3 Days in Adelaide

8 April 2014
Read Time: 3.3 mins

Adelaide: the little capital that could. South Australia's star city tends to fly under the radar on the holiday scene – caught between the west coast heat and the east’s cool factor – but this well laid-out urban centre has a lot going for it, like a swinging social calendar, vigorous cafe culture and oodles of historic charm.

Calm and collected Adelaide is free from blocks of skyscrapers, plentiful when it comes to parklands and perfectly positioned for day-tripping. Whether you’re looking for a city to slowly savour over a long weekend or feel in the mood for three days of skipping between beaches and breweries, Adelaide is a base that’s hard to beat.

 Adelaide city: more than meets the eye

.........................................................................................................................................................

Day 1

.........................................................................................................................................................

Morning

Adelaide's bright-minded designer Colonel Light mapped out the CBD in one neat square-mile grid interspersed with heritage parklands, making the city easily negotiable by foot or fixie. One local describes Adelaide as having the perfect blend of the beaches that people flock to Sydney for, the cultural pizzazz of Melbourne and the laid-back attitude of a big country town. Take your time this morning and get to know Adelaide’s emerging laneway culture around Leigh and Peel Streets in the city’s West End. This neck of the woods is perfect if you’re looking for the best new cafes in town or, later in the day, small bars and cocktail nooks. If it’s boutique shopping you fancy, King William Road and Rundle Street East are well stocked with souvenirs of a more fashionable ilk.

Afternoon / Evening

Not only is Adelaide one of the greenest cities in the world, it also has a reputation as the most affordable major city in Australia. Adelaide is a splendid host city and is almost always in the mood for a party, whether it be in celebration of a test cricket century at the Adelaide Oval or a new brew from local label Coopers. Gouger and Rundle Streets are a multicultural mecca for a night on the town, with a slew of historic pubs and pumping clubs. ‘Radelaide’ is always up for a good laugh too – check out the line-up at the Rhino Room and Arkaba Ha Ha.

 According to the Barossa, the secret ingredient is dirt

.........................................................................................................................................................

Day 2

.........................................................................................................................................................

Morning / Afternoon / Evening

Adelaide certainly has enough going on to hold your attention, but why stop at the city limits? For your second day in the SA capital, consider branching out into Adelaide’s outlying destinations:

Visit quaint story-book country
Just a short hike up the highway will have you at Hahndorf – Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. Many of the original buildings are still in ship-shape and Bavarian customs are alive and well in this charming pocket of wider Adelaide. Linger longer at the Hahndorf Inn over a stein of beer, pick your own punnet at the Beerenberg strawberry farm and sink your teeth into traditional German baked goods at the heart of the Adelaide Hills. From Hahndorf, you can wind your way further into the Hills or back to base along many a food, wine or cycle trail.

Uncork the wine regions
Some may scoff at Adelaide, considering it the poor cousin of the “big four” capitals, but a savvy traveller will skip the scoffing and go straight to swirling, sniffing and sipping a fine local drop. Wine country blankets much of outer Adelaide, across regions including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and the Barossa, all within a scenic hour’s drive of the city. The hills, the valleys, the vineyards – it doesn’t get much better than this. Shiraz and Cabernet are the champions of the Barossa, while Clare Valley is the spot to sample a crisp Riesling.

Hop out to Kangaroo Island
An isolated chunk that once strayed from the mainland, Kangaroo Island is a wildly rugged isle where farmers wave as they pass by on dirt roads and meals are dished up paddock-to-plate. A quick 45-minute jaunt on the ferry from Cape Jervis will have you at the doorstep of KI's farm-gates, wine cellars and whitewashed beaches. The island is larger than you might think – 145-kilometres across – so plan your time wisely, whether that involves seal spotting at Admirals Arch, rambling over the Remarkable Rocks or exploring the crowned island capital of Kingscote.

 Beauty and the beach - Adelaide's gorgeous Glenelg

.........................................................................................................................................................

Day 3

.........................................................................................................................................................

Morning / Afternoon

The icing on the capital that boasts some of Australia’s finest sporting facilities and intriguing architecture is its natural charisma – and by that, we mean the beaches. Adelaide is fringed by gorgeous coast just minutes from the inner city, pushing its liveability factor way up the charts. Jump on the historic Glenelg Tram from Rundle Mall or Victoria Square (or several other major stations across town) and within 10-minutes you'll be at the site of South Australia’s original mainland settlement.

Glenelg has all the makings of a perfect beachside town: a marina bobbing with boats, pine trees perfect for off-sand picnicking, a jetty primed for sunset watching and ribbons of sea-breeze shops and cafes. Head to nearby Brighton Beach or Henley Beach if you’re seeking a quieter spot for sunning, or spend the day beach-hopping from breakfast in northern Semaphore to lunch in surf-friendly Sellicks Beach, at the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges.

Evening

Cap off your weekend in Adelaide with a view that will firmly cement the city in your holiday memories. The Mount Lofty Summit, around 20-minutes from the CBD in the Hills, soars above sea level and offers views stretching across the glittering city to the coast, out to Kangaroo Island on a clear day. End your Adelaidean adventure by combining the city’s two greatest attributes, fabulous food and top-notch town planning, by booking a table at The Summit restaurant. An espresso parfait or affogato for dessert will give you that little kick you need to head back down the hill, en route to the airport.

Ashton Rigg

When I'm not at home in Brisbane, you’ll find me wanderlusting around hipster bars, eclectic boutiques and arty nooks. From bagels in Brooklyn to strudel in Salzburg, I believe the best way to experience a destination is by taking a bite! Tweets & 'grams at @AshtonRigg