7 Reasons why it’s Radelaide

December 11, 2011 in Australia,Places,South Australia

Adelaide, the glorious little capital of South Australia, is constantly overshadowed by its bigger, better counterparts. Sydney with its beaches, Melbourne with its culture, Perth with its sunsets.

Christine Amorose at Henley Beach, Adelaide, South Australia

But this “big country town” is a bit underrated, if not off the radar of most travelers. A popular jumping off point for overland trips to Perth or Alice Springs or for wine tours of the Barossa or Clare Valleys, there’s a reason why it’s been nicknamed Radelaide—and why it’s worth a stay of its own.

A place to lay your head: The Adelaide Central YHA is, quite simply, the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in. The basics: it’s incredibly clean, has 24-hour reception, is located an easy walk from the CBD and the bus station. There are the amenities that go above and beyond: in-room hair dryers, six fully-stocked kitchen work stations, free DVD rentals, in-room lockers (although you must provide your own lock), free linen and towels. But then there is the personal touch: a 8×11 map of the city with city FAQs on the back, a book in each room that contains the perfect week’s itinerary in Adelaide by each of the hostel workers, an elevator wallpapered in a map of Adelaide and funny photos of Movember participants.

Bike South Australia at Henley Beach, Adelaide, Australia

Get around this city with your own two feet: Bicycle South Australia gives out free, day-long bike rentals. Simply rock up with your drivers’ license or passport and hand it over in exchange for a cruiser, helmet and lock until 4:30 p.m. They’ve got maps marked with cycle-friendly routes, and can point you in the direction of a riverfront bike path or straight west to the beach.

A sandy escape: The beachy suburb of Glenelg is easily accessible by tram, bus or bike. You’ll be greeted with a boutique-filled main street that leads straight into the bay, a beachfront waterslide complex and Ferris wheel, an evergreen-lined esplanade along the waves. Café Zest is a perfect al fresco choice for breakfast or lunch, which are both served all day (Hell’s Eggs are a spicy kick of deliciousness).

Horses along the river Torrens bike trail in Adelaide, Australia

Bike straight to the beach: The 15-kilometer path curves along the Torrens River, carrying you from the center of the city to the calm azure waters. There’s plenty of shade and songbirds, picnic tables and push-up centers—and within a kilometer of the beach, you’ll stumble across horses grazing next to the river. It doesn’t get more country capital than that.

Stock up at Central Market: Situated right next to Adelaide’s buzzing Chinatown, the Central Market is a mix of fruit and veg stands, butchers and fishmongers, bakers and coffee sellers.

Malls balls, Rundle Ball, Adelaide, Australia

Are those balls in the mall?: The silver sculptures known as “mall’s balls” are one of a few funny and engaging public art installations in Rundle Mall; one of the other favorites is a trio of bronze life-size pigs sniffing at trashcans. It’s nice to see a city with a vibrant sense of humor.

Bicycle street art in Adelaide, South Australia

The people are rad: Stopped at a crossroads on a bike path and staring intently at a map trying to determine if a shortcut was possible, a fellow cyclist halted to see if I was lost or if she could point me in the right direction. The postman strikes up a chat about where I’m sending my Christmas cards after I buy international stamps (on another note, the Australian Post gives a Christmas stamp discount. The American Post Office just raised fees AGAIN. Guess which one I prefer?)

It’s then that I realize that there’s a reason why Adelaide is known as more of a country town than a cosmopolitan capital: there’s still a sense of small-town kindness here. Experiencing that in itself is worth the trip.

Note: The Adelaide Central YHA graciously offered me a free stay, but all opinions are my own.

  • We have Adelaide on our list of places to stay! Looking forward to the country feel, the friendly people, and trying the bike ride – looks magical!
    Cheers
    Lisa

  • According to those from big cities like Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide is a great place to go – for lunch!  I love how you’ve shown its true colours – and character!

  • It looks beautiful! I think my uncle goes to Adelaide a lot for work (he lives in Perth), and I remember him saying he really likes it there too.

  • Looks amazing, love the colors on the first photo 🙂

  • Is there any good surfing there?

  • How did I not know that the water looked like that in Adelaide?! It’s GORGEOUS!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I went to Adelaide once with my dad and fell in love with it. It feels like a smaller version of Melbourne but has a completely different culture, and is so close to many cool places. I want to go back 🙂

  • This place looks extremely gorgeous, i loved those pictures a lot. Want to visit this magical place as soon as possible. Thanks..!!

  • Gorgeous pics doll!  I wish it hadn’t rained the entire time I was there.  Will definitely check it out again sometime.

  • CarolynB

    Great post! I loved Adelaide too (though Sydney has my heart), especially or mostly for the WINE regions that abound there. My favourite = McLaren Vale. Love it, love it, love it. And there’s a terrific little Aussie wine museum in Adelaide – so worth a stop for anyone interested in wine and Aussie wines.

    Cheers.

  • Loooove this… I think I might have to go there next time I need a getaway! You had me sold at the YHA and the free bike rentals!
    And wowsa, those beaches!

  • I was only in town 2 days in between tours and I wish I had stayed longer, I loved it!

  • Anonymous

    Definitely worth checking out–I wish I would have had more time there!

  • Anonymous

    I love Sydney and Melbourne too, but Adelaide was definitely something special! Really enjoyed my time there.

  • Anonymous

    Will be heading out to Perth soon–will have to see how it compares 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thanks–it was gorgeous!

  • Anonymous

    Not within the city limits, but I think there are a few good spots a bit south!

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t it beautiful?! No waves like Sydney, but perfect for someone like me who just prefers to lie on the sand and gaze at the water 🙂

  • Anonymous

    So many neat places to explore in and around Adelaide–would love to go back again! (Although, Melbourne will always be my fave!)

  • Anonymous

    Worth checking out!

  • Anonymous

    Yessss definitely better in the sun! Not sure what I would have done in the rain…

  • Anonymous

    Would love to check out the Clare Valley push bike tour–and now, the McLaren Vale! So many wines to taste in South Australia!

  • Anonymous

    Always cheap flights on Jetstar–would be a super fun little weekend away!

  • Anonymous

    Definitely hoping to get back–need to explore all the wine regions!

  • Anonymous

    You sold me, I would go! Love that you can get free bikes for the day too! 

  • Anonymous

    Yay! If you make it to Australia, I expect you to squeeze in an Adelaide visit 🙂

  • Rd2131

    We’re moving to Adelaide in a few years time. It’s beautiful. Went for a month in May and absolutely loved it. 

  • Anonymous

    Lucky you! Fabulous city, sure you’ll enjoy it. You’ll have to do the pushbike Riesling tour–something I wish I had more time to try!

  • People stopped you to see if you were lost??? Sounds like Canada 🙂

  • camorose

    Haha must be the same in small towns everywhere!

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  • “Bike straight to the beach” – looks like that trip is worth it on its own – beautiful!

  • camorose

    It totally is! The free bike ride along the beach was definitely the highlight of my trip.

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