Adelaide: 5 Things to See in this Off-the-Beaten-Path Australian City

by  Alex Schechter | Updated on Oct 11, 2022
Adelaide, Australia
Adelaide, Australia / moisseyev/iStock

Adelaide: 5 Things to See in this Off-the-Beaten-Path Australian City

Two hours by plane from Sydney (and just 90 minutes from Melbourne), Adelaide is generally known as a quieter, more rustic alternative to Australia's bustling metropolises. Set along the gentle River Torrens, Adelaide has fashioned itself into something of a sports capital. Still, it's not just cricket fans who are showing up to enjoy Adelaide's bucolic charm. Adelaide Hills and Cleland Wildlife Park – two of the city’s most popular and accessible public parks – showcase a wide range of native Australian wildlife, making Adelaide perfect for nature lovers. Plus, the city is incredibly easy to navigate. 

Whether it's an adventure, cricket, or a quiet afternoon at the beach, Adelaide hits all the marks, and, even better, you won’t spend a fortune while you’re there. Here are five places worth checking out.

1. Central Market

This quirky covered market (which happens to be the largest in the southern hemisphere) offers so much to see, smell, and taste that many people opt for a guided tour. Of course, you'll be perfectly fine perusing the stalls on your own for free. Stock up on picnic essentials (Smelly Cheese Co. is a local fave) before heading to the beach. Or, if you haven't planned your day, simply strike up a conversation with one of the local vendors, who will be glad to make suggestions.

2. Cleland Wildlife Park 

Nobody swings by Adelaide without a visit to Cleland Wildlife Park, where kangaroos, wallabies, emus, potoroos, and water birds can be seen roaming in their natural habitat. The park cuts down on enclosed spaces as much as possible and is open year-round. In addition to general admission, visitors can purchase add-ons like a "koala close-up" exhibit or attend a NightWalk. Best of all, the park can be accessed from the Adelaide city center in under 20 minutes.

3. Mount Lofty

For the best city views, embark on an early-morning mountain bike ride to Mount Lofty, which is nearly 2,400 feet high. Not up for a bike ride? Consider one of the walking and hiking trails instead. Once you work up an appetite, refuel at the on-site restaurant. Alternatively, check out the nearby botanic garden.

4. Glenelg Beach

Beach bums should head straight to Glenelg Beach, where locals like to splash around with bottlenose dolphins. To get here, simply ride the tram from the city center (about 30 minutes). Also, be sure to plan ahead: a quick stop at the aforementioned Central Market will have you equipped for one of the most memorable sunset picnics of your life.

5. Aboriginal Cultures Gallery

Learn more about the local culture by visiting the Aboriginal Cultures Gallery, which occupies two floors of the South Australian Museum. The gallery features a slew of artifacts, such as boomerangs, bark canoes, shields, maps, photographs, and notebooks. This 3,000-plus-piece collection is considered the world's largest display of Australian Aboriginal artifacts.

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