7 reasons to visit Adelaide

History, culture, beaches and vineyards – the Festival City has it all, and then some. We take a closer look at the South Australian capital.

Adelaide Oval continues to bring in fans from far and wide.
  • Helen Martin
  • March 2019

Adelaide opens in new window is quickly making a name for itself as one of Australia’s coolest cities. The capital of SA (and its surrounds) is a quirky destination with a few surprises up its sleeve – from a shipwreck and historic sports stadium to a cutting-edge restaurant using age-old ingredients. Here are seven things about the city that will make you want to visit.

There’s great sporting history

The heritage scoreboard at Adelaide Oval opens in new window is a piece of living history. In 1884 it witnessed its first Test cricket match between Australia and England (England won), kept score in 1889 during the first Grand Final in a major Australian rules football league, and stood in silent judgment while the Aussie cricket team was peppered with bouncers from English fast bowler Harold Larwood at the 1932-33 Bodyline Ashes tour. Despite the modernisation of the stadium, you can still see the wooden scoreboard standing proudly at the northern end of the oval.

The line-up of festivals is amazing

If hitting up festivals is your thing, there’s something going on just about every month in Adelaide opens in new window. Starting in February, check out Adelaide Fringe, stay for WOMADelaide and the Adelaide Festival in March and while you’re at it, catch South Australia’s History Festival in May and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June. Whether it’s wine and food or music and cabaret – you’ll find it all in Adelaide.

Get artsy at the WOMADelaide festival
Get artsy at the WOMADelaide festival.

The regional food is unique

Founded by chef Jock Zonfrillo, the Orana Foundation opens in new window is assembling an extensive database of Australian native food, aiming to preserve and develop thousands of years of Indigenous knowledge. Jock’s three-hatted Restaurant Orana opens in new window in central Adelaide – which champions local ingredients such as kangaroo tail, paperbark and green ants – is supplied by Indigenous communities and two foragers employed by the restaurant.

It’s the home of an iconic shoe brand

You’ve probably slipped a foot into one without giving a thought to its origins but the famous R.M. Williams opens in new window one-piece-of-leather boots were first tooled commercially in 1932 by the man himself, Reginald Murray Williams, in Prospect, Adelaide. US president Bill Clinton was inaugurated in a pair of his boots in 1993, actor Hugh Jackman liked them so much he invested in the company and today the boots are exported to 15 countries across the globe.

World-renowned bootmakers R. M. Williams are based in Adelaide
World-renowned bootmakers R. M. Williams are based in Adelaide.

There’s a fantastic wine culture

Every oenophile should make a pilgrimage to the wine-growing regions around Adelaide, especially the Barossa Valley opens in new window, home to some of the world’s oldest wine-producing vines from the mid-1800s. The region has more wineries than it’s possible to list but you can get around them all by car, bus, bicycle, taxi, helicopter, horse-drawn carriage, three-wheeler, hot-air balloon (well, you can float above the vines), fire engine or even a Cop Shop-era police car.

You can learn the art of winemaking in the Barossa Valley
You can learn the art of winemaking in the Barossa Valley.

There are picturesque beaches too

The beautiful beach of Port Willunga, about 50 minutes south of Adelaide, harbours a few secrets. There’s the Instagrammable remains of its former jetty, the 1888 wreck of the Star of Greece – a snorkel and dive spot only 200 metres from shore, hinting at the sometimes treacherous weather – caves carved by fisherman to store nets and boats, the nearby Maslin nudist beach and the mouth-watering salt and pepper squid at the Star of Greece opens in new window restaurant, which perches over the usually calm white-sand panorama.

Watch the sun set over the ocean at Port Willunga
Watch the sun set over the ocean at Port Willunga.

And the wildlife is diverse

About two hours south of Adelaide, the 140,500-square kilometre Coorong opens in new window is one of Australia’s most important wetlands. Home to the Ngarrindjeri people for thousands of years, as well as all manner of birdlife including pelicans, waders and waterfowl, this long stretch of protected lagoons is the setting for the beloved Colin Thiele novel and Australian film Storm Boy, now tugging on a new generation’s heartstrings.