Elegant and culturally rich, Adelaide is a historic city located between Australia’s rugged southern coastline and the foothills of the Mount Lofty Mountains (Adelaide hills). This exotic travel destination is one of the main Australian cities and has a fascinating history. There are many things to do in Adelaide with your loved ones.
Established by non-native settlers from Europe and Asia, this uncluttered capital of South Australia has been carefully thought out for its placement around the River Torrens, offering a chilled atmosphere, a balanced and pleasant lifestyle.
Adelaide is a culturally rich city with historical churches. It is the wine and food capital of Australia as 50% of Australia’s wine production takes place here. It has some most popular cafes and eateries as well.
Whether it’s appetizing food, best wines, wide sandy coastline, beautiful gardens, or rolling green hills, Adelaide city attractions have everything.
Let’s discover top fun things to do in Adelaide.
1. Discover Botanical Gardens
This is one of the most amazing things to do in Adelaide while visiting South Australia. Adelaide Botanic Garden is located in the northeast of the Adelaide city center, featuring beautiful, well-maintained gardens and stunning world-class architecture spread over 50 acres.
The garden was first opened in 1857. It is a treat for anyone looking to enjoy some time outdoors or for lovers of the garden. You will get to see everything from rose gardens to Australian forests here.
You can spend all day wandering around formal rose gardens, wetlands, three glasshouses housing an Australian rainforest, Amazonian water lilies, and Madagascan palms. Adelaide’s botanical garden also features some historic buildings. The main attraction of the botanic garden is three glasshouses:
1. Palm House
Palm House is an extremely beautiful, restored glasshouse which is imported from Germany. It is said that it is only one of its types that still exists.
The Palm House features an exquisite collection of plants from the Island of Madagascar. It has been considered as a must-visit place among things to do in Adelaide.
2. Santos Museum of Economic Botany
The Santos Museum of Economic Botany is a stunning architecture located in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. It showcases a collection exhibiting practical, medicinal, and economic use of plant materials.
It was influenced by the museum in London’s Kew Gardens. The Museum of Economic Botany has exhibited 3,000 pieces designed specifically to show the relationship between raw materials and end-consumer products.
2. Shop at Central Market
If you are an avid food lover, there is no better place than the central market and hence it will be on your radar if you are looking for things to do in Adelaide.
Adelaide Central Market was founded back in 1869 on Grote Street, it’s on the south side of Grote Street, a few steps west of Victoria Square. it was known as the City Markets after it was officially opened by Mayor Judah Solomon in 1870.
Unlike the covered market at the moment, the original market was set out on a single stretch of land with only a hedge around it. During that time, the market opened on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
As time passed, the immigrants from Asia, particularly from China moved to Adelaide, and areas like China Town were created.
The market offers a wide variety of groceries like vegetables, fruits, poultry, seafood, and other products. Therefore, one can taste various types of divine dishes here. The state capital Central Market remains Adelaide’s premier food destination for diverse cuisine. If you are a shopaholic or keen food lover or fond of wines, this article advises you to visit this place and add it to your things to do in Adelaide.
3. Climb on the Rooftop of The Adelaide Oval
Nothing beats the thrill of watching a match at Adelaide Oval, arguably Australia’s premier sporting venue. It is located in parkland between the Adelaide city center and North Adelaide. The stadium is mainly used for cricket and Australian football but has also been used for other sports and is regularly used for concerts.
Adelaide Oval is feasibly the most beautiful and best cricket ground in Australia, if not the world. Climbing on the rooftop of Adelaide Oval is one of the must things to do in Adelaide. Guided by an experienced guide, one can stroll the purpose-built walkways and test their love, or fright.
Climb the new heights at the roof of Adelaide Oval at night or day to see some amazing views of Adelaide City from one of Australia’s most iconic stadiums. Sit on the best seat in your room and watch the sunset from one of Adelaide’s best locations.
Walk behind closed doors as exciting stories are told, hidden secrets are revealed and memorable moments are revived. Step on a 100-year-old historic scoreboard, explore museums, and get stunning views of Adelaide’s city from a bird’s-eye view.
4. Meet Giant Panda in Adelaide Zoo
Adelaide Zoo is adjacent to the Adelaide Botanical Garden in the northwest, it takes usually 16 minutes to reach Adelaide Zoo from Adelaide airport. With an emphasis on education, it is very popular for its charismatic collection of animals.
The iconic place, Adelaide Zoo is the second oldest zoo in Australia and it is more than an animal show. It exists to save animals from extinction and bring people back to nature, making it one of the thrilling places to explore in Adelaide.
This natural habitat is home to nearly 3000 species of mammals, reptiles, fishes, and birds. Here one can see native species such as African lions, giant pandas, American alligators, capybaras, little penguins, and rhinoceros iguanas. Meeting the Giant pandas is on the top of the list of visitors here, among the things to do in Adelaide.
Enrich your visit with an interactive animal experience by visiting Adelaide zoo, and having a face-to-face encounter with animals like lions, tigers, meerkats, lemurs, red pandas, and giraffes. One can also hug, kiss, and feed a group of friends in a furry coat, kangaroos, quokkas, and wallabies.
5. Visit an Art Gallery of South Australia (South Australian Museum)
Founded in 1881, the Art Gallery of South Australia was of the size of two rooms. It was opened by Prince Albert Victor and Prince George.
The current building where the gallery is located was built in the 1900s, after which the art gallery was expanded. The Art Gallery of South Australia is located in Adelaide’s Culture Boulevard and is one of the most famous museums in South Australia. Therefore, it holds a prestigious position in the list of one of the things to do in Adelaide.
With an impressive collection of more than 45,000 works of art by world-renowned artists, this art gallery is also Australia’s second-largest art collection after the National Gallery of Victoria.
One of the gallery’s main goals is to provide visitors and the South Australian community with the opportunity to see and experience high-quality original artwork by the best artists.
Nonetheless, the gallery organizes numerous exhibitions for visitors each year. There is also a gift shop and a restaurant on-premises.
6. Enjoy Beach Life and Food at Glenelg
Glenelg, a league town, filled with beautiful oceanic landscapes, enlightened historic buildings, and vast communal areas that have been created by respected architects.
To reach here, most visitors take a 25-minute ride on Adelaide’s only existing tram from downtown Victoria Square. This 1-mile-long shopping street is the perfect place to grab a barista coffee or grab a bite of tasty food.
In summers, Glenelg hosts the Moseley Beach Club, Australia’s only official beach bar. It is the perfect spot for a cocktail on a fragrant evening surrounded by white sand beaches and surf.
Located in the iconic Town Hall in the heart of Glenelg, the Bay Discovery Center is a social history museum celebrating South Australia’s cultural heritage. The museum is a paradise for those who love history and art.
One can experience the picturesque coastal trails along the South Esplanade and pass by historic mansions with stunning views of the ocean. Street cafes, boutique hotels, and lively summer entertainment create a festive atmosphere.
Looking for a family-friendly Adelaide attraction? Kids can experience the thrill at a beach house, an amusement park full of attractions including giant water slides, bumper boats, and a Ferris wheel.
Those looking for a more laid-back vacation can sunbathe on the beach from the pier. Popular activities one can enjoy are sailing as well as swimming and that is why Glenelg makes its way to the list of top things to do in Adelaide.
7. Watch Cultural Performance at Adelaide Festival Centre
A five-minute walk from North Terrace and Rundle Mall, and a 7 km drive from Adelaide airport, the Adelaide Festival Center delights locals and tourists with its vibrant cultural history. And on that account, it acquires a place in the list of things to do in Adelaide.
Adelaide Festival Centre is Australia’s first multi-purpose art site, and its white tent-roof structure is a distinctive landmark along the River Torrens or Karawirra Parri River.
It also hosts Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, South Australian State Opera, South Australian State Theatre, Australian Ballet, and Australian Dance Theatre.
8. Be with Nature in Adelaide Hills
From the Adelaide City center, the hills appear to glisten on the eastern horizon, welcoming green walls, which are scattered in abundance across the rolling hills.
Adelaide Hills is home to countless activities that make it a destination in itself. Adelaide to the Adelaide Hills is less than a half-hour journey to get in the company of nature and hence it has been put it in the list of things to do in Adelaide.
Throughout the Adelaide Hills are strings of background cities and old-fashioned villages, following the primary roads in the direction of the Murray River. Within them, one might see the effects of the early European settlers, gold miners, and farmers.
The food and drinks of the Adelaide Hills are one of the motivating things one can come across. One of the pleasant activities in the Adelaide Hills is to go to a winery, integrate that with food at one of the top-notch restaurants, and make it an ideal day trip.
9. Wine Tasting at National Wine Centre
Australia’s National Wine Center is the perfect place for both wine lovers and beginners. Wine tasting is one of those things for which Adelaide is popular and therefore it is on the list of things to in Adelaide.
National Wine Centre is located on the eastern side of North Terrace, and it is adjacent to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with Adelaide in the east parklands.
Opened in 2001, it takes visitors on an exciting journey of winemaking and recognition. It is a great place to some of Australia’s best wines, where one can learn more, and enjoy wine tasting and food.
Interactive tours and exhibitions at the Wine Discovery Journey and Exhibition Center are the perfect way to get to know Australian wines better.
You can taste and purchase over 120 wines at the WINED Bar, and adore a light meal at the Cellar Door Restaurant located on the 1st floor. Outside the building, you can also see rows of vines representing the region’s seven different grape varieties.
10. Spend Quality Time in Cleland Conservation Park
If you want to immerse yourself in Adelaide’s natural and cultural beauty, the visit to Cleland Conservation Park could be a part of your day trips and list of main things to do in Adelaide. Cleland Conservation Park is at a distance of fewer than 20 minutes from Adelaide city center.
With trails and bike trails offering a variety of wildlife and beautiful views of the Adelaide Hills, this is one of Adelaide’s top tourist destinations.
Enjoy the panoramic view of Adelaide at the height of 710m from Mount Lofty Summit or be in the company of the cutest animal of Australia i.e. Koala.
The park also has several walking trails and fire paths for biking on public trails. Some of these popular trails include the Cleland Trail, Wine Slum Trail, Chambers Loop, and Adventure, which connects Crafers to Mount Lofty.
11. Visit Himeji Garden
Himeji Garden is an oasis of contemplation on the city’s southern terrace signifying various hallmarks of traditional Japanese gardens. Being relatively smaller in size, this extremely serene gift was given to Adelaide’s sister city Himeji in the early 1980s.
All the hallmarks of minimalism design, such as well-kept bushes and trees, coarse sand, serene ponds, and judicious use of space, can easily be found here. One can easily reach this place in Adelaide, therefore it can be considered as one of the things to do in Adelaide.
The Himeji Garden has picnic spots, providing ample sunlight and shades of comfort in all seasons, and the whooshing sound of running water adds to the serenity of the lush green surroundings.
Himeji Garden is divided into two separate areas, “Water” and “Dry”, both with a different physical accent, but both are designed to reproduce the unique beauty of nature.
One can explore Himeji Garden in 10-15 minutes, but it’s not recommended for the ones who want to know every detail about it. Or one can buy a book, carry a packed lunch, take a break from hustle and bustle of city life and embrace the beauty of this garden.
12. Visit National Railway Museum
National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide has nearly 100 exhibits in two massive pavilions and a warehouse that houses heritage from 1870. Since it has a glorious history, therefore it is one of the things to do in Adelaide.
The rail museum exhibits the rail functioning of the state and private operators on 3 crucial rail tracks used all over Australia.
This is a fun place for young families and serious explorers with a variety of steam locomotives, diesel engines, and many carriages. Also, there are theatres, exhibition galleries, and large professional model railways. One of the attractions for children is the miniature train that runs around a large area.
13. Meet Kangaroos on Kangaroo Island
Being the 3rd largest island in Australia, Kangaroo Island is the place for those who want to explore Australia’s incredible wildlife.
More than half of the island is assigned as a nature reserve and indigenous wildlife such as echidnas, kangaroos, sea lions, and dolphins flock reside on this beautiful and extensive coastline.
Situated about 15 kilometers towards the south direction of mainland South Australia, Kangaroo Island departs from the scenic Cape Jervis Ferry and offers visitors a great opportunity to be in touch with nature.
In addition to Kangaroo Island’s peculiar wildlife, this sprawling park is also home to some of the island’s most known landscapes, such as the Remarkable Cliffs and Admiral’s Arch.
The peak of Bunker Hill offers amazing views of the surrounding landscape. Both the Cape Borda Lighthouse and Cape du Quedic Lighthouse are full-featured lighthouses offering stunning views of the dolphins around the sandy beach.
Tourists can eyewitness the unsafe Australian Sea Lions in their home of dunes across the ocean, where Seal Bay Conservation Park is situated on the south coast of the Island.
Existing island, Kangaroo Island is chockfull of pretty beaches, leaving visitors blemished for choice. There are Emu Bay and Stokes Bay on the north seaboard, which are ideal for sunbathing and swimming, and they offer a vast coastline marked with the island’s rugged terrain.
The Kangaroo Island is too a gourmet paradise known for its unprocessed seafood and fine wines; hence it is among things to do in Adelaide. Both Dudley Wines and Bay of Shoals wines provide visitors after walking around the island with some of South Australia’s best wines.
Kangaroo Island Spirits and Kangaroo Island Brewery are where you can explore sample genuine Australian gin, vodka, and other liqueurs.
14. Take a Trip to Barossa valley
The Barossa, one of Australia’s oldest wine districts, is synonymous with exquisite wines. There are more than 150 wineries in the Barossa Valley, much more than you can see anywhere else.
If you want to taste old classics or others, the Barossa Valley Wine Tour is more than just wine tasting. Experience the world of lush and refreshing wineries in the Barossa Valley, from half-day to full-day tours.
The Barossa Valley is situated at a distance of 6 kilometers from northeast of Adelaide city and the North Parra river is behind the formation of the valley. It is known as a major wine region because it is famous for wine and food festivals. Hence, this tourist destination is one of the things to do in Adelaide.
There are two main festivals celebrated in Barrosa Valley every two years:
1. Barossa Vintage Festival
Barossa Vintage festival lasts for about a week in autumn and ends with the harvest season in late March or at the beginning of April. During this festival, various wine events such as wine tasting, music events, and parades are held. It has been the oldest and longest wine festival in Australia since 1947.
2. Barossa Gourmet Festival
Barossa Gourmet Festival is a wine, art, and food celebration festival celebrated every year in the third week of August. Local wineries celebrate this festival all over Barossa.
15. Fun Day out at Granite Island
Situated on nearly 62 acres of land, Granite Island is one of Victor Harbor’s most famous ecological landmarks. Due to its exceptional granite formations with crashing white waves, elevated views, flora, fauna, and hiking trails that offer panoramic views of the extensive coastline, it is one of the things to do in Adelaide.
Endearing little penguins and majestic southern whales have got a home here. The island features massive granite boulders shaded by orange moss, and the sound of waves crashing on the rocky shore will be an exhilarating soundtrack during your visit.
There are many things to do in Adelaide, starting with world-class art, and music, to a festival schedule that rivals any other city in Australia. Adelaide is worth discovering so explore the secrets of the alleys, appreciate the incredible natural beauty, or head to the amazing wine regions that surround the city and enjoy the trip.