Adelaide and Surrounds

I returned to Adelaide more than once, less out of a desire to re-visit the city than out of necessity. Great Southern Rail is based there and all their trains depart from the Parklands Terminal, so I found myself in Adelaide a grand total of 3 times. The first time, we arrived by car from Melbourne and boarded the Indian Pacific for one of the longest rail journeys in the world.

The second and third visit occurred within my two-week whirlwind journey during which I tried to pack as many trips as possible into the last month of my AusRail pass.

Adelaide is a sleepy city, but a pretty one and big enough to keep me entertained during each of my visits.

Sights to see in Adelaide include…

  • Adelaide Central Market. Not very impressive at first sight, especially if you are familiar with the likes of Barcelona’s Boqueria, Munich’s Schrannenhalle or Cork’s English Market, but there’s a nice buzz about the place and seeing as there aren’t that many other things to do, everyone seems to go there, especially on Friday evenings when the market is open until 9pm. I definitely went a little weak at the knees at the sight of the cheese selection, the likes of which you are unlikely to find in any supermarket anywhere in Australia. The adjoining Chinatown and food court restaurants offer amazing value for money if you’re after a cheap eat.
  • North Terrace, lined with the University, Library, Art Gallery and Museums. My personal highlight – in fact, my favourite museum visit of the entire year in Australia – was the minerals collection in the South Australian Museum. Specifically, the opalised fossils collection. Imagine all the dinosaurs that used to live in Australia decided, instead of going to heaven, to turn themselves into shiny gems and now they’re all hanging out in this museum, looking like giant, slightly morbid jewellery. Best museum ever!
  • National Wine Centre and Botanical Gardens. Combine a walk through the gardens with a visit to the wine centre, especially for the fortnightly “Uncorked” events featuring tastings and free live music.

…and that’s pretty much it. Thankfully the beaches and the hills are alive with plenty more to do and see.

Things to do around Adelaide:

  • On my second visit to Adelaide, I got to see some of the beautiful coastline that few visitors even know about. Hallett Cove Conservation Park sits on the edge of suburbia and can be reached by public transport. I had never even heard of it until my lovely Airbnb host took me there for a walk. I am not exaggerating when I say I drove hundreds of kilometres to see less impressive rock formations in other parts of Australia.
  • On my third visit, I felt like I had run out of things to do and see in the city, so I headed out of town to the Clare Valley, one of the many wine regions within easy driving distance of Adelaide. The off-road Riesling Trail traverses the entire valley, a very manageable 35 kilometres.

I had a hard time convincing the lovely lady at the bike rental shop in Auburn that it was a good idea to cycle despite the forecast rain (this was in the middle of winter, and slightly chilly weather, which means to Australians that it is entirely unwise to even leave the house). Once I had convinced her that no terrible disaster would befall me should I – god forbid – get wet, I set off along the trail, stopping off at wineries along the way for just enough tastings to warm me up every now and again. I arrived in Clare early in the evening and returned the same way I came the next day.

Although the Clare Valley is not as famous and renowned as the neighbouring Barossa, its manageable size and the fantastic bike trail made it the ideal weekend trip.

Other stories I have written abut the Clare Valley:

8 Great Australian Wine Regions