For those who may or may not know, Australia is divided into six states and ten federal territories. Of these states and territories, the one that most foreigners think of when they think of Australia is South Australia. With a population of roughly 1.67 million, one can’t help but think, “Does everyone in South Australia live in the Outback?” Well, the obvious answer is…of course not. Although South Australia is a great big wilderness, it’s also home to the country’s fifth most-populated city, Adelaide. Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and it is the South’s cultural epicenter.
Fun Fact: Adelaide is named after Queen Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (wife of King William IV).
Other Resources: If you’re interested in backpacking Australia and want to check out the most common routes, here’s a backpacking guide to Australia which includes epic travel destinations, best times to visit and more!
How To Spend A Day in Adelaide, Australia
Things To Do In Adelaide
Adelaide’s Unique Factor
Adelaide stretches from the coast to the foothills, and since it sits in Southern Australia’s “Goldilocks Zones”, its geographical location allows for the perfect combination of mild temperatures and dreamy coastal landscapes. Not to mention the city’s plethora of gourmet food, wine, art, and cultural centers, parklands, sports and so much more. Also, the city’s colonial architecture is timeless!
Did you know that Adelaide is known as the “City of Churches” for its marvelous Anglican churches built in the 19th century? This eclectic city is also known as the “20-Minute City” because many major attractions are within twenty minutes of the city’s limits including beaches and an award-winning wine region.
Need help finding a hotel in Adelaide? Here’s where you can find the perfect hotel in Adelaide.
And with so many things to do in Adelaide, here are some experiences that you can add to your Adelaide itinerary.
Read More: 5 Epic Australia Road-trip Ideas
Visit the Adelaide Botanic Gardens
Visited by over 2.6 million people every year, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens is a 130-acre oasis in the heart of the city center that showcases Australia’s plant diversity and plants around the world. Adelaide Botanic Gardens attracts tourists, native Australians, and just about anyone who appreciates nature.
Opened in 1857, the historic Botanic Gardens has been the home of the Bicentennial Conservatory – the largest and oldest glasshouse in the Southern Hemisphere which houses endangered rainforest plants. Made with steel and supported by toughened glass, you can see the curved glass building when flying into Adelaide.
Inside the conservatory, there are many different sections including the wetland area, the cottage garden and the lowland rainforest that are kept on display for their beauty and to protect them for endangerment. Also, don’t miss the Amazon Lily Pavilion and the Santos Museum of Economic Botany completed in 1881 which uncovers how important plants are in our lives.
If this isn’t enough to spark your interest, then how about a casual stroll through the tranquil gardens? On your walk, enjoy the colorful scenery, explore beautiful little nooks and paved pathways, smell the flowers, listen to the birds overhead and marvel at the modern art sculptures scattered throughout the garden.
Expect to spend a few hours here and there are even kiosks on-site that serve food – picnic anyone?
Admission for the Botanic Gardens is free and the gardens are open from 7:15 a.m. on the weekdays and 9:00 a.m. on the weekends. Closing hours vary depending on the season.
Live Entertainment in Adelaide
Whether you enjoy sports, theater, concerts or festivals, Adelaide is the home of live entertainment in Southern Australia. One of the must-see venues in Adelaide is the iconic Adelaide Oval.
Adelaide Oval is one of the most historic sporting and entertainment stadiums in Australia. This venue hosts interstate and international Cricket and Australian Rules Football matches. It also seats more than 50,000 cheering spectators!
With first-class facilities, a charming 1911 Edwardian scoreboard, and cafes and restaurants, many say that there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Some even say that watching a match at Adelaide Oval at sunset is one of the best experiences to have in the city.
For fantastic views, stand on the footbridge or join a roof climb tour for panoramic views of the city.
If you’re not interested in sports than no worries. South Australia is considered the “Best Event State” because there are so many events and festivals happening all the time.
Really, there’s no excuse to have a dull Saturday night In Adelaide!
The month of March is nicknamed “Mad March” due to all the unique festive activities going on. But even the month of March isn’t enough to fully display the festive nature of Adelaide. With even more eccentric and bustling festivals like the Adelaide Film Festival, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Feast Festival which celebrates the culture and achievements of the LGBTQ community, and much more, there’s no shortage of live entertainment in Adelaide.
For more information, check out the extensive list of festivals in Adelaide happening throughout the year.
Looking for more things to do in Adelaide?
Well, how about learning about the Indigenous populations in Australia.
Explore and Embrace the Aboriginal Culture
There goes a saying, “A city is nothing without its people”.
Like any land, Adelaide and the Adelaide Plains was once home to a vibrant indigenous population. Gone but never forgotten, the City of Adelaide remembers the original stewards of the land – the Kaurna people.
The Kaurna people had an advanced culture, complex language and a deep understanding of their surrounding environment. This included food, shelter and medicine but also connecting with people, animals, plants and stars.
While the city has many museums to remember and celebrate indigenous culture like the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum, Adelaide also provides guided tours (transportation included) of the native grounds of the Kaurna people. This day trip is the perfect way to explore, experience the Outback, and embrace those who made living in Adelaide possible.
What are some other fun things to do in Adelaide?
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 5x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here.