From a morning frolic with dolphins at Glenelg to dancing the night away in the city, here's our short and sweet guide to 24 hours in Adelaide.
7.40am, A swim with the dolphinsStart the day with a trip to Glenelg beach and head out with Temptation Sailing in search of dolphins.
“We’ve never gone out and not seen dolphins. In 15 years, operating every day, we always see them," says the own of Temptation Sailing, Stephen Waites. “It depends on the time of year, but people are in the water with an average of 43 bottlenose and common dolphins around them. It can be a lot more in November, when there can be a couple of hundred. They come very close to you, but you’re not allowed to touch.”
Swimmers wear wetsuits, facemasks and snorkels, and hold onto a floatation line while in the water. Waites is so confident that you will see dolphins that he offers a full refund if you don’t.
Daily Swim with Dolphin cruises leave Marina Pier, Holdfast Shores Marina at Glenelg at approximately 7.40am and return around 11.15am. To get to Glenelg, jump on the Glenelg-bound tram from the city.
10:00am, Hit the shops
Time for some retail therapy in Adelaide, and there’s no better place to start than Adelaide’s famous Rundle Mall. This long pedestrian-only shopping strip is strung with department stores, boutiques, shopping complexes and world-famous chain stores.
Buskers add to the entertainment, giving the mall a distinctive festive feel, especially throughout our summer months! There are flagship stores and boutiques to browse, as well as several arcades, including historic Adelaide Arcade. Here, you'll find Haigh’s Chocolates (there's also a store on the Rundle Mall and King William Street), hundreds of eclectic specialty stores and, as legend goes, a few ghosts.
Wander into the East End to explore Rundle Street and Ebenezer Place - Adelaide's artisan oasis.
12.30pm, Lunch at Adelaide Central Market
Since 1870, Adelaide Central Market has been at the epicentre of South Australia's foodie culture. It’s a vibrant, busy place filled with cafés, cheese shops, bakeries, patisseries, fruit and vegetable stalls, meat and seafood outlets, and dozens of artisan food producers selling everything from local olive oil to old-fashioned lollies and locally-distilled gin.
Lunchtime options include long-time Adelaide favourite, Lucia’s Fine Foods, which serves up traditional pizzas and pastas. Then there’s Sunmi’s Sushi for sushi and Korean noodle dishes, and Zed’s Café for great coffee, lemon tart, salads, soups and more. There are plenty of other lunchtime eateries for a hearty lunch (or a fry up breakfast) too.
1pm, Art Attack
Experience the best of Adelaide's arts scene at the Art Gallery of South Australia, located on Adelaide's cultural boulevard, North Terrace. The Gallery was founded in 1881 and houses one of Australia’s best art collections as well as a quality cafe. Sit back and take it all in with a coffee in-hand and light lunch on the way.
An alternative option is the University of South Australia’s Samstag Museum of Art, which displays works from South Australian artists from the 1970s onwards. It's also renowned for its collection of Aboriginal bark paintings.
2pm, High time at the Adelaide Oval
A tour of the famous Adelaide Oval is a unique experience, especially if you attempt the Commonwealth Bank RoofClimb. Clip on your safety harness and climb 50m above the playing field on a rooftop climb like no other.
Climb up and down ladders and multiple flights of stairs, and inch across metal grate walkways and bridges between stands. Up top, enjoy views of the city and the Adelaide Hills. You can even lean out over the goalposts, which is quite a thrill.
A quicker and less daunting option is a tour of the oval itself. This takes you backstage to the changing rooms and warm up areas, inside the old manual scoreboard, and out on to the pitch. You don’t have to be an Aussie Rules or cricket fan to enjoy it; anyone with an interest history and appreciation of atmosphere is sure to have a great time.
5pm, A drop of wine tasting
When you mention great Australian wine, Penfolds always comes to the tip of the tongue. This legendary grape-wrangler has played a pivotal role in the evolution of wine-making in Australia since it was established in 1844 - just eight years after South Australia's settlement.
The iconic Penfolds vineyards and Magill Estate cellar door are just 15 minutes drive from the city centre. The cellar door closes at 6pm, so you have just enough time to sip, savour and pick up a few bottles too.
If you're in Adelaide for an extra morning, join a 45-minute Magill Estate Heritage Tour to see how the wines are made and stored, and enjoy a taste test (of course).
6.30pm, Cocktail O’clock
Eight floors atop an old bank building, 2KW Bar and Restaurant is the perfect venue to relax at with a cocktail in hand. Its Terrace bar is a large outdoor space with panoramic views over the River Torrens, Parliament House and Adelaide Oval.
From the drinks menu, try the Lofty Lookout cocktail - a zingy drink with coconut washed rum, apricot brandy and lime. The Stormy Like Summer is hot and spicy thanks to the chipotle-infused tequila, with green capsicum, parley, lime and sugar. As far as beers go, if Peroni or Asahi seem a bit old school, sip a glass of Prancing Pony Double Red Ale from South Australia, or Rogue Hazelnut Brown from the USA.
Feeling peckish? You could graze from the bar menu before heading out for dinner. Tuck into some oysters, McLaren Vale olives, or a plate of deep-fried whitebait and school prawns.
7.30pm, Dinner Time
For something a little different, try Africola - in Adelaide's East End, just off Rundle Street. Their large fire pit splutters with ‘bush meats’ like South African spiral sausages, wood roasted hearts, and peri-peri chicken. Set yourself down on a barstool or in a sky-blue booth surrounded by vibrantly coloured walls and chill out to reggae and African-tunes.
If you fancy Thai food with a contemporary twist instead, head to Golden Boy in Adelaide’s East End. Head chef Prachaya ‘Palm’ Skolaree presents a sharing menu with the likes of salmon belly curry with pickled vegetables, and green papaya salad with salted crab dressing. The menu can be tricky to navigate, so shout out ‘tuk tuk’ if you don’t know your nam pla from your tom kha.
9.30pm, One (or several) more for the road
Adelaide’s laneway scene is making its mark on the map these days, with both vibrant Peel Steet and al-fresco Leigh Street showing the way. If you fancy dinner in one of these side-by-side alleyways, the choice is huge. Moroccan, Indian, Spanish, Mexican, Korean, Serbian … the list goes on.
But now it’s bar hopping time.