JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH AMELIA FROM ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA !
Amelia is a travel agent, frequent traveller, and mum of two boys. She’s back at uni finishing her psychology degree and between study sessions loves to see the world with her young family. She blogs over at A Winter Escape about traveling with kids – her aim is to encourage as many mums as possible to see the world the way they want to see it, and take the kids along for the ride.
Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. It is also called the opal capital of Australia and its opals are internationally renowned.
Adelaide has Mediterranean climate with warm summers and cool, wet winters. Adelaide has a string of white sandy beaches which stretches along the coast from north to the south.
Adelaide is known for being highly accessible. You can reach any point in the city within a period of 20 minutes. Public transport is of an extremely high standard in this beautiful city.
When is the best time to visit Adelaide?
March without a doubt! Here it’s known as ‘Mad March’ – when the Fringe Festival, Clipsal 500 car race, Womadelaide music festival and the Festivahanl of Arts are happening. Piggybacking on these events are usually a whole host of pop-up bars and foodie meet-ups (like the Long Lunch series or Fork in the Road – a meeting of all the city’s food trucks). It all makes for a really vibrant, interesting scene where there’s something for everyone.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of Adelaide?
For its population size, Adelaide is really spread out. Check out the various transport options in Adelaide here. While we have decent public transport within the city proper, I always recommend hiring a car. The thing about Adelaide too is that it’s a real food and wine destination, which means a lot of the great activities are in the hills or down the coast rather than just in the CBD. In the city itself, parking is not a huge issue like it would be in bigger metropolises so I think the freedom of your own car is the way to go.
What are the top three must visit places in Adelaide?
To get a real feel for Adelaide the three most popular places would be the city, Glenelg, and a wine region. If you were here for a weekender, here’s what I would recommend:
Friday night: Head to Chinatown for dinner. You can go traditional Chinese, branch out a little with Malaysian or Thai or even Korean BBQ, or if you want something delicious but don’t care about sticking with Asian cuisines try my personal favourite, Mexican Society. Oh. My. God! It is good (get the banquet so you can try everything). Then if you want to you can head to one of the bars or karaoke, or head back to your hotel to rest up for the next day.
Saturday: Take a tour of one of the wine regions. McLaren Vale, on the South Coast, or the Adelaide Hills to the East, are closest and have stunning views. If you’re all about hip, cool little places, McLaren Vale is the one you want.
The Barossa Valley up North is the biggest region but is a bit further away. It depends on your style: if you want to learn about heritage wineries, go Barossa. Barossa Valley is one of the most sophisticated, elegant, and top-notch wine paradises in Australia. To learn more about Barossa check out this guide by TravelTriangle to learn more.
If you’re super sophisticated and refined, the Adelaide Hills will be perfect. All spots have great wineries that will put on a gorgeous lunch full of our local produce, but you can also try restaurants, breweries, or pubs too. We like our alcohol here. For more things to do in Adelaide Hills, click here.
On Saturday night if you’re not too tired from wine-tasting all day, try a restaurant in Peel Street or Leigh Street. These little alleyways just off Hindley Street have some of the city’s best restaurants, and once you’ve finished dinner you’re in Adelaide’s biggest (though definitely not classiest) nightlife district. If you need something more low-key, O’Connell Street in North Adelaide has a huge selection of delicious restaurants with some great low-key bars and pubs for after-dinner drinks.
On Sunday, eat your hangover away with brunch down at Glenelg. If it’s warm, a dip in the sea will freshen you up a bit. The tram to Glenelg leaves from Victoria Square, so when you’re done you’ll end up back in the city right next to food-truck-central and Chinatown.
What is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Adelaide?
Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year, followed by New Year. A huge Christmas tree with lights is erected in Victoria Square every year, and there are Carols by Candlelight concerts all over the city. There’s also a huge pageant in the city and most local councils have their own pageant too. For New Years, all down the coast you’ll find fireworks displays.
South Australia is known as “the Festival State” and Adelaide is its capital city. We like a party and will find any excuse. Other States like to make fun of us because we don’t have a lot going on and I often laugh when I hear this and think, “have you ever even been here?” Spoiler alert: most haven’t, that joke is low-hanging fruit. Which is fine because we hate party-poopers anyway!
Which is the most happening area in Adelaide?
In the daytime, Rundle Mall and Rundle Street will have the biggest buzz. In the warmer months the Riverbank comes alive with day bars and even a little beach!
The beachside areas of Glenelg, Henley Square, Semaphore and Brighton also have great scenes. Glenelg and Henley in particular also have great nightlife; last Summer there was a beach club set up on Glenelg Beach and I think it’ll be happening this Summer too.
Chinatown is great on a Friday and Saturday night: sit down for a feast, hit a bar for a few drinks, then head to a karaoke bar for a whole bunch of fun.
Where can one find amazing street food in Adelaide?
Street food isn’t a huge part of our culture like other parts of the world. That said, there’s one random delicacy that’s super famous here: the Pie Floater. It’s a meat pie in a bowl of pea soup basically and yes, part of its appeal is how random and kinda gross it sounds. But it’s just one of those things you have to do to be a true South Aussie – kind of like eating poutine in Quebec. That said, while you used to be able to stumble out of the casino on North Terrace at all hours of the morning to grab yourself a pie floater, the tramline extension forced the cart to close down permanently. So, you’ll have to head to a bakery to find one now: O’Connell Street Bakery in North Adelaide, Enjoy Bakery in Norwood, or the famous Café de Vilis in Mile End. This kind of makes it less street food these days, but given its heritage I think it still counts.
At the Central Markets in Chinatown, you’ll find a traditional Asian hawker centre and plenty of fresh produce in one of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest food markets.
You’ll also find a multitude of hipster food trucks around the CBD (in particular in Victoria Square), so take your pick: gozleme, tacos, yiros (what other places might call kebabs) or paella, just to name a few. For top ten best food trucks in Adelaide click here.
What is the most loved local food of Adelaide?
Well I’ve already touched on the Pie Floater, sooo….. No I’m kidding. Adelaide is quite multi-cultural so our diets are really mixed. We’ll eat Indian one day, Thai the next, Greek the night after that and not even notice that other people in the world don’t do that. We’re really spoiled by authentic food from all over the world.
Chinatown, on the Southern end of the CBD, is wonderful. It’s almost always cheap and always so tasty. My particular fave is Ricky’s Chicken Rice in the Market Street food court; I always order the fried chicken rice and a char kway teow. For dessert you can’t go past an obun – a little pancake with custard inside.
Brunch is a big thing here. All over the city, and in the wine regions too, you’ll find little eateries everywhere that serve amazing coffee and breakfast. A huge focus is sustainable and local: Adelaide is a fantastic destination for really fresh produce and our big Italian population means you’ll always get excellent coffee.
Lastly, I feel I’m not a good South Australian if I don’t mention this one: frog cakes. Frog cakes are on par with the pie floater – an icon of our State. They are sickly sweet (you know the kind of thing that makes your teeth tingle) but if you don’t take a selfie eating a frog cake did you ever even come here?
Where to head for shopping in Adelaide?
Rundle Mall in the city is the top spot. There are other big malls, such as Marion, but Rundle Mall has great atmosphere. It’s a long, open air street for foot-traffic only and it continues on one end up to Rundle Street, where you’ll find a few more high-end shops, cute boutiques, and plenty of lovely places to eat and drink (this is called the East End). On the other end of Rundle Mall it continues onto Hindley Street, the main nightlife destination (otherwise known as the West End). So whichever direction you head, Rundle Mall is surrounded by a cool scene which helps when you’re shopped-out.
Which side of the road do we drive on? Is it cycle friendly?
We’re part of the Commonwealth so our cars are right-hand drive and we drive on the left. I personally wouldn’t say it’s cycle-friendly; its something the local councils and Government are actively trying to promote, and tourists can hire bicycles around the city, but you won’t find bike lanes everywhere. The local population is also fairly ambivalent towards cyclists still so it pays to be cautious and really know what you’re doing if you want to cycle on busier roads.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Adelaide?
The Adelaide scene can be pretty word-of-mouth, which might explain why some people come here and think it’s boring – they’ve hit the wrong spots. So in terms of apps for hidden gems, I can’t think of any.
Adelaide Metro is the app you’ll need for public transport timetables and recharging your Metrocard (your ticket). Uber is also popular here so make sure you have the Uber app too. Also download Dimmi to work out the best places to eat and make reservations (you’ll need reservations for most places in the city on Friday and Saturday nights in particular).
Not apps, but the Glam Adelaide and WeekendNotes websites can be really cool sources of info on what’s happening in Adelaide when you’re here.