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  • Things to Do in Adelaide: 15 Reasons Why Australia's Winery Capital is Our Top Pick for Autumn

Things to Do in Adelaide: 15 Reasons Why Australia's Winery Capital is Our Top Pick for Autumn

From dining at world-class wineries and restaurants to exploring pristine beaches, there are endless things to do in Adelaide on your next getaway.

Luma Restaurant and Bar

The quieter, smaller sister of metropolitan Melbourne and scenic Sydney, Adelaide is the talk of the town across the globe. Recently named Australia’s coolest city by The Wall Street Journal, Adelaide has become a go-to destination for gastronomes and those looking for a more tranquil, nature-filled escape than the country’s busier cities.

Playing host to some of the most culturally diverse events in Australia, world-renowned wineries, beautiful beaches and award-winning bars and restaurants, Adelaide should be on any Aussie’s “must-visit” list.

These are the best things to do in Adelaide, for your next visit to Australia's festival capital. 

Oval Hotel

Because you can stay in a very chic hotel set above the hallowed grounds of Adelaide Oval

Oval Hotel's unique address places you within minutes of the vibrant city centre, all while cocooning you within the tranquility of the surrounding parklands.

Every detail has been carefully considered, starting with your welcome drink on arrival. There are 138 rooms ranging from studios to private suites in which to immerse yourself. Why not treat yourself to a premium suite, where breathtaking and panoramic views of Adelaide’s rolling green parklands and famed St. Peter’s Cathedral await you through the floor-to-ceiling windows that frame all living areas. Sink into a bubble bath and those gorgeous views at the same time, with a glass of sparkling in hand. 

There's also a wine bar, taphouse and café to enjoy onsite. With amenities like these, you'll be asking yourself why you'd ever want to leave! 

Luma Restaurant and Bar

It's home to the best bar of 2023

Which, when you have a look at the list of fine nominees, is no easy feat! Tucked inside one of Adelaide's favourite boutique hotels - The Playford MGallery - sits Luma Restaurant and Bar, a stunning Art Nouveau style all day venue serving up coffee and pastries in the morning, tasty bites for lunch and dinner, and delicious cocktails come evening. While we've been fans of this hot spot for a while now, it recently received the top honour at the prestigious and internationally recognised Restaurant and Bar Design Awards. Storming ahead of venues from the USA, Middle East, China and Europe, Luma stood out thanks to it's unique light design and impeccable food and drink offering - so we believe it's worth stopping for a drink (or two).

120 North Terrace, Adelaide

Gathered SA Market

There is a market to visit every weekend

And we're not talking small markets that take 5 minutes to get through, either! With a community who loves to support local, markets are an integral part of Adelaide's DNA, with both the CBD, inner suburbs and the Adelaide Hills holding regular market days filled with artisanal goods, local produce, homewares, gifts and clothing. It's one of our favourite things to do in Adelaide, and a great way to meet some friendly people along the way.

The Adelaide Farmer's Market at the showgrounds is an open-air weekly market with a selection of baked goods, produce, dairy and flowers, while the Stirling Market in the Adelaide Hills is held once a month with a wide variety of stalls. Gilles at the Grounds and Gathered SA are our top picks for those seeking homewares, clothing and unique gifts, while the Adelaide Central Market is open and buzzing six days a week, with just about anything you could possibly need.

Granite Island (Image credit: Trent John Martin Via South Australia Tourism Commission)

The range of day trip destinations are unmatched

You could spend an entire month doing a bunch of Adelaide day trips every single day - and still have so much ground to cover. South Australia is full of breathtaking scenery all across the state, making it the perfect place to hire a car and venture out on a day trip. Whether you're wanting to go on a hike or sip on wine in the Adelaide Hills, the variety of day trips Adelaide has on offer is unparalleled to any other state. From gardens to beaches to rolling hills of wineries, you'll find a day time activity to suit you.

Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens

There are beautiful Adelaide parks and gardens perfect for picnics

Who said you need to constantly be doing paid, strategically organised activities to have a good time on your holiday? Pack a book, an enviable spread and head to one of Adelaide's best picnic spots for a relaxing day sprawled across the lawn. Autumn is the best time to do it, since you won't be profusely sweating in the heat, and get to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the changing leaves, slowly falling from the trees and scattering across the ground. Our top picks for picnic spots in Adelaide include the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, Belair National Park, and Himeji Garden, to name a few.

Alpha Box and Dice

There are 4 world-class wine regions within a 90-minute drive from the CBD 

And some of the best wineries are only 45 minutes away! No guide of things to do in Adelaide is complete without mentioning the amazing wineries, and for good reason. Between the world-famous Barossa Valley and their award-winning darker reds, the Rieslings of Clare Valley, smooth Grenache in McLaren Vale and delicious drops of all kinds from boutique wineries in the Adelaide Hills – there is something for every palate.  

You can enjoy a relaxed day of cellar door hopping at McLaren Vale favourites Chalk Hill, Alpha Box and Dice and Angove, or splurge on a degustation at the likes of Magill Estate, Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant or Fino at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley. Whichever winery experience you choose – you’ll probably want to book a driver to make the most of your day.  

Adelaide Oval

There's no shortage of sports on offer

While Melbourne is well known as the sporting capital of Australia (and for good reason, of course), recent additions to Adelaide's sporting fixture have been drawing in quite the crowd. From regular rounds of AFL and cricket at the Adelaide Oval, races at Morphettville and cycling events around town, the fun doesn't stop there. Whatever your sport is, chances are there's an event in town for you to attend!

Southern Ocean Lodge

It’s less than 4 hours to Lonely Planet’s #2 Region in the World 

Yes, you read that right! Pro's in travel Lonely Planet has recently placed Kangaroo Island – just off the coast of South Australia – as a top regional travel destination, and we couldn’t agree more. Kangaroo Island is a rugged escape filled with stunning scenery, serenity and moments of bliss in nature. From the large population of kangaroos, famed attractions like Seal Bay, Flinders Chase National Park and impeccably clear waters everywhere you look – this is island life at its absolute best.  

What’s more, some of the state's most exquisite accommodation can be found on the island, like One KI, Stowaway, and Southern Ocean Lodge – the latter once again standing tall and as beautiful as ever after it was burnt down in the 2020 bushfires. As of December 6, this luxurious space is ready to welcome back guests.  

Hallett Cove Boardwalk

You can stay active with endless hiking trails 

You don’t have to wander too far from the city for a nature-bound adventure. Adelaide is surrounded by reserves and national parks that are overflowing with native bushland and wildlife, and they’re all begging to be explored. Set out on foot to walk a network of hiking trails that lead you to impressive lookouts and take in views of Adelaide's gorges and coastlines. 

The waterfalls and rock pools you may stumble across will leave you feeling like you are away from it all. So lace up your boots and get your steps in - we love the Mount Lofty Summit, Hallett Cove Coastal Walk and a stroll through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.  

The Moseley Beach Club

There’s a Beach Club that transports you to a coastal European town

Adelaide's pristine beaches often fly under the radar, but the Eyre, Yorke, and Fleurieu Peninsula’s boast some of Australia's most breathtaking shores - a day trip to any of them is easily one of the best things to do in Adelaide. And if the sun's still out, why not make the most of the remaining summer remnants?

For those short on time or eager to stay local, The Moseley Beach Club offers a unique experience right on the sand – Adelaide's only one of its kind. Sip on a spritz, savour a bowl of chips, groove to DJ sets, and make a splash in the shimmering waters of Glenelg Beach just steps away. It's the perfect blend of seaside relaxation and lively vibes. 

Adelaide Fringe

Adelaide’s cultural calendar never sleeps

Adelaide is deserving of its ‘festival state’ tagline. From theatre to music, stage shows and film, Adelaide loves the arts. And luckily, we do too! Adelaide plays host to an energetic ensemble of festivals that light up the city and invite you to spend hours exploring the city. 

Come November, you’re invited to discover a taste of Europe and indulge in culinary delights straight out of Italy at the Adelaide Italian Festival. Growing bigger and better each year, there are now 70 events across fashion, arts, film, music and of course food and drink, that shine a light on Italian traditions and culture. 

And then there’s everyone's favourite Adelaide event of the year– the world-renowned Adelaide Fringe. We are eagerly awaiting the lineup of shows, spectacular art and activations that draws crowds from right around Australia – you won’t be the only visitor at the Fringe! The Fringe festivities kick off from Feb 16th 2024, and we highly recommend getting a glimpse of the annual event that takes over the city. 

Image Credit: South Australian Museum @joeyjoenes, and Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

You don’t need to spend big to discover something new

A holiday filled with things to do in Adelaide doesn't need to cost a fortune. Home to sensational museums and award-winning tours, you can spend a little to gain a lot. Take an Aboriginal cultural tour with the delightful Haydyn Bromley and his team through Bookabee Australia, where over a couple of hours you'll increase your awareness of Aboriginal cultural practices at a crucial time for championing First Nations experiences and voices.

Choose from a tour through the beautiful Adelaide Botanic Gardens to reframe the way you look at plant life and learn more about Aboriginal bush foods and plant uses. Or venture inside the South Australian Museum for a guided tour through the largest collection of Australian Aboriginal antiquities with an expert tour guide on hand to answer any questions.


It’s a 20-minute city, meaning you’re never far from your next adventure

Walking for hours upon hours on a summer holiday is a great way to stumble upon something new, but who really wants to walk for that long on a hot day? Luckily, this is a 20-minute city, meaning you’re always a short drive from things to do in Adelaide from good wine, good food, great shopping and your hotel room.

Adelaide’s easy-to-navigate town centre and flat topography makes it cruisy to stroll from the Adelaide Central Market to the Art Gallery of South Australia and the buzzing bars of the East End or Peel Street. If you’ve got the heels on for a night out on the town, you can hire your own personal driver from Door to Door Chauffeurs to take you from A to B in style.

Photo Credit: Bloom (top), Osteria Oggi (left), and Down the Rabbit Hole (right).

Its rapidly growing restaurant scene rivals the bigger capital cities

The food tastes better in Adelaide. There, we said it. And don’t even get us started on the wine! Known for its abundance of fresh and tasty produce, everything from a simple spaghetti with chilli at Osteria Oggi to roast pumpkin yellow curry at Kiin and avocado on sourdough at Bloom makes an impact. Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to enjoy alfresco dining and sensational views with a glass of South Australian Shiraz from Maxwell Wines and make your way through the city’s seriously elevated culinary offering.

Head Down the Rabbit Hole and come up for air in Adelaide’s answer to Byron Bay. The relaxed restaurant and cellar door is set on expansive farmland with a plentiful (and picture perfect) garden providing everything the chefs need to create colourful plates of food that are good for the soul.

Adelaide’s restaurants don’t just deliver dishes that sing with flavour, they serve stylish interiors, too. Honouring the city’s architectural history while introducing design elements from its Mediterranean migrants, Adelaide’s best restaurants are decked out in natural, earthy tones, cool curves, soft greenery, and elegant limestone.

Hotel Indigo (top), Garcon Bleu at Sofitel Adelaide (left), and Luma at The Playford Adelaide (right)

Centrally located designer hotels have everything you need for a stylish staycation

Sure, adventuring is fun when you’re on holiday, but sometimes you just want to do nothing, or at the very least, have a beautiful and comfortable temporary home to put your feet up at the end of the day. Luckily, Adelaide’s coolest hotels have got you covered.

Hotel Indigo, which boasts Adelaide’s most Instagrammable interiors, has a breezy rooftop bar perfect for a drink in the sun, two on-site restaurants, an infinity pool with a phenomenal view of Adelaide, a gym, and vibrant rooms that celebrate the city's festival calendar. What more could you ask for?

Inspired to book your next getaway to Adelaide? Virgin Australia operates domestic routes from Adelaide. With flights that are far cheaper (and quicker) than a trip to Europe, you'll have more spending money to wine and dine your way through the city.

If you've loved our guide to the best things to do in Adelaide on a holiday, check out our guides to the best Barossa Valley wineries, and our favourite CBD eateries.

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