Before I set foot in Adelaide, several people wished me luck with my visit. “There’s nothing to do there,” they explained. “Hope you don’t get too bored. Wait, what — you’re there for two weeks?! Oh boy are you in trouble.”
So with those words of encouragement fresh in my mind, I wondered what *would* I do in Adelaide. After all, I’d only read a little about the city and hadn’t found much through my own research (that didn’t involve actually leaving the city on a day trip, that is).
Thankfully the slower pace of Adelaide came at a perfect time for me, as you’ll see below. And much to my surprise, I’m now quite smitten with Radelaide ♥
I’ve seen “Radelaide” used in two ways — by people who are from the area and LOVE it *and* by people who think it’s boring and use the term sarcastically.
So what’s on in Radelaide?
Take a day tour of the Barossa Valley wine region
There are a handful of tour providers out there, and based on word-of-mouth from a roommate, I went with Groovy Grape’s $80 trip. We visited the world’s largest rocking horse and the Whispering Wall (where there have been many a marriage proposal — not surprising!) before heading to Jacob’s Creek, Simpatico Wines (boutique winery), Richmond Grove and Settpetsfield (specializes in ports). Each of the wineries provided a structured tasting, meaning they had selected which wines we would taste instead of us selecting ones we wanted to try from a list. I usually don’t care for reds in the least, but I enjoyed the shiraz if it was offered — glad I tried something new! Also new on the list — I had kangaroo (‘roo) for the first time at lunch! Our meal was included in the price of the tour (thank goodness), and the roo came with cranberry and red wine sauce and tasted just like steak to me — not gamey at all, which surprised me. I also had some nice roasted vegetables and the best chips I’ve had all trip. Yum! And of course, no day would be complete without chocolate…I picked up a piece (or two…or more…) at the chocolate shop at Seppetsfield.
The tour was a nice way to spend a day out of the city, but I would value it at $60-65 instead of $79.
South Australian Museum
Few things sound as nice to a traveler’s ears as FREE. So while museums aren’t my cup of tea, I figured the SA Museum would capture my attention for a couple of hours without costing a cent. I found myself less than enthralled so I paid $5 to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year special exhibit. It was worth every cent! The images were stunning, and I was tempted to spend $60 on the book with all of the images — thankfully I didn’t indulge in that! The exhibit has since moved on to a new location. You can find the books/portfolios from year’s past on Amazon.com!
Run, bike, walk along the river
Every other day I’ve jogged along the River Torrens and fellow joggers, along with cyclists and walkers, have joined me. It’s safe, the views are pretty, and the circuit is managable.
Explore the green spaces that surround the city
*Happy sigh* Have I mentioned my love of green spaces in cities? Only countless times? Okay, well while it goes without saying, it’s worth another mention. While many say Adelaide is boring (fellow travelers, Aussies, people on Twitter), I’ve found it to be the city that feels most intimate, relaxed, and peaceful. I *love* how it’s surrounded on all sides by parks and gardens. One person said it actually keeps people out of the city, as it serves as a barrier. I don’t quite understand that logic.
Take the tram to Glenelg
Glenelg wasn’t on my list of places to see, but after a local suggested it and my roommate added it to his to-do list, I happily hopped on a tram (only $2.70!) to go to the beach. Keep in mind it’s winter. It was cloudy and windy, but Glenelg smelled *just* like the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which is a home away from home. Kamal and I met a man fishing on the pier from Queensland, and when he learned I was a Maroons fan, it was “mate this ” and “mate that” as he chatted away. My first time being called mate (aside from Tweets from Chris, the Aussie Nomad).
Things I didn’t do but worth a mention
See what’s on at the Adelaide Festival Centre. I should have remembered from the license plates that South Australia is “The Festival State” and looked into opportunities sooner. Dan and Tim flew from Melbourne to attend an event at the Cabaret Festival, and sadly tickets were sold out before I could purchase one. There are plenty of cool festivals in the coming months, so maybe I’ll make a return trip!
Anyone from Oz or who has visited South Australia is probably wondering why Kangaroo Island isn’t on the list above. Some folks told me it was an absolute must while others suggested I save my money for the Whitsundays. In the end, I found myself in Adelaide needing time to sleep, walk around the city, eat healthy food, and just take it slow — both in pace and on the budget. Kangaroo Island is highly worth a visit I’m sure, but I wasn’t ready to part with the money necessary to see it properly. Maybe I’ll go later this year. If not, I’ve seen Aussie wildlife *in the wild* already and tons of pretty natural formations. And there is more to come in Queensland.
Surprise, I love chocolate! So why didn’t I take part in the FREE Haigh’s Chocolate Factory tour? Apparently it only lasts for 20 minutes but you get a free coffee or tea and a chocolate at the end. I simply decided to enjoy a Lindt square (or two or…) in my room and skip going all the way out there for such a short tour.
Just last night I learned that Coopers has a brewery tour just a tram or bus ride away. Sadly, they’re all booked up til next week and I’ll be in the Northern Territory by then!
Several people have suggsted a trip to the Adelaide Zoo because they have pandas. They are super proud of them! Maybe it’s because I’ve been to zoos and seen a variety of animals before, but I didn’t have it on my list.
Sleep, eat, walk, repeat
I don’t want to waste precious time, but I adopted a “I’m here for a year so I don’t need to rush” mindset and took things slow — really slow — in my two weeks in Adelaide. After having groceries stolen from me twice, meeting a really rude restaurant manager, and getting quite emotional at the 1-month-on-the-road mark, I needed to just rest, relax, and reflect. I’m here for two more days before heading out on a 6-day trip to the outback, and after an additional challenge I encountered today, I’ll need that time to address the problem and refocus.
In the end, Adelaide has earned two enthusiastic thumbs up from me as a place I could actually live. Adelaide is indeed Radelaide.