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The Top Things to do in Adelaide

Top things to do in Adelaide. Visitors to the South Australian city of Adelaide will find a metropolis bursting with culture and flavour, standing proudly as the nation’s unofficial food and wine capital. Gourmet experiences and award-winning cellar doors can be found within minutes of the city in the picturesque Adelaide Hills. Sample delicious local produce and indulge in a wine tasting session overlooking the vineyards on a day tour to the Barossa Valley. Wildlife lovers also don’t have to go too far to enjoy incredible encounters with the animal kingdom on excursions to Kangaroo Island and Monarto Safari Park. Discover a world of wonder in SA’s bustling hub with an extensive range of things to do in Adelaide available online here.

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Kangaroo Island Full Day Experience from Adelaide

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The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide

Adelaide is an Australian capital that is continually gaining an increasing level of exposure on the international stage due to its continued high rankings in multiple "Global Liveability" survey results over the past few years, and it's not hard to see why.

Featuring a charming blend of architectural, historical, cultural and culinary delights and with a strong European influence, Adelaide provides a refreshing change of pace when compared to some of the other, larger capital cities in Australia. While the city is quite laid back, Adelaide still offers a wide range of things to do, particularly if you're the type who's not particularly interested in the more adrenaline-focused side of things.

In addition to the city itself, Adelaide benefits by being surrounded by some of the most intriguing sightseeing destinations in Australia's lower half - the majority of which are reachable within a reasonable distance of the city, making for ideal day trips.

But with limited time for a visit, what are the must-do's in the city and its nearby regions? We take a detailed look at the top 10 things to do in Adelaide and surrounds here.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Victoria Square

1. Victoria Square

Location: Central Adelaide, SA

Victoria Square Adelaide Located smack-bang in the centre of Adelaide, Victoria Square serves as Adelaide's heart and its the site of many special events held in the city throughout the year.

The square's centrepieces - the iconic Victoria Square Fountain and statue of Queen Victoria herself - are instantly identifiable with Adelaide, and the square has seen many significant occurrences take place over the course of the city's multiple-century history.

The iconic Victoria Square Fountain and statue of Queen Victoria herself are instantly identifiable with Adelaide and serves as a central hub for the city.

Recognising the importance of the area to the city, local government recently approved a huge sum of money to go towards redevelopment of Victoria Square, bringing it up to date with more modern facilities and to help reflect Adelaide's growing status as an internationally recognised destination.

Victoria Square serves as Adelaide's heart and is the site of many special events held in the city throughout the year.

Redevelopment of the square was undergone and completed in recent years, and it now includes various new features such as a relocated tram line and extended tram stop, impressive water feature, various garden terraces and perimeter gardens, and have its iconic Three Rivers Fountain (which symbolises the three water sources from which Adelaide draws its supplies) relocated to a different location.

In the mean time, Victoria Square still serves as a great central hub from which to establish your bearings before exploring the rest of the city, particularly for first-timers - and its central location acts as a convenient rendezvous point when looking for a place to meet up with friends or family.

The centre of Adelaide city is full of historical significance and a focal point to many of the sights in Adelaide that should not be missed, with Victoria Square at its epicentre. Add to this the fact that it's easily accessible - both to and from - by public transport, and it's not hard to see why it should be your first port of call upon first arriving in Adelaide.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Do the Adelaide Oval RoofClimb

2. Do the Adelaide Oval RoofClimb

Location: North Adelaide, SA

One of the newest additions to Adelaide's experience scene, visitors can now take part in one of Adelaide's newest signature experiences and climb to the top of the iconic Adelaide Oval with a RoofClimb experience.

Offering the chance to take in impressive views of the famous oval and the surrounding region with a two-hour climb led by an experienced guide, Sports lovers will revel in the chance to rise above and look down on Adelaide Oval, with all members posing for a group photo once at the top.

The option exists to choose from a day climb or twilight climb, each which offers an entirely different perspective not only on the Oval itself, but the surrounds of northern Adelaide as well.

The option exists to choose from a day climb or twilight climb, each which offers an entirely different perspective.

With a day climb, you'll be able to take in views of the oval and its surrounding region in the best light with the bright green oval looking picture-perfect in front of you.

With RoofClimb's Twilight Climb, you'll embark on around a two-hour journey up the outside of the stadium to the highest point before turning to admire the beautiful colours of the sunset.

Providing you with a unique view of the region, the approximate 2-hour climb includes a group photo at the top of the climb, a completion certificate and a souvenir cap to help remember this incredible experience. The climb is suitable for kids over the age of 8 years with those between 8 and 15 years requiring adult supervision during the climb.

Day climbs depart on a daily basis at 10am, 11am and 3pm, while twilight climbs start from 4pm onwards, with all climbers taking time to get kitted up in climb suits and harnesses before the climb begins.

It's the ultimate perspective on one of Australia's most iconic sporting venues, and a worthy contender for one of the city's top things to do.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Adelaide Zoo

2. Adelaide Zoo

Location: Frome Road, Adelaide SA

Perhaps South Australia's most popular wildlife attraction, Adelaide Zoo is relatively small compared to similar wildlife exhibitions in some of Australia's larger cities, however it more than makes up for this by offering a diverse array of animals - the main drawcard of which is, undoubtedly, their Giant Pandas.

In fact, it's the only destination in the country where you're able to get up close with these cute and playful "large teddy bears", so if you've been wanting to see pandas without having to travel overseas, then Adelaide Zoo is an ideal choice.

The zoo also gets extra credit for offering a famously personal touch; the staff there are typically willing to go the extra mile in answering questions and providing additional insight if you ask, and its lush, tropical gardens are meticulously attended to.

The zoo boasts a range of animals that are fairly rare in Aussie zoos, with lions, tigers, macaws and various other exotic species on top of the standard Aussie favourites.

As an added plus, the zoo is also continually being upgraded, which makes for a refreshing change from some of the other wildlife facilities around the country that seem to be content to let them gradually degrade, or at least simply "tread water" while maintaining what they have.

Given its relatively compact size and the ability to get a great view of the vast majority of the animals, Adelaide Zoo makes for a great place to take the kids, and the fact that it's fairly quiet can be a bonus when bringing toddlers or other young ones along for the ride. Add to this the option to visit the animal hospital and talk to one of the vets, and it's a comprehensive zoo experience all situated in a very convenient location.

For the budget-conscious traveller, keep an eye our for the fairly frequent "Adults at Kids Prices" specials which pop up from time to time.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Visit Hahndorf

4. Visit Hahndorf

Location: 30 minutes from Adelaide, SA

Hahndorf serves as an enjoyable microcosm of the strong European influence that can be found in the majority of regions throughout South Australia, and serves as the oldest German settlement in the country. The town features a cavalcade of Euro-centric specialty and craft shops, German-style pubs, and various bakeries that accurately reflect some of the key staples of German culture.

Hahndorf's pleasant location amongst the Adelaide Hills means that it's not just the architecture and shopping that makes it special, either; the city features a relaxed blend of natural greenery that make for a delightful place to simply walk around and unwind.

The town's German culture is readily apparent upon arrival, as a vast number of its main architectural features that were established when the town was first constructed still stand - particularly its iconic Lutheran churches - so if you're looking to get a taste of Europe without leaving Aussie shores, there are few better places to do so.

Hahndorf serves as an enjoyable microcosm of the strong European influence that can be found in the majority of regions throughout South Australia.

Like many of the other popular spots in South Australia, wine is a core focus of Hahndorf, and the town and its surrounds feature a variety of quality boutique wineries (such as Hahndorf Hill, The Cedars and Somerled) that are great for indulging the palate.

Hahndorf can be reached in around half an hour's drive to the south-east of the Adelaide CBD and is also accessible by bus (take Bus #864), making it a very viable destination for a day (or at least half-day) trip.

While it's not big on size (it's basically a charming, single glorified street), Hahndorf is certainly big on character, and if you're looking for things to do during your stay in Adelaide, it should definitely be on your list.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - The Art Gallery of South Australia

5. The Art Gallery of South Australia

Location: North Terrace, Adelaide, SA

For a comprehensive dose of Adelaide-area culture, the excellent Art Gallery of South Australia in the heart of the city more than fits the bill. With more of a cosy, intimate feel than some of the larger and more "clinical" feeling modern buildings that have become synonymous with art galleries, SA's offering features an eclectic mix of both old and new art housed within its older, colonial-style walls.

Many feel that the gallery itself is an accurate reflection of the South Australian people's strong artistic heritage; the region has produced some of Australia's most renowned artists, and the care and variety put into this particular attraction exemplifies that to the fullest.

While the gallery features frequent specialist exhibitions throughout the year which you'll have to pay for, general admission is free and provides you with the chance to encounter enough variety that you can easily avoid paying for the periodic exhibits yet still come away with a satisfying half-day or so worth of artisitic entertainment.

General admission is free and provides you with the chance to encounter enough variety that you can easily avoid paying for the periodic exhibits.

The layout of the Art Gallery of SA is also quite unconventional, with rooms that tend to meander in to one another rather than sticking to a strict path, which somehow gives a more organic and relaxed feel to the proceedings.

Each room has its own theme rather than dividing the paintings and displays up by time period, and the range of displays offer enough variety that there should be something visually appealing enough for everyone.

Lastly, if you're planning to spend a substantial amount of time at the gallery, there is a cafe within that offers enjoyable, properly-prepared food with more of a "restaurant style" vibe as opposed to "cafeteria style", yet it is fairly expensive, with main meals hovering around the $30 mark, so if you're travelling on a budget it may be a good idea to grab yourself something to eat from one of the nearby dining precincts beforehand.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Day Trip to the Barossa Valley

6. Day Trip to the Barossa Valley

Any conversation about the "Best Wine Region in Australia" typically starts and ends with three places - New South Wales' Hunter Valley, Victoria's Yarra Valley, and South Australia's Barossa Valley, with the Barossa outside Adelaide generally considered the unofficial "wine capital" of Australia due to the sheer volume of wine it produces each year.

While it is responsible for the production of all the major types of wines, the Barossa's specialty has always been Shiraz - largely a result of the region's warmer continental climate.

The quality of the Barossa Valley's wines has reached a high enough standard to rank it on the global map and make connoisseurs sit up and take notice, and it's largely because of this region that Australia has a growing reputation as a quality wine producer.

In short, if you've got an affinity for a drop of the red or amber stuff, the Barossa makes for an ideal day trip from Adelaide.

The Barossa Valley can be reached in around an hour's drive from the Adelaide CBD, and once there you'll come across some of the largest winemakers in the country such as Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Peter Lehmann as well as a huge array of smaller, boutique cellar doors.

In short, if you've got an affinity for a drop of the red or amber stuff, the Barossa makes for an ideal day trip from Adelaide - although you'll most likely want to take a winery tour to avoid needing to worry about your alcohol intake in regards to driving back. You can either opt for a guided tour or explore the different wineries yourself, both of which will allow you to some of the best wines in Australia and learn more about how they are made.

Wine isn't the only focus of the Barossa Valley, however; its variety of locally-produce foodstuffs are also a huge drawcard, with some of the best and richest cheeses, dried fruits, fresh meats and pastries (a direct result of the area's strong German heritage) also a must-try for visitors. Generally, if a food comes from the Barossa, you can be assured that it's of an almost universally high quality (although the price may reflect this, too).

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Dine on Gouger Street

7. Dine on Gouger Street

Location: Central Adelaide, SA

Gouger Street is another excellent Adelaide dining precinct featuring a number of popular eateries; however, unlike the aforementioned Jetty Road, it sits almost directly in the heart of Adelaide city, making it one of the most convenient places to access for a quality bite to eat for those visiting Adelaide. If you're welling to take the time, you'll likely discover some of the best restaurants in Adelaide on Gouger Street.

The area is particularly popular for its Asian cuisines - specifically, its range of high-end Chinese restaurants (a result of playing host to Adelaide's Chinatown) - however, there are dining options from the majority of major fares across the globe such as Italian, French, Indian and many more.

The area is particularly popular for its Asian cuisines - specifically, its range of high-end Chinese restaurants.

Some of the top-rated restaurants within this precinct include Concubine Chinese Restaurant, The Thali Room (Indian) and the Loft Oyster and Wine Bar (seafood), to name just a few.

If you're a foodie and wanting a convenient place to encounter a wide variety of options - many of which are within reasonable walking distance of most Adelaide CBD accommodation - your taste buds will definitely be tingling as you walk down this street and experience the mouth-watering aromas drifting your way.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Swim with Dolphins with Temptation Sailing

8. Swim with Dolphins with Temptation Sailing

Location: 10 Holdfast Promenade, Glenelg, SA

The waters off the shore of the Adelaide area's Glenelg are rich in marine life, and while the various fish and birds that populate the waters are nice, the area distinguishes itself in large part due to its resident pods of dolphins and colony of sea lions.

The dolphins in particular are a highlight as these playful, inquisitive creatures will often approach boats and other vessels to play in their wake of their own volition - although, given the fact they they're entirely wild, your mileage may vary on just how friendly they are feeling from day to day.

Guided tours are available with operator Temptation Sailing that will take you out on the water from Glenelg aboard sightseeing catamarans with the main goal of seeing the dolphins up close, with options available to swim outside the boat and hopefully come away with a face-to-fin encounter.

These playful, inquisitive creatures will often approach boats and other vessels to play in their wake of their own volition.

The reassurance of a "dolphin sighting guarantee" is also given so that if - on the rare chance you don't see any - you'll be provided with either a refund or at least, a chance to come back again for free. Non-swimmers and first-timers are also generally welcome, as flotation devices provided ensure you'll be able to hop on the water off the back of the boat without much of a struggle.

Aside from the dolphins, the offshore scenery on offer itself is quite striking; you'll come across some great coastal sights as the rugged and rocky shorelines are lashed by the waves, while the region's sea lion colony can be seen bathing in the sunshine at the aptly-named Seal Bay.

A great dose of wildlife and fresh air, don't discount heading out for a day on the water as a suitably enjoyable alternative for some Adelaide-area fun.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Explore the delights of Jetty Road

9. Explore the delights of Jetty Road

Location: Glenelg, SA

Jetty Road Glenelg Jetty Road in Glenelg serves as the main dining and shopping district in the greater Adelaide area - and what an area it is, with an extensive array of restaurants on offer all within a relaxed, beachside atmosphere. Reachable within just over a 20 minute drive from the Adelaide city centre (dependent on traffic), the large thoroughfare offers the chance to enjoy a quality meal, browse through the shops or simply lounge on the beach and soak up the atmosphere.

From highly regarded pizza joints to reasonably priced bistro dining to a vast assortment of international cuisines such as Chinese, Indian, Greek, Japanese, Mexican and everything in between, Jetty Road serves as the ideal showcase of the various culinary delights offered by the greater Adelaide region as a whole.

Jetty Road has an extensive array of restaurants on offer all within a relaxed, beachside atmosphere.

In addition to dining experiences, Jetty Road's magnificent pier is a focal point of the region and is particularly renowned as a popular viewing location for some of the spectacular sunsets that can be witnessed on a regular basis. Featuring several pleasant grass areas, a charming little beach and plenty of live entertainment and street performers, it's a lively area - particularly during the warmer months of the year.

Regardless of the purpose of your visit, Jetty Road serves as both an ideal starting point for exploring the rest of the popular Glenelg area as well as the perfect place to relax and get into your holiday mode.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Enjoy Haigh's Chocolates

10. Enjoy Haigh's Chocolates

Location: Central Market Adelaide, Adelaide, SA

For those with a sweet tooth, there are few confectionary outlets in Australia that are as famous and widely-regarded as Haigh's Chocolates in the heart of Adelaide city, just south of the CBD. A chocolate lover's dream-come-true, Haigh's Chocolates are arguably some of the best chocolates in Australia, and its main building adds a dose of historic flair to the proceedings with its interesting architectural flair and location at Rundle Mall.

The store/factory hybrid boasts an impressive range of rich & creamy chocolates and other products that will delight those with a love for all things confection. From typical staples such as truffles and chocolate bars to more exotic offerings, the amount of product means that there should be an item of taste for almost everyone.

Haigh's Chocolates are arguably some of the best chocolates in Australia, and its main building adds a dose of historic flair to the proceedings.

Visitors can can tour the chocolate factory free of charge as a guide takes you around and explains what's what for half an hour. After the tour you will definitely want to buy some chocolate, and it's a delicious way to come away with a keepsake from your time visiting this wonderful stop.

Perhaps the only true downside is that Haigh's chocolates can be slightly expensive - expect to pay far more than you would at the average confectionery store - but the quality is so universally high to justify the spend. There's also a rack where the thrifty shopper can buy the misshapen ones for a bargain.