heading to Rundle Street East, to discover chic boutiques and fashion labels.
Books & music
If a quiet browse through a bookshelf or a riffle through a CD rack is more your style, you can’t go past independent record, film and bookstore Streetlight Adelaide in the CBD. Another indie treat is the venerable Imprints Booksellers, also in the CBD where you can, for instance, pick up the entirety of poet e.e. cummings’ works, or revel in Murakami’s musings on creativity with conductor Seiji Ozawa. It’s bliss on a page.
*Featured image: A River Torrens cruise (Getty Images).