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The Top Things to do in Adelaide

Explore South Australia’s capital city with all the top things to do in top things to do in Adelaide available online here. Those looking for an unforgettable animal encounter will enjoy a day at Adelaide Zoo or Monarto Safari Park, while a swim with dolphins is a once in a lifetime experience you’ll never forget. Blessed with pristine shores and award-winning wineries on its doorstep, a Barossa Valley Food and Wine Tour or a Kangaroo Island day trip from Adelaide is the perfect addition to any itinerary. If you are looking for the best places to visit in Adelaide, you’ve come to the right place with all Adelaide attractions, tours, cruises and Barossa Valley winery tours available to book in one convenient spot.

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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 the South Australian city that is continually gaining an increasing level of exposure on the international stage. Far from its moniker as the city of churches, Adelaide is the gourmet food and wine hub of Australia and the place to visit for an extraordinary epicurean adventure.

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, there still offers a wide range of things to do in Adelaide, particularly if you're the type who's not particularly interested in the more adrenaline-focused actvities.

Blessed with pristine shores, rolling hills and world-famous wine regions, Adelaide is a great place to visit regardless of your desire for an adults-only weekend away or a family adventure. Visitors are spoilt for choice with an array of Adelaide attractions to explore including Adelaide Zoo or an exciting Adelaide Oval climb at the hallowed sports grounds.

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. Kangaroo Island is a haven for wildlife and one of Australia’s best eco-resorts while the Barossa Valley and McLaren produce some of the world’s best wines and their cellar doors situated on the doorstep of the city and are open for cheese and wine tasting day tours from Adelaide.

But with limited time for a visit, what are the best things to do in Adelaide and its nearby regions? We take a detailed look at the places you should visit in Adelaide and surrounds here.

The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - See the Pandas at Adelaide Zoo

1. See the Pandas at 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.

Adelaide is the only destination in the country where you’re able to get up close with these cute and playful “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 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 - 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.

Perched high above the green, this two-hour RoofClimb experience will take you beyond the grandstands to marvel at the impressive views of Adelaide Oval and the city surrounds during the day, twilight or night.

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 - Swim with Dolphins with Temptation Sailing

3. 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 crystal clear waters offshore in Glenelg are rich in marine life and guided tours with Temptation Sailing can see you enjoying a once in a lifetime encounter swimming with dolphins.

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 - Tour Hahndorf

4. Tour 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 is the oldest surviving German settlement with tree-lined streetscapes, German pubs, cuckoo clocks, cellar doors, distilleries and artisan food producers. It's a little corner of Europe right here in Adelaide.

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 - Day Trip to the Barossa Valley

5. 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.

The Barossa Valley is home to over 80 cellar doors that have thrown their doors open to the public. 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 - Murray River Lunch Cruise

6. Murray River Lunch Cruise

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Enjoy a buffet lunch as you travel down Australia’s most iconic waterway during a Murray River cruise. Learn about the unique river system while observing the rugged landscapes and spectacular cliffs that pass by.
The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Adelaide Gaol Ghost Tour

7. Adelaide Gaol Ghost Tour

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Unearth some of Adelaide’s deepest, darkest secrets on an eerie Adelaide Gaol Ghost tour. Enter the cells of the most notorious criminals and walk through the 147-year-old premises in search of the unsettled spirits that remain here.
The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Wine Tasting at Penfold Magill Estate

8. Wine Tasting at Penfold Magill Estate

Location: 78 Penfolds Rd, Magill, South Australia

Australia’s prestigious wine label, Penfolds opens its doors to the public for a behind the scenes winery tour and tasting at the Magill Estate in Adelaide. Walk in the footsteps of wine legends and sip to your heart’s content.
The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - MEGA Adventure Park

9. MEGA Adventure Park

Location: 4 Hamra Ave, West Beach South Australia

If the kids are climbing the walls, then take them to the MEGA Adventure Park where they can climb the giant sky MEGO Climb structure instead. The multi-level obstacle course has over 70 challenges and a MEGO jump to tackle.
The Top 10 Things to do in Adelaide - Mt Lofty Mountain Bike Tour

10. Mt Lofty Mountain Bike Tour

Location: 22 Willunga St, Eden Hills, South Australia

Combining native Australian bushland, picturesque outlooks and cute and cuddly wildlife, this Mount Lofty Mountain Bike Tour is the best way to see the greater region of Adelaide and it is suitable for beginners.