Top 20 things to do in and around Adelaide
What better way to find out what to do on your visit to Adelaide then ask the locals! Brand South Australia asked the people of the State to vote on their favourite thing to do in and around Adelaide.
An incredible 7,000 votes were received, helping to shape a list of Adelaide’s best-kept secrets to share with the world.
So, without further adieu, be sure to check out the following when you’re in Adelaide…
1. Heysen Trail
The 1,200 kilometre hiking trail passes through some of the most scenic parts of the State from native bushland, coastlines, vineyards, historic towns and forests including internationally acclaimed tourist destinations, such as the Barossa Valley and the stunning Wilpena Pound. Catering to both the casual walker out for a day walk along shorter sections of the trail to serious backpackers hiking along the entire trail, the Heysen Trail is a great way to set out on foot and discover the diverse landscapes of South Australia. More information
2. Seal Bay at Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island lies just off South Australia’s mainland and is accessed by ferry or plane. A must for nature lovers, over a third of the island is protected in nature reserves and is home to native wildlife including sea lions, koalas and diverse bird species. Seal Bay has been home to the Australian Sea lion population for potentially thousands of years and is the only place in the world were visitors can enter a wild colony of approximately 1,000 sea lions – one of rarest species in the world. Take a guided tour and get up close to these magnificent endangered animals in their natural habitat. More information
3. Kuitpo Forest
Spend an afternoon walking, having a picnic, jogging, or meditating in this wonderfully lush environment. 40kms south-east from Adelaide centre, Kuitpo Forest was the first of a number of forest plantations in the Mount Lofty Ranges established to ensure a sustainable timber resource for South Australia.
Today, the Kuitpo Forest Reserve covers an area of 3,600 hectares, of which 60% (2,100 hectares) is plantation and contains 655 hectares of native vegetation protected for conservation. More information
4. McLaren Vale wine tour
Only a 45-minute trip from Adelaide, McLaren Vale is one of the world’s best wine regions. With the majestic coast on one side and the grape vines meandering on the other, touring McLaren Vale’s many wineries can seem somewhat magical. Home to sustainable winegrowing, world-class wines and renowned culinary experiences, a trip to McLaren Vale is a must do for visitors to Adelaide. More information
5. Surfing the south-coast
Known as Adelaide’s nature playground and only a short one hour and 15 minute drive from the city, catch some waves at Goolwa, Middleton or Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula. If surfing isn’t your thing you can try whale watching or visit one of the many amazing restaurants and cafes along the coast. More information
6. The Barossa Valley
Australia’s most famous wine region, the Barossa Valley is a short one hour drive from Adelaide. Be consumed by the many flavours of the Barossa. At almost every turn you’ll find five-star retreats, some of the world’s best wineries and sumptuous food. With stunning landscapes featuring vineyards, farms and historic towns, take a guided tour in luxury by car, trike or helicopter, or relax and enjoy the historic sights at your own pace. More information
7. Adelaide Central Market
Opening in 1869 and reportedly one of the largest undercover markets in the southern hemisphere, the Adelaide Central Market has been a favourite with locals and visitors for over 147 years. With a plethora of fresh produce stalls, you are spoilt for choice. Pick up some of the your favourite artisan products and dine in or takeaway to the new re-developed Victoria Square. More information
8. Adelaide Hills region
Just a short drive up the freeway, you can step into the enchanted land of the Adelaide Hills region, where an afternoon of exquisite food and wine stretches both time and the imagination. Visit historic townships, stunning leafy landscapes and yet another famous Adelaide wine region. Enjoy wonderful places like The Lane Vineyard, Bird in Hand, Bridgewater Mill or the Stirling Hotel. More information
9. Cruise the Murray River
The third longest navigable river in the world, after the Amazon and Nile, the Murray River spans three States – Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. With a unique Australia landscape, a visit to ‘The Murray’ is a must for those looking for natural wonder. Visit the Riverland region, hire a houseboat and spend a few days exploring our gracious Murray River and some of the towns along the way. More information
10. City fringe cafe precincts
Adelaide and its surrounding suburbs are known for its love of food and coffee. Venture out of the city centre and sip on a coffee at any of the popular city fringe cafe precincts such as Prospect Road, Queen Street in Croydon, Norwood Parade, Henley Beach Road, King William Road in Hyde Park, Goodwood Road and Melbourne Street, North Adelaide. Photo: Wayne Smith.
11. Township of Hahndorf
Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. Today it offers a mix of heritage and exciting new businesses, creating a unique village atmosphere. The main street is lined with eateries, craft, clothing and leather goods outlets, smallgoods as well as several restaurants and pubs offering authentic German fare
12. Clare Valley Riesling trail
Cycle or walk the 35km Riesling Trail along the old railway track from Auburn to Clare and head north to Barinia Road, where you will pass by the Clare Valley’s scenic vineyards, farmlands and natural bushlands. Stop by some wineries close to the trail and indulge yourself in this world-renowned wine region. The Clare Valley is less than a two hour drive from Adelaide and is home to some of Australia’s best wineries and renowned for producing some of the best Reisling in Australia. The Clare Valley is a combination of vines, historic towns, tree-clad hills and spectacular agricultural plains. More information
13. City beaches
From North Haven to Sellicks Beach, Adelaide’s beaches are some of the most stunning in the world and most are less than 30 minutes from the city. Catch the tram from the city to Glenelg, or head to the always popular Brighton, Henley or West Beaches.
14. Windy Point Lookout
Just 15 minutes from the heart of the city, head up to the Windy Point Lookout for a panoramic view of Adelaide’s cityscape. After enjoying the sunset, head to the Windy Point Restaurant that provides 180-degree breathtaking views, sweeping from St Vincent’s Gulf to the Adelaide Hills. With a fine dining restaurant and more casual café onsite, Windy Point is worth the visit.
While known for its wine, Adelaide is also fast becoming known for its independent breweries. Discover Adelaide’s micro-breweries including the Steam Exchange Brewery in Goolwa, Lobethal Bierhaus in Lobethal, Smiling Samoyed in Myponga, Lady Burra in Topham Mall, Adelaide, and Big Shed Brewing Co in Port Adelaide. Short on time but want to try some micro-brews? Check out a craft brewing walking tour of the city. The tour visits a number of historical pubs, small bars and breweries - providing samples and discussing how it is brewed, why it has become such a significant part of Australian culture, and how this has contributed to the growing interest in craft beers. More information
16. Historic Port Adelaide
South Australia’s maritime heartland, Port Adelaide is a heritage waterside area with Sunday markets, galleries, cafés, pubs, including a brewery hotel and the famous red lighthouse.
The Port has some of the finest colonial buildings in Australia. Take a walk along the docks and through the old Port to experience the ambience, or take a cruise along the Port River and meet the world’s only inner-city dolphins! Port Adelaide is also the home to the Maritime Museum, Railway Museum and Aviation Museum which are located on Lipson Street and open daily…check out the F-111, climb the old ketch and ride the steam train. More information
17. Laneway Bars
Adelaide’s laneways are now teeming with fun, quirky and unique small bars. From the West End’s Leigh, Peel and Gresham Streets, to the East End’s Vardon Avenue, and everywhere in-between.
18. Climb Mount Lofty
Mount Lofty is the highest point of the Mount Lofty Ranges located 15 kms from the city. The track up to Mount Lofty is well worth the muscle burn once you reach the top and take in the 280-degree vistas looking out over Adelaide towards the ocean. You can even treat yourself to lunch or a coffee before making the trek back down. More information
19. Drive onto Silver Sands or Aldinga beach
Drive onto the beach and setup right near the pristine waters of one of South Australia’s finest beaches. Enjoy the sun, surf and a game of beach cricket just under an hours drive from Adelaide city.
20. Snorkel Port Noarlunga Marine Reserve
The Port Noarlunga Aquatic Reserve is home to dozens of fish species that are perfect for snorkelling. You may even see a dolphin or a giant sting-ray pass through. Snorkel hire is available on the beach. For more information visit