24 Hours In Adelaide

Posted by Stephanie Mikkelsen on Friday, December 22, 2017

When you think of Adelaide, what comes to mind? Churches? The Barossa Valley? What about a burgeoning restaurant and bar scene, renowned museums and a festival calendar that will banish dull Saturday nights? We’re calling it: Adelaide could just be one of Australia’s most underrated capital cities. The cafes are arguably more hipster than those you'll find in Melbourne, and the gourmet dining is the cause of much nation-wide envy – which other states have such a dense concentration of critically acclaimed locally produced wine and food? Hint: none. That’s exactly why it should warrant a mention on your must-visit list.

But if the thought of world-class eats and beautiful beaches isn’t enough to tempt you, we’ve pulled together an itinerary for how you could spend your first 24 hours in Adelaide. Too easy.


Getting There

Touched down in Adelaide Airport? Those who want to make a beeline for the CBD can jump on the JetExpress, a double decker bus service that runs between the airport and city. Head for Glenelg or West Beach by hopping aboard a convenient JetBus service. Both services are operated by Adelaide Metro. You can buy a Metroticket from the bus driver, but if you’re planning on making the most of Adelaide’s public transport during your stay opt for an Adelaide Metro Visitor Pass. The pass is $27 and will give you three consecutive days of unlimited travel on all buses, trains, and trams. Those keen to have their own set of wheels for their trip are taken care of too, thanks to the airport’s car rental desks.


In 24 Hours

Tuck-in | 7:30am

Rise and shine! We know it’s early, but the promise of fresh espresso and breakfast favourites is definitely worth getting out of bed for. You’ll find La Moka on buzzy Peel Street. This café is the brainchild of Manuel Francesconi and a hotspot on the breakfast scene; it also doubles as a wine bar once the sun goes down. If your accommodation is in the CBD, the café is within easy walking distance. Those further out can catch a tram or bus.


Morning wander | 8:00am

Make your way back into the city centre and head towards River Torrens for a morning stroll along the riverbanks. Those with a penchant for AFL can check out the magnificent Adelaide Oval, too (the season kicks off at the end of March). Work your way back to North Terrace and head towards the East End around Rundle Street. If you’re feeling adventurous, seek out Ebenezer Place. Located just off Rundle Street, you’ll find a laneway brimming with boutiques, wine cellars and food stalls.


Beautiful Accommodation 24 Hours In Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide Central Market, Facebook.

Foodie fancy | 10:30am

Is that your stomach we heard growling? Must be time for a mid-morning snack. Make for Central Market, the foodie hub of Adelaide. Situated on the same lot that it was founded on in 1869, there are more than 80 traders under the market roof and they offer a range of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, baked treats, health food and small goods. You’ll also find some of Adelaide’s most highly rated cafes and restaurants tucked here and there. Don’t eat too much though, because you’ll want to save your appetite.


Road trip | 11:30am

Jump in the car and head to McLaren Vale. Take the Express Way – though be wary of delays – and you should arrive in this world-famous region in less than an hour. Be sure to stop off along the way for a detour to Moana Beach. This stretch of sand is a beach less trodden than its Henley or Glenelg counterparts, and you have the chance to take a refreshing dip if it’s hot. When you’ve had your fill of sand and surf, head back out onto the open road.

d'arenberg winery McLaren Vale

Image: d'arenberg Winery Facebook.

Bottom's up | 1:30pm

Indulge with a wine-tasting session and late lunch at one of McLaren Vale’s famous wineries. Alpha Box & Dice is a favourite with the trendsetters, but d’Arenberg has a café, a formal restaurant area (be sure to book in advance), and a huge rubix cube-styled complex that houses a contemporary wine museum, a kitchen used for cooking classes, and a dining room for Chef’s Table functions.


On the road again | 3:30pm

It’s time to tear yourself away from those cellar doors, load your newly acquired purchases into the boot of your car and head back to Adelaide. Follow the way you came and you’ll be back within an hour.


Pre-show refreshment | 4:30pm

You’ll need a well-deserved tipple after the drive, and Adelaide has an up-and-coming bar scene that’s ready and waiting. The Botanic Bar is an old favourite with locals and considered an Adelaide institution, while Gallery on Waymouth is an established rooftop bar overlooking Waymouth Street that’s popular with the after-work crowd. 2KW is another rooftop watering hole, with views over the private gardens of government house. If it’s a restorative glass of vino you seek, head to sophisticated wine bar Cantina Sociale.


A bite to eat | 6pm

If only the best will do, make sure to book in advance for a tasting experience at Orana; named in 2017 as Gourmet Traveller's Restaurant of the Year. Press Food and Wine is also worth a stop, with a menu that reflects the contemporary and industrial walk-in space downstairs, or reserve a spot in the sleek loft-space for a memorable group dinner. For a true taste of South Australia's renowned wine prowess, book a table at Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, fringing the edge of the Adelaide foothills.

Restaurant Orana

Image: Restaurant Orana Facebook.


A splash of culture | 7:30pm

Adelaide’s Festival Centre precinct is home to world-class performance companies, including the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Opera of South Australia and Australian Dance Theatre. You won’t have to look far to find an event that takes your fancy, whether it’s musical theatre, a dance performance, live show or classical music. It’s a wise idea to check out the Centre’s season calendar to see what will be playing during your visit, to book tickets, and to scour the possible discounts available.


Last call | 10:00pm

Wind down your evening with a soothing nightcap. Bank Street Social is an underground bar close to the Festival Centre precinct, with a strong focus on South Australian craft beer and cider. Closer to Central Market is Mrs. Q, a mod-Asian kitchen and bar located on Gouger Street. Always a favourite, however, is Rundle Street; packed with bars of all kinds, this street will surely offer a place that tickles you fancy – whether that be the elegant Iberia Bar or the rustic Mother Vine. Those of you rowdy enough to carry on into the wee hours should head to Peel Street for buzzy cocktail bars and packed pubs.


Where to Stay

Hackney Stables

The Hackney Stables, provided.

In the heart of it all: Halifax House

Notorious north side: The Watson

A step into nature: The Hackney Stables