RADELAIDE, as some locals refer to it, may be seen by most as just a gateway to the Barossa, Flinders Ranges and Kangaroo Island but there is far more to Adelaide than the average Aussie would let on. Having been warned that two days in the city would prove more than enough, I was pleasantly surprised to prove people wrong.
While many will let you know that the capital of South Australia is famous for its churches, they will just as quickly write it off as nothing more than a big country town. Yet it is this welcoming warmth that gives Adelaide its heart. Purposely built to be divided by the River Torrens, Adelaide’s centre may be compact but it’s surrounded by stunning parkland.
Whereas other Australian cities rely upon their obvious attractions, from Sydney Harbour through to Brisvegas, Adelaide has always been far more subtle about its appeal. Set alongside the Adelaide Hills, with water and parkland close by, Adelaide is arguably the place for a romantic break – just a shame I had no-one to hold my hand during my night time stroll.
With everyone from tennis star Lleyton Hewitt through to quirky songstress Sia hailing from SA’s capitol, it is little surprise that both sport and the arts are high on the priority list of things to do. While known for its churches, Adelaide arguably hosts Australia’s most celebrated art festivals – from the fringe through to WOMAD, while the eclectic collection at the Gallery of South Australia is a must-see.
With the fringe launching on the night of my arrival, The Garden Of Unearthly Delights was brimming with performers and arts lovers all out for a good time. Adelaide Fringe has grown to the extent of being the Southern Hemisphere’s follow-on from Edinburgh and boasts an international selection of talent. Worry not lovers of all things arts, while the festivals come and go, Adelaide has at its heart numerous performance spaces and exhibition areas to ensure that the creative spark never blows out.
Adelaide’s obsession with arts is immediately evident in the city’s penchant for statues and monuments. While many of the statues have been erected in memory of war heroes and city founders, Adelaide has its fair share of interesting monuments and artefacts to brighten up a meander through the centre and parklands alike. Rather shamefully I have to concede that my personal favourite was the series of pigs that reside alongside the Rundle Mall.
Of equal magnitude are those outdoor pursuits. From motor racing through to cricket, Adelaide has provisions of an international level to be explored. But rather than just enjoying the wealth of museums and stadiums, why not find a novel way to take part yourself. From surf lessons through to mountain bike rides down Mount Lofty, a visitor to Adelaide can effortlessly find a way to get fit quick.
For those wanting just a little bit of retail therapy, Rundle Street Mall offers the perfect high street shopping experience with over 700 shops in close proximity. But, if like me, shops do not turn you on, you can always head to the other end of Rundle Street for some foodage – Chocolate Bean serves the scrummiest home baked cakes I could find around, though the Central Market does serve up its fair share of competition. While Adelaide is no competition for Melbourne, with the term vegetarian at times unheard of, Adelaide dishes up some real treats along the way. But talk food to an Adelaidean and the budget friendly Chinatown comes out front. Without any hesitation, I can confirm that the dumplings at Dumpling King are worth all the hype the locals give them.
For many, the most important part of Adelaide is the beach. While Glenelg is no Bondi, the bustling beach area is worth a trip. Though it is a little further out than expected, the tram ride makes the journey fly by and the mixture of good food and a sandy beach is a perfectly peaceful way to pass a day.
By Jeremy Williams
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