How to Spend a Weekend in Adelaide

21 April 2013

The nation's fifth largest city proves the old credo that good things come in small packages. South Australia's capital Adelaide is known by many handles, among them the apt title of Festival City and, currently, the Most Liveable City in the country. It turns out Adelaidians are pretty proud of their little slice of heaven and for good reason. Hot-to-shop malls, epicurean eateries and outlying wine country makes Adelaide ideal for a short break, boasting all the cosmopolitan trappings of the big city without the hurried atmosphere. We've drawn up a rough itinerary to show you what your weekend away in Adelaide might look like, so all that's left for you to do is decide when make it happen.

 Glenelg Pier

Friday Night
You've probably just hopped off the plane and dropped your bags at the hotel, working up an appetite in the process. Although you only left the office a few hours ago, it's time to switch straight into holiday mode. Kick start your Adelaide adventures by experiencing one of its best assets – a thriving food culture. Head into the city centre and pull up a seat at a restaurant on Gouger Street, Hutt Street or Hindley Street, where most menus focus on highlighting trademark South Australian flavours.

Saturday Day
The best place for a true taste of Adelaide is at the Adelaide Central Market, a feast for the senses that has seen people bonding over their love of fresh food for over 140 years. Located on Gouger Street, the market offers the opportunity to chat to the producers and sample fare fresh from paddock to plate. Why not bring a bit of Adelaide back to your home kitchen with a cooking class or tasty souvenirs like homemade chutneys, finely crafted chocolates or an award-winning bottle of wine?

Continue your holiday indulgence with a dose of retail therapy in the Rundle Mall. More than 600 stores interspersed with cosy cafes will keep you busy, or you could swing by neighbouring Norwood Parade or Magill Road, known for their upmarket chic and antique flair respectively. If shopping isn't your scene, check out the events calendar – Adelaide plays host to a huge range of international music, theatre and sporting events throughout the year.

Saturday Night
Spend your evening out in Adelaide by catching a tram from the CBD to beachside suburb Glenelg, where you can stroll along the esplanade and enjoy dinner with a view on the Marina. If you've hired your own set of wheels, head to the Adelaide Hills and take a drive up Mount Lofty for a spectacular panorama of Adelaide out to the gulf. If you're after a night out with a bit more of an edge, the Rhino Room and Arkaba Hotel host live music and comedy shows most nights.

Sunday  Day
A visit to Adelaide is almost incomplete without a day trip to the Barossa Valley. Internationally acclaimed as one of the best wine growing regions in the world, the Barossa is filled with heritage structures, fertile farmland and dozens of cellar doors. Meander through the vineyards and sample the famous Barossa Shiraz and Cabernet on a guided wine tour. Don't have much of a palate for wine? Head south instead and spend half a day exploring the ruggedly beautiful Kangaroo Island, less than an hour's ferry ride from Cape Jervis.

If a day trip is stretching your schedule a little too far, enjoy your final hours in Adelaide perusing the galleries and museums lining North Terrace, or see the only giant pandas in the southern hemisphere at the Adelaide Zoo. Then it's time to say farewell and return to the real world, but don't worry - Lady Adelaide will be there waiting for your next visit, with more cultural treasures than you can hope to discover on one weekend away.

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