Last week, we spent four days in Adelaide, South Australia. The Festival State.
With 1.4 million citizens, Adelaide is a much smaller city than Melbourne or Sydney. This translates in less skyscrapers, more green, more white Australia and less poverty on the streets. In general I had a feeling that a big part of the Adelaide city-life is centred around its universities and students, much like Leuven or Ghent in Belgium.
Couchsurfing gave us the possibility to meet yet another local, Adrian, a cyclist fan with Italian descent. We also had the chance to meet his wonderful kids, his son, a big Port Adelaide Power fan (AFL, I must make a separate blog post dedicated to this national sport, before I leave Australia) and his 4-year-old daughter. We stole their room for a night, but made up for it with gifts in the end.
Due the limited time we had in Adelaide, I feel like making one elaborate post is the right call. Here are some of our highlights, including a ton of pictures!
The shopping district of Adelaide, also Australia’s first pedestrian street mall. Home to many of the flagship stores of large retailers (think Apple, H&M, Zara) and pretty much the destination for all your shopping needs. Quite often the meeting place before a student’s night out.
A beautiful shopping arcade, in my opinion it’s quite a shame that the upper floor is neglected by residents and tourists alike which resulted in an empty feeling were boutique shops were replaced by offices of all kinds, excluding one very nice cafe.
The building had a massive fire in the 80’s and was restored in a quick schedule. There is a small corridor of the history and items found under the floors after the fire, like old newspapers which were displayed to the public.
Adelaide Botanic Garden
50 hectares of magnificently maintained gardens and stunning architecture. Personally I was more impressed by this garden than the one in Sydney. Smart landscaping all around, buildings from 3 different centuries, what’s not to love?
National Wine Centre
Situated near the botanical garden. The centre is an architectural treat, inside you can find all kinds of -awarded- function venues. For winelovers there is a great tasting opportunity, just purchase a card with a wanted amount of credits and go have a taste or a full glass of any available wine. They have a wide variety, over 120 different (Australian) wines.
South Australia is the home of the Barossa Valley, arguably one of the best Australian wine region. Competing with the Yarra Valley in Victoria and the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.
Definitely worth a visit after you have explored the gardens!
Australia’s second oldest zoo, the oldest being in Melbourne. Located conveniently next to the botanic garden, it was an easy stop for us. I wanted to visit the zoo mainly for the entrance building and its architecture, but after a few moments of deliberation we decided to enter the zoo.
It does come with a hefty price, but we would say we enjoyed the zoo enough for the price paid. After all, it was the first time we saw real giant pandas. The Adelaide zoo is home to the southern hemisphere’s only giant panda zoo exhibit.
They were all cuddly, and we were highly surprised how small they were.
Adelaide Central Market
Like many markets we have been to, Adelaide Central Market is well established with a long history. This reminded us the most of Carriageworks Farmer’s Market in Sydney, which was similarly just all about food. And when there is cheap and tasty food available easily, it might be needless to say that we loved it.
The market is located right next to the small Chinatown –more like a China street– so there is also a great selection of Asian food. Regardless of you eating in the Asian food courts or in the mids of the market, you will get your belly full with 10 dollars.
State Library of South Australia
Holds the “South Australiana” collection, which documents South Australia from pre-European settlement to the present day.
The Mortlock Wing featured in a list of the top 20 most beautiful libraries of the world. The main chamber became an exhibition space providing a glimpse into the history and culture of South Australia. Which was interesting, but a pity at the same time as it would have been more authentic if they didn’t change the original look and feel.
This funky cafe on Leigh Street.
This clever bridge between old and new.
That’s it for Adelaide, our Uluru diary is coming soon!