Adelaide is the 5th largest city in Australia and that means that there is plenty to see and do in the city and the more rural surrounds too. Adelaide is in a geographically unique position, which means an immense amount of diversity for travelers to the city. Adelaide is a plain surrounded by the Mount Lofty Ranges. However, it is still close enough to the coast to give visitors an excellent choice of beaches along the St. Vincent Gulf and then there is the the Fleurieu Peninsula to the south of the city. Vacationers can choose from city life activities, mountain hiking, wine country tours, or beach adventures.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Getting to Adelaide
Photo Credit: Google Maps
Since Adelaide is a large city, it is easy to get to via plane, boat, or car. Adelaide is located in the southeast corner of Southern Australia close to the border of Victoria. You can hire a car in 3 different locations in Adelaide: the Adelaide Airport, Adelaide City, or Adelaide City North at Salisbury. When you see the vast amount of different things to do here, you will definitely want to have your own vehicle to get around in at your own pace.
Adelaide’s 3 different car rental locations with Budget.com.au
Things to do in Adelaide and Surrounds
Adelaide does not disappoint when it comes to variety. From mountain climbing to wine country, to city life, to beach and ocean, this is a city that truly has something for everyone. From shopping at malls to outdoor markets, there are plenty of shopping opportunities. Art galleries and museums make great city stops in between shopping, wining, and dining. Then there are the beaches of Adelaide and ocean adventures that await you in the Gulf of St. Vincent including water sports, deep sea fishing, caged shark diving, and swimming with the dolphins. Here are some specific things you can plan to do while in Adelaide:
Barossa Valley Vineyards Photo Credit: www.waytoaustralia.com.au
We already told you all about visiting wine country in Barossa Valley, home to one of the oldest vineyards in Australia and win & foodie traveler’s paradise, well known for its Shiraz wine. Barossa Valley is large enough for an excursion for a few days, or you can catch the highlights in a day trip.
Kangaroo Island Photo Credit: GlobeRove.com
We also previously wrote about Kangaroo Island on our Budget Travel Blog. It is just off the coast of Adelaide and is another destination that you can see highlights during a day trip or spend a few days exploring the beautiful island. There are opportunities for ocean and beach activities, farm fresh food excursions, wildlife viewing, and rock climbing too.
Mt. Lofty Ranges
Mt. Barker Summit Photo Credit: Adelaidehills.org
The Mt. Lofty Ranges tourism area is called the Adelaide Hills. It is another destination that you can visit for a day to see a few highlights or spend a whole week in the low lying mountains to the east of Adelaide. The area is rich in aboriginal culture, but also features plenty of modern cultural attractions, climbing and walking tours, and other attractions for families or tourists of any age. Here are just a few of the many things to do in the Adelaide Hills:
- Historic Hahndorf’s Main Street: Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement.
- The Cedars: former home and art studio of Hans Heysen
- Hahndorf Farm Barn: family owned children’s farmyard animal nursery and wild life park.
- Mt. Barker Summit: open during the day for climbers looking for an inspirational view.
- Laratinga Wetlands: for walking trails, bird watching, and picnicking.
- Cleland Wild Life Park: Hug a koala, feed a kangaroo and visit with 130 other Australian wild life species.
Murray River Cruise
Murray River Riverboat Cruise Photo Credit: ExperienceOz.com.au
The Murray River runs through Adelaide and is the longest river in Australia. This day long, relaxing cruise lets you explore Australia’s native wildlife and sea life without getting wet. Keep on the lookout for native fish, turtles, crayfish, and the iconic Australian platypus, which make the Murray River their home. Lunch is served on board the beautiful paddle boat. Other highlights you will see along the cruise include the Angus and Torrens Valleys, Walker Flat and the scenic lookout at Mannum.
Giant Panda Photo Credit: AdelaideSightseeing.com.au
The Adelaide Zoo’s main attractions are the two giant panda residents of the zoo. They are the only pandas in the Southern Hemisphere. The zoo has plenty other animals to get to know and see up close including red pandas, lions, tigers, penguins, giraffes, koalas, Orangutans, sea lions, and many more. Learn about the animals with zoo keeper presentations, feedings, and talks. Get educated about conservation and ways that you can help the animals.
Morialta Conservation Park
Morialta Conservation Park Photo Credit: WIkipedia
Morialta Conservation Park is located about 10 km northeast of Adelaide. It is hard to believe that this remote land filled with waterfalls, gorges, mountains, and caves is that close to the hustle and bustle of the city. A trip to this park really helps you get in touch with nature. Activities within the park include dog walks, walking trails, rock climbing, and picnicking facilities. The park also has rock pools and creeks that are great places to spot reptiles, frogs, and to bird watch.
Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute
Tandanya Photo Credit: SouthAustralia.com
Part of exploring the regions of Australia and getting to know the area should include getting to know about the aboriginal culture of the area. The history of the original peoples of Australia is so well preserved in each culture. This cultural institute is filled with art exhibits that give you a visual look into the amazing “diversity, resilience, wisdom, and creativity of the world’s oldest culture”, as explained by SouthAustralia.com. In addition to the various styles, genres, and techniques you can see in the art work, you can also schedule a presentation or witness a special ceremony while there.
Snorkeling in Edithburgh
Sea Creatures of Edithburgh Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Edithburgh is in the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide and is one of the most well-known snorkeling spots in the region. A variety of unique sea creatures are regularly spotted by divers exploring the Edithburgh Jetty. Besides the appeal of being able to spot some of Australia’s most iconic marine creatures including the Pyjama Squid and the Leafy Sea Dragon, many divers love to be able to snorkel this area because of the safety of the protected waters and proximity to the shoreline.