26 Fun Things to Do in Adelaide on Your First Trip

26 Fun Things to Do in Adelaide on Your First Trip

What’s there to do in Adelaide? Plenty! From discovering art, nature and culture in the city centre to embarking on wildlife excursions, here are the best attractions and activities in Adelaide.

We all know Melbourne’s always the craze when it comes to Australia, but we’ve found out that Adelaide is just as magnificent. Read on to make your own personal list of things to do if you’re intending to visit the coastal capital city of South Australia!

Make your first trip worthwhile.

WITHIN CITY CENTRE

1. Ride along River Torrens

Image credit: JAK SIE MASZ

As the hallmark of the Adelaide city, River Torrens is one sight you must enjoy but with more adventure. Rent a free bike at any of the 20 locations in the city and follow the Linear Park Trail. Along the way, you’d be able to stop at playgrounds, meet some friendly ducks, take pictures on bridges, and ride under roads. You’d also pass some great spots like the Adelaide Zoo and the Elder Park.

2. Snap a picture of the iconic Adelaide Oval

Image credit: Jon Westra

While cycling, be sure to ride on the Adelaide Riverbank footbridge that spans across the River Torrens connecting the Adelaide Oval to the inner city, starting along Festival Drive.

3. Meet Wang Wang and Fu Ni at Adelaide Zoo

Image credit: Les Haines

And we can’t forget that one of the oldest zoos in Australia is right here in Adelaide and it’s where you can meet Australia’s only two Giant Pandas, Wang Wang and Fu Ni!

4. Grab a stash of fresh produce at Adelaide Central Market

We’d also recommend stopping by the Adelaide Central Market to get fresh produce and gourmet goods, or just admire the street food!

5. Meet farmers at Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market

Apart from the Central Market, you can also visit the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market, known to be the largest farmers’ market in South Australia. It is open every Sunday.

6. Get a dose of the CBD at Victoria Square

Image credit: Smalljude

Also known as Tarntanyangga or Tarndanyangga, Victoria Square is a public square at the heart of the city and home to many historic and prominent buildings such as the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Adelaide General Post Office and even the Roman Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier.

7. Be enthralled at Adelaide Arcade

Image credit: denisbin

Another city-centre wonder is the heritage shopping centre called the Adelaide Arcade which exudes awe from both its facade and interiors. Be sure to check out all the retail options as well as the museum!

8. Speak to a ghost at Adelaide Gaol

Image credit: Michael Coghlan

Alright, we did not mean to frighten your hearts there but if you’re one with a keen fascination for the supernatural, take a tour around this Australian prison and listen to authentic spooky stories of hangings, burials and the many ghosts who roam the premises. You could, in fact, get to speak to one of the spirit inmates!

9. Taste Haigh’s Chocolates at Beehive Corner

Image credit: Danijel James

Have a bite at Australia’s own delicious chocolates at Haigh’s original retail store, located at the Beehive Corner in Rundle Mall along King William Street! Remember to buy home some goodies for your family and friends!

10. Listen to the bells at Adelaide Railway Station

Image credit: Rexness

You can’t get enough of the vintage looking facades of century-old railway stations! And there’s a casino in the building as well.

11. Take in some art at North Terrace

Image credit: Ruben Schade

The cultural precinct of Adelaide lies on the North Terrace, home to many of the city’s iconic cultural institutions such as the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum. Any art lover will be delighted!

12. Stroll through Himeji Gardens

Image credit: Katie Hannan

For an Asian dose to the city landscape, there is a classical Japanese garden bed in Wita Wirra Park, located on the South Terrace near Glen Osmond Road. It is said that the garden has a deep religious significance to the Japanese and has features that allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Here you can admire the lush Japanese greenery and its oasis. There is also a guided tour to sign up for. Do check its opening hours before planning your trip!

13. Spend a whole day at Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Image credit: helmi099

This 51-hectare public garden is located at the northeastern corner of the city. There are many garden beds within its compound, so a day to explore its premises would be ideal. This is indeed one of the most nature-filled atmospheric experience away from the hustle and bustle of the city!

14. Roam around Glenelg

things to do in adelaide

Image credit: Pursuedbybear

A beachside suburb of the city capital, Glenelg is popular for its beautiful beach as well as other attractions such as the museums, nightlife, and street performances. Don’t forget to get your retail therapy at the shopping oasis along Jetty Road!

15. Get a Hogwarts feel at State Library of South Australia

Image credit: Jon Westra

We don’t need to say anything more for this. *Drops and cries*

OUTSIDE CITY CENTRE

16. Meet cute dolphins at Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary

Image credit: Aude Steiner

Around 20 kilometres north of Adelaide — just 20 minutes from the city — lies the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary that is home to a 10,000-year-old mangrove forest and most excitingly, 40 over resident bottlenose dolphins! These wild dolphins, who are also visited by 300 other dolphins, eat, play and socialise. There are opportunities for paddle boarding and kayaking too!

17. Escape to the Adelaide Hills

Image credit: Sydney Oats

Located in the largest town of Mount Barker, Adelaide Hills is just east of the city and is part of the larger Mount Lofty Ranges. It is also known to be one of the cooler wine producing regions. There are many wineries and cellar doors to visit, great accommodation to stay in and lots of other sightseeing activities to embark on!

18. Complete bike trails at the Mount Lofty Ranges

Image credit: Wikipedian

If the ranges are giving you a thrill, direct that energy to a cycling escapade in the Mount Lofty Ranges where you can ride through the amazing greenery, captivating forests and oasis! There are many bike trails, including the Mount Lofty Mountain Bike Trail that is single track and entirely downhill (you would need to make a climb up first for this).

19. Admire waterfalls at Morialta Conservation Park

Image credit: asheshwor

The Morialta Conservation Park, northeast of the city, is known for its three waterfalls which are linked by an extensive network of walking trails. It is best to visit the park in spring or winter when the flow of the water is at its strongest!

20. Visit the wild at Cleland Wildlife Park

Image credit: NH53

Within the Cleland Conservation Park up on the Adelaide Hills, the Cleland Wildlife Park is home to large enclosures of Australian animals like the adorable koalas and curious kangaroos.

21. Go back in time at Hahndorf

Image credit: Chris Fithall

Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, with its original inhabitants being the Peramangk Aboriginal people about 2,400 years ago. There is indeed history at every corner of this town! Again, you can find this majestic town in the Adelaide Hills!

22. Have some wine at Barossa Valley

A renowned wine-producing region northeast of Adelaide, Barossa Valley boasts its local speciality — shiraz grapes. It also hints the history of its 19th-century German settlers with its stone cottages and Lutheran churches!

23. Hop with your friends at Kangaroo Island

Southwest of Adelaide, about 30-45 minutes by ferry or flight, you can escape to Kangaroo Island to meet huge and diverse populations of native Australian animals among soaring cliffs, sand dunes and pristine white-sand beaches.

24. Be mesmerised at Hallett Cove Conservation Park

Image credit: julie burgher

Regarded as one of the most captivating archaeological and geological sites of the country, the Hallett Cove Conservation Park would mesmerise the history buff! There is also evidence of the country’s ice age some 280 million years ago and you could also see some amazing glacial pavements well known to the world!

25. Absorb into the Mediterranean at Fleurieu Peninsula

things to do in adelaide

Image credit: Mick Morrison

For a Mediterranean ambience, head down to Fleurieu Peninsula on the southern doorstep of Adelaide. There are multiple towns on the peninsula, including Victor Harbour, Goolwa, Yankalilla and Rapid Bay. Here, you can choose to relax by the majestic sea or set out on a day of exploration — there are kangaroos, whales, dolphins, pelicans and sea lions!

26. Explore the Shipwreck Grove

things to do in adelaide

Image credit: Dave Walsh

As a dumping ground for decommissioned ocean vessels, the salt marsh is home to 25 known shipwrecks. With Garden Island around the area and its landscape decorated with mangroves, you will be able to photograph these shipwrecks beautifully! The Grove is just thirty minutes outside of Adelaide.

About Author

Parveen Maghera
Parveen Maghera

An avid non-fiction reader, Parveen loves digging deep into stories of unique individuals, be they from Europe or the Middle East. Indeed, if travelling was free, you won't see her again. It is her wish to embark on a world tour some time in her future. You might just see her selfie-ing with the Eiffel Tower, or even consuming the aura of Swat Valley with other native Afghans.

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