Located on the southern coast of Australia, Adelaide features characteristically Australian beaches, a thriving arts scene, and architectural marvels. Known affectionately as Radelaide to locals, the city has hot summers and mild winters, making it a great year-round destination. When you're not tasting your way around the many cafes and wineries, try exploring by bike or joining the locals for a game of footy.
Visit Adelaide in the late summer and you'll arrive for Mad March. This is when the city hosts the Adelaide Festival, Fringe Festival and WOMADelaide. Whether you're looking for international music, ballet performances or an off-beat circus act, you can find it during the festival season. You'll still find plenty of opportunities to enjoy a festival atmosphere for the rest of the year. Throughout the year Adelaide hosts garden festivals, food and wine events, and cultural celebrations, including OzAsia and the Glendi Greek Festival.
Adelaide's North Terrace was designed in the 1800s to be the city's cultural precinct. You can walk from the Botanic Gardens at the eastern end to the train station at the west and pass universities, the library, the art gallery, and the museum. There are many examples of colonial architecture that invite you to wander in and explore. Government House, the residence of the state's governor, has excellent gardens to explore if you're lucky enough to visit when it has one of its open days.
Adelaide hosts the Tour Down Under, the biggest cycling event in the southern hemisphere. Road race enthusiasts can watch the best cyclists in the world compete, and you can tackle one of the race legs yourself to see how you fare. If you prefer a more relaxed pace, the Riesling Trail takes you through the Clare Valley where you might see kangaroos hopping through the vineyards. The Coast to Vines Rail Trail is a similar ride that takes you from the beach to the vineyards in the south of the city.
Adelaide prides itself on being a food lover's town and the best place to experience this is the Adelaide Central Markets. Established in 1869, the market is Adelaide's most visited tourist attraction for a reason. There's plenty of fresh produce and you can also taste samples at specialty cheese and bakery stalls. Join a tour to learn the history of the market or just wander by yourself and see what appeals. Wander along Gouger Street afterward and pick one of the many restaurants to stop for dinner.
Art can be found around every corner in Adelaide. The sculptures of Rundle Mall draw the eye between shops. Four bronze pigs root through the rubbish at one end while at the other The Spheres, more commonly known as the Mall's Balls, reflect images of shoppers as they walk past. If you want to explore indigenous art, Tandanya is Australia's oldest Aboriginal-owned and managed cultural institute. It has a large collection of traditional and contemporary art by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
There are more than 200 cellar doors within an hour's drive of Adelaide, so wine lovers can easily find a drop to tempt their taste buds. McLaren Vale's main street has wineries, restaurants, and shops within an easy walk. The Adelaide Hills region is known for chardonnay, shiraz, and amazing views over the city. The Clare Valley and Barossa Valley are dotted with quaint towns between the vineyards. Taking a wine tour means you don't need a designated driver, and a local expert takes you to the best spots.
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If you're in Adelaide during football season, which runs from March to September, go to a game of Australian Rules Football. Known locally as footy, this unique Australian game offers a spectacle of long kicks, hard tackles, and high jumps onto the backs of other players. If you're adventurous you can climb the stadium to enjoy great views of the city and watch the first quarter from the roof. If you want to go behind-the-scenes, try a Stadium Tour that takes you into the heritage-listed scoreboard.
No visit to Australia is complete without hugging a koala, and you can do that in Cleland National Park. Animals in the park roam free and are used to humans, so you can also feed emus, kangaroos, and wombats. A trip to Victor Harbor gives you the opportunity to see a colony of wild little penguins and is also a great whale watching spot. Adelaide also has a dolphin sanctuary in the Port River, where one of the few metropolitan dolphin populations in the world has made their home.
Glenelg is the most well-known beach in Adelaide, and a tram can take you directly from the middle of the city to the sea. There's white sand, great restaurants, and a long jetty that takes you out over the water. Semaphore is a long, wide beach with a boardwalk through the sand dunes, and beautiful, art deco buildings. For surfing, you have to head south to Moana and Christies Beach. Nearby Port Noarlunga has a reef that's popular with snorkelers and scuba divers.
Adelaide's been blessed with beautiful stretches of nature close to the city. Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty has steep stretches, but hikers are rewarded with panoramic views and a drink at the cafe. The complete Heysen Trail is 745 miles, but there are many sections close to the city that allow you to explore native bushland. If you don't want to leave the city, wander along the Torrens River from Elder Park to the Zoo and hop on a Popeye back to your starting point.