Adelaide CBD

How to do Adelaide in 48 Hours

4 April 2017

Adelaide is a city full of life and quaint, old-world charm that pokes its head out between the petite laneways and eclectic trendy bars. As you head out of the carefully planned city, crossing the threshold of encompassing parkland you’re met very quickly with the rolling Adelaide Hills and just a little farther is the fruit of the city’s Barossa and Clare Valley. Oh and there’s some pretty all right wine to boot.

Whether you’re looking to do a winery tour of the infamous Barossa and Clare Valley or to discover the city’s trendy laneways, there’s so much to explore.

We decided to test out a 48-hour itinerary and while it might not seem like much time, if you’re up for a jam-packed two days of eating, drinking, walking and exploring, you’ll be sure to get your money's worth. 

However, full disclosure is that this itinerary does skip the stunning Barossa and Clare Valley, so to find out what’s involved, stay tuned for an upcoming story on Friday on what to expect from a Barossa Valley winery tour.

Day 1

A close-up of chocolates in rows. Chocolates tempt the tastebuds at Adelaide Central Market. Image: Getty

9.30am – Arrive

Head to your hotel to drop off your bag before making your way to the creme de la creme of Adelaide’s fresh local produce and boutique delicacies, otherwise known as your new favourite place on earth.

10.30am – Breakfast and coffee at the Adelaide Central Market

This marketplace is Adelaide’s mecca if you want the best fresh food and produce from the surrounding region. Stop in at celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow’s Jamface for a cosy flat white and homemade pastry. Yum.

12.30pm – Rundle Mall

Pass by Victoria Square and Town Hall as you walk towards the west end of Rundle Mall to indulge in some serious retail therapy. As you walk along Adelaide’s main shopping precinct, you will come across some of the city’s finest street performers. Don’t forget to stop and take in the city’s vibrant atmosphere, listening to some of its brightest young talents.

2.30pm – Late lunch on Vardon Avenue

As you make your way to the end of Rundle Mall, head south one street to Vardon Avenue and discover the quaint laneways packed with some of the city’s best food and quirky clothing boutiques. Have a late lunch at brightly coloured French cafe Hey Jupiter on Ebenezer Place. Pro tip: The shaved zucchini salad goes down a treat with a Clare Valley Riesling.

4pm – Pit stop

Stop off at your hotel to get changed/take a shower before dinner. Adelaide is known as the 20-minute city because it takes only 20 to get from the CBD to the Adelaide Hills or to the beautiful beaches. That makes a dinner-outfit-change pitstop very do-able.

4.30pm – National Wine Centre of Australia

Yes, the National Wine Centre of Australia is in the Adelaide CBD and it must be seen to be believed. Take the free Wine Discovery Journey before venturing back downstairs to sample some of the best wines of the region at Australia’s largest tasting-room experience. The cellar door at Wined Bar allows guests to sample 120 wines thanks to the installation of state-of-the-art Enomatic wine preservation and dispensing machines. A wine-lover's dream.

7.30pm – Dinner at Africola

Absolutely do not miss experiencing the excitement that is dinner at Africola. From the second you walk beneath the blue and white candy-stripe awning, this restaurant appeals to all the senses.

This African restaurant’s colourful decor and larger-than-life artworks will leave you smiling even if you lack the tastebuds to devour the unique and flavoursome menu. Must-tries include the crispy eggplant, wood oven cauliflower, octopus salad and crispy-onion-topped baba ganoush that comes with a grilled fermented flatbread.

Pro tip: Absolutely make sure you book well ahead of your trip and request a seat at the kitchen bar. That way you can see all the action and the delicious meals as they’re being crafted (and that’s not overstating things, these dishes really are created meticulously and passionately).

Day 2

A path along the River Torrens in Adelaide, South Australia. The River Torrens is a restful way to start the day. Image: Getty

7am – Wake up along the Torrens River

After all that delicious food last night, you’ll probably want to go for a run or walk. Start the day off with a heady dose of nature and head along the Linear Park Trail towards Henley Beach that snakes along the Torrens River.

8.30am – Coffee and breakfast

This morning’s pick of breakfast spots is Peel Street’s La Moka. Get stuck into a full-bodied latte in La Moka’s signature yellow cup as you sit in one of the cafe’s large, arched window bar seats. Treat yourself to a warm ham-and-cheese croissant but don’t fill up too much – there’s chocolate to be eaten this morning.

9.30am – Hire a free bike

Thanks to the Adelaide City Council, you can pick up a bike from a bunch of different hire locations around the city and all you need is a driver’s licence, proof of age card or passport.

10am – Haigh’s Chocolate Factory tour

Cycle over to the Haigh’s Chocolate Factory for a tour but make sure you book in advance as spots fill up quickly. The tour is available Monday to Friday only.

11am – Lunch at Hahndorf

Hire a car for a few hours and head to the historic German settlement of Hahndorf, a 30-minute drive from the city into the stunning Adelaide Hills. This little village is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, celebrating 178 years in 2017. There’s so much to see along Hahndorf’s Main Street, with plenty of shops offering up toys, antiques, books, clothing, shoes, minerals, cuckoo clocks, hand-crafted leather wares and natural beauty products.

3.30pm – Drinks at NOLA

Stop in for a quick drink before dinner at this New Orleans-inspired craft beer and whisky bar on trendy Ebenezer Place.

6pm – Early dinner at Golden Boy

Head around the corner to Golden Boy and slide into one of its comfy booths for some next-level Thai food. Designed to share, Golden Boy’s lettuce cups. Massaman curry and deep-fried, soft-shell crabs are top picks.

Pro tip: If you don’t have to rush off to the airport, enjoy a couple of extra bevvies at NOLA because Golden Boy does late-night dining Tuesday to Saturday. Just make sure you book in advance no matter what time you come because this place gets full quickly.

7.30pm – Time to head for the airport

Time to order that Uber as you attempt to roll yourself out the door. Say bye to Adelaide, though it won’t be long before you’re back for another taste.


Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Adelaide.


Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.