Are you craving a winter getaway but not sure where to start? We asked one of our international students to give us the lowdown on their recent trip to Adelaide.
Danielle is originally from the UK and moved to Sydney, Australia in October 2019. With Covid-19 border restrictions relaxed in May 2021, she decided to take a five-day trip to Adelaide in South Australia.
Known as the ‘City of Churches’, Adelaide was the country’s first planned city which makes getting around on foot delightfully simple in comparison to big sisters Melbourne and Sydney.
With its hip underground bars, live music scene and impressive festival calendar, Adelaide is world-renowned for its joyous celebration of the arts. While the sprawling Adelaide Hills and world-famous Barossa Valley see wine aficionados flock in their thousands every year.
A morning can be well spent pottering around the city’s historic arcade before a quick hop on the tram will transport you to the seaside suburb of Glenelg in under 20 minutes.
Below, find out how Danielle spent her time in Adelaide from where to grab a good margarita to the magic of neighbouring Kangaroo Island.
12.30pm: Touch down. Tired, hungry and excited: we dash to pick up our luggage and try to figure out the cheapest, quickest route into the CBD. We can’t check in to our Airbnb until 2.30pm so decide to grab a late brunch at one of the first recommendations we come across: Peter Rabbit. Now to figure out how to get there...
1pm: We eventually suss out the bus system after asking a handful of locals how the ticket machine works and purchase a ticket for the airport shuttle bus. Top tip: It turns out, we didn’t need a day ticket. We recommend purchasing a Metrocard at your local supermarket to last the duration of your trip. If you’re short on time, it’s just a 10-minute Uber ride from the airport into the CBD. It’s not too spenny either (you are on holiday, after all!)
2pm: We’ve made it! Peter Rabbit is exactly what we’re looking for. Artfully positioned on Hindley Street away from the hustle and bus roars of the CBD, this quaint cafe is wonderfully cosy on an autumn day - especially after sleeping away a couple of hours in the sky. There’s a leafy outdoor courtyard for coffee connoisseurs to enjoy a hot cuppa bundled beneath blankets. While the inside is decked out in fairy lights with references to the beloved children’s book from watering cans and dusty books to retro memorabilia.
We order the Smokey Smash with a side of golden halloumi. This dreamy spot turns into a local watering hole come Friday night with happy hour until late so make sure to squeeze it into your itinerary.
3pm: We hit the road once more as it’s time to check into our Airbnb. By now, we’ve discovered that Adelaide is pretty easy to navigate, even for first-timers. Our Airbnb is positioned on the South Terrace, at the bottom of the CBD, which means we have a good chance of not getting lost. We’ve booked a spacious apartment for the week with two double rooms and a large balcony overlooking the parklands. It’s raining outside but a rainbow slowly emerges in the distance. If that’s not a sign of good things to come, then we don’t know what is...
4pm: My friend and I freshen up before heading out for an early dinner and drinks but the weather is unexpectedly cold. Despite only being a few degrees cooler than Sydney, you can really feel the absence of sunshine so we head to Rundle Street in search of a new coat each - any excuse, huh?
5pm: Bundled up in our new attire, we head to Leigh Street for a margarita (or three). Pink Moon Saloon is first on our list and is well worth the Instagram whispers. A small alpine hut, you can’t miss it amid the row of concrete bars and neon lights. An old school bar sits at the entrance with a courtyard out back for mingling with new pals. We pull up a seat on one of the shared benches and order a cocktail each.
Next up: Extra Chicken Salt on Peel Street. As Sydneysiders, we hadn’t heard of the home of fried chicken and retro cocktails but its groovy ‘70s interior lures us in. We’re talking late night pineapple fritters and sticky date pud with resident DJs every weekend.
7pm: All that cocktail tasting has left us feeling a little peckish so we head down to Sunny’s to see what all the fuss is about. I can’t recommend this place enough. Tucked away in a backstreet alley on Solomon Street, this not-so-well-kept-secret won’t disappoint. We’re talking good music, disco balls and stringy cheese pizzas too good to share. My friend and I bag a decent table by the open kitchen where you can watch the magic happen by the wood fired oven. So good, I’m already planning my return.
9.30am: Time to tick off the biggest tourist attraction of all: the Botanic Garden. Although I imagine it blooms into a beautiful place come summer, there’s something special about crunching through the autumn leaves. We spend a good couple of hours wandering (read: taking photographs) and stop off for a hot chocolate.
12.30pm: All this walking has made us super hungry so we head for a bite to eat at the Central Market. The only market of its kind in Australia, it’s home to hundreds of food and fresh produce stalls. I advise working up a big appetite because you’ll want to make the most of it.
5pm: We meet my brother and his partner in Belgian Beer Cafe for a pre-dinner pint and catch up. With Australian borders closed and a trip to Europe off the cards, we choose Greek restaurant Eros Kafe for dinner. During the winter, fire pits are rolled outside and homebrewed mulled wine makes a welcome appearance on the menu.
10pm: We hit the pillow early as we’ve booked the Kangaroo Island Tour with Sealink for the following day. It looks to be a great way to see the South Coast without the hassle of hiring a car (and navigating a map).
05.15am: Our alarm goes off bright and early but ensures we have plenty of time to make a much-needed cup of coffee. Luckily, we only have to head down the street for our coach pick-up at 6am.
10.30am: After a 45-minute ferry ride across surprisingly calm waters, we arrive at Penneshaw and clamber aboard our coach for the day. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and although we’re still a little sleepy, we soon find ourselves making friends. It’s around an hour or so drive to our first destination: Seal Bay Conservation Park.
11.30am: This is an absolute treat. One of the Conservation Park rangers gives us a tour of the beach and surrounding sand dunes. It’s an incredible chance to see Australian seals up close with many of them napping and happily ambling along the rocks. Make sure to bring your camera, as this is a real once in a lifetime opportunity.
12.30pm: Our tour group stops for lunch at Vivonne Bay Bistro for a well-earned break from exploring. A big slab of cheesecake certainly helps to boost our energy levels...
1.30pm: We’re back on the road again and it’s fascinating to see how the landscape has changed following the devastating bushfires in January 2020. As we make our way through Flinders Chase National Park, it’s hard to comprehend the impact the fires had on local people, homes, tourism and businesses. Thankfully, there are signs of new life with native wildlife and plants thought to have been lost slowly beginning to return.
2.30pm: We stop off at Admirals Arch to walk down to the water. To my surprise, there are seals here too with frolicking pups learning to swim in the rockpools.
3.30pm: Our final destination is the Remarkable Rocks which are even more spectacular up close. Again, this is another brilliant photo opportunity with many of our fellow tour-goers climbing up the rocks for a whole range of Instagram shots. The views alone are incredible with the coastline stretching far into the distance and waves lapping below.
4.30pm: The best has been saved until last, as we head to Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. The team rescued more than 600 animals in need of critical care from the bushfires and have managed to release some back into the wild in recent months. The trip gave us the chance to feed some of the rescued kangaroos and koalas - a major Australian bucket list moment ticked off!
5.30pm: It’s time to head back to Adelaide.
11am: It’s drizzly outside so we duck into the The Art Gallery of South Australia to check out the Chiharu Shiota: Absence embodied exhibition. Most of the exhibitions are free so it’s a great rainy day activity for visiting students. The South Australian Museum is just next door too.
2pm: Glenelg is a short tram ride away from the CBD so we decide to check out the coastal suburb that we’ve heard so much about. Moseley Square greets you at the final stop and is sure to pull in crowds come summer with its windy palms and buzzy restaurants. Famed for stretching sands, we take a walk along the front to Brighton. I can’t wait to visit again in the warmer months as it’s far too brisk for a dip in the ocean!
6pm: Back in the city, we head out in search of an early dinner and stumble upon La Rambla Tapas Bar. My friend and I pull up a seat at the bar and order two glasses of wine with some nibbles to share. We’re told they’ll start serving mulled wine in the next few weeks so make sure to check it out if you’re visiting Adelaide this winter.
7pm: The bar staff recommend that we head to Therapy for an after-dinner cocktail. We almost miss it, as there’s only a small sign inviting passersby to the underground bar. This uber-cool speakeasy is candlelit and certainly one to check out on date night.
8pm: We accidentally get off a bus stop too early but it’s just the excuse we were looking for to trial the city’s Beam scooters. If anything, they’re a nifty way to get home when you’ve racked up a pretty impressive step count...
9am: My friend leaves for her flight home and it’s my final morning in the city. I decide to pop into local hotspot Café Troppo for breakfast then head back to the Airbnb to pack my suitcase, as I’m spending the weekend at my brother’s home just outside of the city.
12pm: We drive to McLaren Vale for an afternoon of wine tasting. There are over 60 wineries to choose from so well worth booking a tour in if you fancy making a day of it. We make a pitstop for lunch before checking out Mitolo’s tasting menu.
5pm: We enjoy the last of the sunshine on the balcony. Being so far away from the UK (especially during the pandemic), it’s lovely to spend time with familiar faces.
10am: It’s time to head home. After a year of border closures, the airport still feels strangely exciting so I have no issue getting here nice and early.
2.30pm: Touch down in Sydney. I’m welcomed by sunshine and seeing the Harbour Bridge as we fly in never fails to give me butterflies. I’m already planning my next adventure...
Pavla, The Director