When we were invited to take part in the Dometic Winnebago Follow the Sun Relay we chose to do the Adelaide to Melbourne leg. As we had never been to Adelaide, we thought it would be great to be able to spend a couple of days there looking around before starting the relay. We weren’t sure how much we would be able to see in Adelaide in two days, but decided to give it our best shot and as you can see we managed to fit a lot in!
Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia. It is located on the east coast of the bay known as St Vincent Gulf.
If you are driving, Adelaide is a bit over 700 kilometres from Melbourne or 2,690 kilometres from Perth! Adelaide is also the gateway to the fabulous wine regions of South Australia like the Barossa Valley.
As we didn’t have a car, we found getting around Adelaide on the tram super easy. There was a tram stop straight across the road from our Hotel (and also the train station) Adelaide public transport utilise a Metro Card or you can buy a paper ticket. Travel is free on the ‘city circle’ line but as we were going further than that we bought a day tripper ticket which cost $10.40 each. This ticket allows you to get on and off the tram as often as you like during the whole day.
THINGS TO DO
Our first morning we jumped on the tram and headed straight out to Glenelg Beach, around a 40 minute ride from the Adelaide CBD. As soon as we got off the tram we saw that there was a giant Ferris Wheel set up on the beach front. It was totally worth the $10 each to go for a couple of loops around and take in the views. Sadly, it is only a temporary installation and is set to close on February 10th. It opens daily from 9.30am until 9.00pm.
Next we walked out along the Glenelg Jetty. A very busy spot, again offering fabulous views of the beach on both sides. We even saw a dolphin frolicking in the waves very close to shore, startling the swimmers who were near by.
If you are looking for somewhere to eat, then you will be spoiled for choice as there are so many cafes and restaurants in the area. You can opt for something casual like fish and chips, or have a sit down meal in one of the many side-walk eateries.
For the kids there is an awesome park with a great play area which includes sandpits, climbing frame and in-ground trampolines. There is also an indoor play centre called The Beachhouse which will keep the kids entertained for hours.
BAY DISCOVERY CENTRE
Located in the Glenelg Town Hall is the Bay Discovery Centre museum. Here you will find a very interesting display where you can learn more about the history of Glenelg including how and when it was first settled. The museum also includes a history of “bathing” at Glenelg beach. There is even an original Bathing Box erected in the foyer downstairs plus a display of different swim suits.
Entry is free but a donation is appreciated.
NATIONAL WINE CENTRE OF AUSTRALIA
Many of you will know I love a wine (or two) and friends recommended that we check out the National Wine Centre. It is located just next to the Botanic Gardens. The National Wine Centre is all about showcasing Australian wine and is also somewhere that you can learn about the history of wine in Australia. There are several interactive displays which help explain the wine making process.
The wine centre is also home to one of the largest ‘open cellars’ in the southern hemisphere. It can house up to 38,000 bottles and is a pretty impressive sight! The Centre also has it’s own Cellar Door and you can taste up to 120 different wines or enjoy some of South Australia’s fresh produce. Entry to the National Wine Centre is free.
ADELAIDE BOTANIC GARDENS
Most capital cities in Australia have stunning botanic gardens and Adelaide is no exception. Covering over 50 hectares, these gardens have something for everyone. The gardens are divided in sections that showcase a different variety of plants. This includes an Australian Native Garden section and a Garden of Health which has plants which can be used for healing and to promote well-being.
There is a large rain forest exhibit in the Bicentennial Conservatory – a particularly impressive glass hot house. It houses a number of endangered Australian plants and trees. My favourite spot was the Nelumbo Pond – a mass display of sacred lotus flowers. I had never seen flowers like these before and I just fell in love with them.
To really immerse yourself in all the Adelaide Botanic Gardens has to offer you can take part in a free guided walking tour. These tours are conducted daily at 10.30am.
ART GALLERY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Just a short walk from the Botanic Gardens you will find the Art Gallery of South Australia. Located on North Terrace, it is an impressive building from the outside, with large sandstone columns forming an entry way. The gallery houses around 45,000 pieces of art. As with all art the idea is that it provokes thought and discussion. There were certainly a number of pieces that did that including two life size headless horses hanging from the ceiling – quite confronting to look at!
But without doubt my favourite piece was ‘A Breakaway’ painted in 1891 by Tom Roberts. Such an iconic depiction of Australian rural life.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM
The South Australian Museum is located between the Art Gallery and State Library. With five floors of exhibits, there is lots to see. There is a particularly strong focus on Australian Aboriginal Cultures. A unique exhibit focus’ on Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson, with a scale miniature of his hut. Other items relating to Mawson and his expedition are also on display.
There is also a comprehensive display of Minerals and Meteorite pieces from around Australia and the world. The Museum is well set out and entry is free, with the exception of any special exhibitions.
STATE LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA – MORTLOCK WING
Voted one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, the Mortlock Wing was opened in 1884 as a public library, museum and art gallery. Covering three floors, entering this library is like stepping back in time. There are wall to wall books, muted lighting and that quiet atmosphere that can only be found in a library. I could have spent hours browsing through the collection of books. It really is quite something to see.
THE TORRENS RIVER
Running through the centre of Adelaide is the beautiful Torrens River and it was just a short walk from our Hotel. There is a pedestrian footbridge that takes you straight over the river to Adelaide Oval. Guided tours of the Oval are available or if you’re game you can book a roof climb! If neither of those things appeal to you you can wander through the Sir Donald Bradman Collection. A very interesting look at cricket in days gone by.
There are walking and cycling tracks all along the edges of the Torrens River and there are also a couple of bars and eating spots as well. If you’re feeling energetic you could also hire a pedal boat. We saw loads of kids having an awesome time on these.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at the Ibis Styles on North Terrace which is right in the CBD. Our room was compact but clean and functional and the price was right! $234.00 for 3 nights. The cheapest I found when booking. We did have an issue when water started leaking from the shower in the bathroom above ours. It was 10.30pm but I contacted reception and they sent someone straight up and shortly after we were relocated to the room next door which was actually larger so I was happy with their prompt attention.
We absolutely loved Adelaide and know that we only skimmed the surface of what this lovely city has to offer. There are so many wonderful old buildings to check out or if you fancy a spot of shopping Rundle Mall is great. Perhaps the best thing is that by our standards, it’s not busy or crowded. Even in ‘peak hour’ the traffic flowed and we never had to stand on the tram. We will most definitely be back for a longer stay in the near future.