Adelaide is one of Australia’s smaller capital cities with just 1.3 million residents but when it comes to food, wine and culture, it certainly punches above its weight.
Positioned on the banks of the River Torrens, the city site was known as Tarntanya (red kangaroo place) by the Kaurna people, the original custodians of the land, and was first settled by Europeans in 1836.
Commonly known as the City of Churches (it has more than 500), the city is now shifting to a young, innovative, foodie destination with boutique accommodation, leading galleries, and arts and cultural events.
Here’s how you can make the most of a weekend trip to Adelaide.
Take a flight to Adelaide, which is readily available from most domestic airports in Australia. It’s then just a short 6km taxi ride into the heart of the city.
Settle into your accommodation before making your way to Rundle Street to the swanky restaurant and cocktail bar Two Pot Screamer. They serve amazing cocktails and a dinner of classic Australian dishes with a very innovative and modern twist.
Enjoy breakfast in North Adelaide at The Flying Fig, which is inspired by a traditional Jewish-style deli.
Servings are generous and feature lots of local South Australian ingredients – choose from traditional breakfast classics or some in-house deli favourites. The menu provides a detailed glossary of terms that help decipher the ingredients each dish.
From the Terrace, wander north or take a city tram to the Central Market and peruse the array of artisan food and wine and fresh produce.
Stop in at Crack Kitchen, a modern cafe located in an old bank, for great coffee and delicious gourmet meals made from local and seasonal ingredients.
Walk off your lunch at the sprawling Adelaide Botanic Gardens which features one of the most fascinating museums, the Museum of Economic Botany.
Take in the collection of plants that yield practical, medicinal and economic value before lazing on the sweeping lawns under shady trees and visiting the well-stocked garden shop.
After a busy day of exploring, treat yourself to an indulgent dinner at Fishbank, which is dubbed Adelaide’s best fish restaurant. Choose from small plates, share dishes or impressive main dishes including whole cooked fish.
For some extra extravagance try a taste from the caviar cart which comes with a shot of vodka. The extensive wine list features local drops and some expertly created cocktails.
Hop out of bed and make your way to Peter Rabbit Cafe, a welcoming burrow of greenery with trellises of climbing plants and rustic planter boxes accompanied by great coffee and hearty breakfast dishes. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.
From there, book yourself a seat on a cruise of the River Torrens (also known as Karrawirra Parri) with Popeye Tours. The fleet of tour boats have been on the water for more than 40 years.
The river cruise takes in city sights and the entertaining commentary provides history and fun facts. There is also an option to enjoy a Devonshire tea on board.
Head to lunch at Ballaboosta which offers a generous, home-style, Mediterranean meets Middle East menu. Each hearty dish is served out of the busy kitchen with care. The dessert cabinet is very enticing, so be sure to leave some room for a sweet treat to end the meal.
Indulge in some retail therapy at Rundle Mall, a wide pedestrian shopping strip in the city centre. Be sure to visit to Adelaide’s own Haigh’s Chocolates in Adelaide Mall, an arcade off the main shopping strip.
Haigh’s is an Adelaide institution and a long-standing family business that has been creating sweet treats since 1915. Visitors can go to the original factory site in Parkside and take a tour to learn about some of the Haigh family secrets, and enjoy a tasting or two.
Wrap up the afternoon with cocktails at Sol Rooftop bar overlooking the entire city and the River Torrens. The stylish fit-out offers lounge seating, cocktail tables with stools, and standard table settings, both indoors and on the outdoor deck.
There is also a high tea service available at the bar on weekends. The menu features some elegant cocktails to enjoy along with the great view.
Plenty of things to see and do in Adelaide
There is so much to explore in Adelaide itself, you can certainly make a full weekend of it.
For those wanting to extend their visit, you can extend your city stay to enjoy a theatre show or one of Adelaide’s major events if the timing is right, otherwise you may want to visit some of the surrounding wine regions such as McLaren Vale or Barossa Valley.
However you choose to see Adelaide, you’ll be sure to leave feeling well-fed, well-cultured and eager to book a return visit.