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48 Hours In Adelaide For Couples

Ben Hall

Exploring Adelaide on foot, visitors quickly discover this is a city which wasn’t so much founded as it was planned. In fact, before a brick was ever laid, the concept of South Australia’s premier city was laid down in great detail in the 1830’s. Sitting on the flat coastal plain between Gulf St. Vincent and the Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide comprises two grid-systems flanking each side of the Torrens River; it’s business and cultural heart in the south, and residential suburbs in the north. The two areas are conveniently linked by three bridges and a footbridge, and between the two are some eye-catching, leafy wide-open spaces. What all this means for today’s visitor is that Adelaide is an airy, compact city which is a delight to explore. Laid out in a series of neat, easy-to-follow grids, most of its main attractions can be comfortably covered in a couple of days.

Day One  

Morning: There’s no better way to start the day than with a bit of light exercise, and after exploring Adelaide’s cultural strip, North Terrace, from the western end, Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens is an oasis of calm at the eastern end. Of the multitude of attractions within the Gardens, the Palm House is one of the most impressive. It’s an exquisite Victorian glasshouse which was imported from Bremen in 1875 and restored in 1995. It’s also worth taking a picnic lunch with you, and after a stroll along the garden’s serene pathways, sitting down to feast your eyes on the sacred lotus plant which thrives in the Nelumbo Pond.

Afternoon: At the top of Gouger Street, Adelaide’s Central Market is open on Tuesday, and from Thursday to Saturday, and is almost as old as the city itself. It began trading as far back as 1869 when a small group of market gardeners sold every item of produce within hours. Today, it’s the largest covered market in the southern hemisphere, as well as South Australia’s number one tourist attraction, with eight million people wandering through it each year. The range of produce on sale is overwhelming, and there are plenty of little stalls and cafés selling lunch, snacks and great coffee. A few blocks south and Gilles Street Market attracts fashion enthusiasts looking for bargains on designer samples and clearance stock from some of Australia’s best young designers, while Rundle Mall and Rundle Street have more than 800 retail outlets. Prospect Road, O’Connell Street and The Parade are all worth checking out for some more unusual offerings.

Evening: Hindley and Rundle Streets are Adelaide’s top two picks for exploring the city’s nightlife. Wine buffs will appreciate Apothecary 1878 (118 Hindley Street). Located in a stunning heritage listed building, it’s been described as Adelaide’s most elegant wine bar, and boasts an impressive menu of champagne and wine. For beer lovers, however, The Belgian Beer Café (27-29 Ebenezer Place) is tucked away just off Rundle Street, and packed with unique flavours from Belgium, and a place where the pouring of beer is an art form. Night owls can head for the renowned Moskva Vodka Bar (192 Hindley Street), which has four bars across three levels, including champagne and shot lounges.  

Day Two 

Morning: Wandering North Adelaide’s tree-lined streets and serene parks is an exercise which can make you feel like you’re a long way from the city, but the reality is that it’s a short walk from the CBD. The banks of the Torrens River are lined with walking and cycling paths, and a wander along here will often attract the resident black swans, no doubt looking for an easy meal. King William Road crosses the river and leads to the beautiful St Peters Cathedral which was designed in England. The twin-spired structure is one of the main attractions in this area and nearby the statue of the legendary cricketer, Sir Donald Bradman, also adds to the austere atmosphere. Fittingly the elegant Adelaide Oval cricket ground is nearby, and northwest of here on a hill is Light’s Lookout, which pays homage to Colonel William Light who designed the city in the 1830’s. This offers a great view of the city with the Adelaide Oval in the foreground. 

Afternoon: A day trip to Glenelg on its famous tram, a petty beach suburb just 10 kilometres from the city, is a ritual the locals have indulged in for decades to wander the iconic seaside resort. These days there are plenty of hotels, bars and restaurants all built to complement the “outdoorsy” feel and the magnificent Glenelg Town Hall is the heart and soul of the district. For history buffs, it’s a place of great importance as this was where South Australia was proclaimed a British Province in 1836.

Evening: For a spot of nightlife with a difference, aim to spend some time in Adelaide’s more traditional watering holes. Top of your list should be the famous Gilbert Street Hotel (88 Gilbert Street), a delightful corner pub in the south eastern corner of the city with a friendly atmosphere and a lovely beer garden to enjoy on hot summer nights. Another option is the Crown & Sceptre (308 King William Street). Known locally as Adelaide’s “bartenders’ bar”, it’ famous for an artful décor, unusual Cooper’s Cocktails, and great nightly entertainment.


Adelaide City through the lens of Elliot Grafton 01:23

Local videographer Elliot Grafton spent a few weeks capturing Adelaide's vibrant city center.

  • Adelaide City through the lens of Elliot Grafton
    Adelaide City ...
    Local videographer Elliot Grafton spent a few weeks capturing ...

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  1. Posted by on 28th Dec 2018 Verified Customer

    Loving These Ideas 4 Star Review

    As an Adelaide-ian I'm loving these ideas for a quick visit - or even for me with my partner! If you're wanting something really unique I'd add a roof climb of Adelaide Oval, even better if you can do it as the sun sets.
    It's great to see the Central Market here, I always take visitors. Two 'must see' shops are the Smelly Cheese shop that has plenty of samples and Blackebys which is an SA tradition.
    In Rundle Mall make sure you get photos with the iconic 'Malls Balls' and our pigs too.

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