This cultural richness is most apparent in the North Terrace area, a hub of museums and galleries. Here you will find Australia’s only dedicated Islamic gallery as well as one of the country’s finest art collections. Then there is the world’s largest collection of Australian Aboriginal cultural material and an important collection of South East Asian ceramics.
But, there is plenty more to discover beyond the city’s display cases and exhibition halls.
Outside, is a realm of vast green parklands set around the River Torrens and quaint colonial houses. At the heart of the city’s “square mile” is the recently revamped Victoria Square, surrounded by public institutions, hotels and universities. Further out of town are the pretty villages of the Adelaide Hills like Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, or seaside resorts like Glenelg set on the white sand shores of Holdfast Bay with waters teeming with wild dolphins. Then, there’s world-class wine country. The Clare Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, while the Barossa is perhaps its most well known internationally.
Many are also drawn by the city’s diverse range of events, from cricket matches at the historic Adelaide Oval to the annual Adelaide Festival – an international arts gathering which spins off into fringe and film events.
Places to Visit in Adelaide
- Victoria Square
- North Terrace
- Gouger Street
Unique Things to See and Do in Adelaide
- Swim with wild dolphins at the seaside resort of Glenelg
- Visit the bakeries of Hahndorf for a taste of its German heritage
- Go wine tasting in the Clare and Barossa Valleys
- Immerse yourself in culture in the museums and galleries of the North Terrace
- Peruse the stalls of Adelaide Central Market, then fill your face along foodie favourite Gouger Street
The History of Adelaide
Unlike the other Australian states, Adelaide’s history is not intertwined with that of the convicts that famously and unwillingly crossed the world from Britain to make Australia their home.
Instead, the city’s original inhabitants were free settlers, mostly from Britain but then joined by those from diverse places around the world such as Afghanistan, Germany, Poland, China, Lebanon, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia – drawn to South Australia by the opportunities presented by its copper, wool and wheat industries or to flee persecution.
The first ships arrived at Glenelg beach (southwest of the central business district) which is now a popular seaside resort and home to Jetty Road – a spot crammed with enough restaurants and cafes to keep any foodie happily occupied.
The City of Adelaide itself was founded in 1836, and named after the wife of William IV who sat on the British throne between 1830 and 1837.
But it was another William, Colonel William Light, who was behind the grid-like design of the city. These wide streets, surrounded by parklands, remain at the city’s heart. Light chose Adelaide over other contenders – Kangaroo Island, the Eyre Peninsula and the Yorke Peninsula – as the location of South Australia’s capital thanks to the freshwater lagoons and grasslands that surrounded it.
Light died of tuberculosis in 1839 and is now buried in Adelaide’s Light Square where a marble column has been placed over his grave in order to remember him.
Did you know…?
Although Adelaide is known as the City of Churches, when you look at the actual number of churches per 100,000 people it does not come in first or even second spot when compared to other major Australian cities.
Did you ALSO know…?
Adelaide has more adult entertainment shops per person than any other Australian city.
Getting Around Adelaide
With its flat streets, Adelaide is an easy walking city with a visitor-friendly street layout. But there are other free ways to get around the city and see its sights. For example, you can take advantage of its network of bike lanes and paths by hiring a free bicycle from Adelaide City Bikes which has 14 city locations. Just show some identification, fill out a form and then off you roll, equipped with helmet and all.
You can also ride the City-Loop bus for free to destinations such as the South Australia Museum, Adelaide Botanic Garden among others until 6 pm each day and 9 pm on Fridays.
Or for a quirkier way of getting around, take the Free City tram which runs through the city’s hearts to destination such as the South Terrace and Glenelg.
But if none of these options meet your needs, then there is a bus and train network to fall back on, or you can opt instead for taxis or a rental car to self-drive the city.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Adelaide
The driest of all the Australian capital cities, Adelaide gets most of its rainfall during the winter months when temperatures range from a minimum of 8 degrees Celsius to a maximum of 16 degrees Celsius. Autumn and spring days are sunny, warm and pleasant. And while summer is the best time to head to the beach, the seaside resort of Glenelg has a year-round Mediterranean climate.
Ready to plan your visit to Adelaide? Check out these popular guides and trips.