Flights to Adelaide: Australia’s wine country capital
Uncork Adelaide's cocktail of festivals and events and sip the good life in this compact wine capital on meandering River Torrens. Surveyor-general Colonel Light threw in bucket-loads of vision when he planned this graceful city of tree-lined boulevards and elegant squares, all wrapped up in a parcel of green parklands. A babe in arms founded in 1836, Australia's premier festival city is a conjurer’s trick, where country town meets the big smoke.
Only Edinburgh's Fringe fest outguns Adelaide's annual music and comedy spectacular. And nowhere outshines the world’s largest literary event, Adelaide Writers’ Week. Bring your atlas to world music WOMADelaide when musicians from Auckland to Zagreb take centre stage. National dance companies tutu onto summertime flights to Adelaide to salsa up a storm at the biennial Festival of Arts.
Eat and drink
Swap recipes with Australia’s favourite cookbook writer, Maggie Beer, at her gourmet farm shop on the Barossa Valley food and wine trail. Can’t tell your Coonawarra cabernet from your McLaren Vale shiraz? Take a city wine tour and get in touch with your inner wine buff. Then follow scents of coriander and ginger to Gouger Street cafes, where your Adelaide holiday cooks up a multicultural feast of French-Vietnamese beef noodle soup and Korean-style barbecued pork.
Back to nature
Adelaide wears a bushy green belt of 29 encircling parklands, crisscrossed by riverfront walking trails and dotted with gumtree-shaded picnic areas. Cycle the gently undulating rail trail past gingerbread-cute German villages in the Adelaide Hills, or ride the ferry to Kangaroo Island to meet Aussie marsupials like cute koalas and southern brown bandicoots. The waves here suit beginners and experts, so bring your board to this wilderness retreat, right on Adelaide’s doorstep.
Where? This southern Australia coastal city is out on its own; 700km west of Melbourne and a mere 2,700km across the desert from Perth.
Population: Adelaide is one of Australia’s smaller state capitals, with 1.2 million people calling the city home.
Key dates: The city's elegant grid of squares and parklands, planned by landscaping visionary Colonel William Light, has hardly changed since it was laid out in 1837.
Getting about: Compact Adelaide isn't known as the ‘20-minute city’ for nothing – you can ride the tram from central Victoria Square to the beach at Glenelg in just 20 minutes.
Our favourite Adelaide accommodation includes a former fire station (complete with shiny red fire engine and fireman's pole), and the elegant former residence of a bishop called Nutter Thomas. Meanwhile, rooms the size of your average house rule at plush Medina Grand.
Local oysters and beef top the menu at heritage restaurants like the Wellington. Get seriously fusion at Jolleys Boathouse Restaurant and even more seriously Japanese over sashimi at authentic Matsuri.
Shopping in Adelaide
Gemstones from the desert dazzle at Adorn Jewels and would-be jackaroos get kitted out by bush outfitter R M Williams. Ask chefs at the Central Market about heirloom apples and bag organic lamb direct from source. The farmers that is, not the sheep.
Adelaide has outgrown its City of Churches tag. Our night-owls’ guide keeps you laughing till late with stand-up comedy, wets your whistle at the art deco Archer and sends you to the smoky blue underground at 50s-chic cocktail lounge Fumo Blu.
Scholarly types soak up art, history and poignant migration stories at the city’s finest galleries and museums. Need some light relief? Delve into wine-tasting secrets at the flashy new wine centre, or photosynthesise to your heart's content in the colourful Botanic Gardens.