Top 5 things to do in Adelaide on a budget

The best things to do in Adelaide on a city break – without breaking the budget.

Exterior view of Adelaide's Riverbank Precinct with rotunda in foreground, River Torrens and city skyline in background.
  • Jetstar
  • September 2020

Brush up on art, history and wine-making at galleries and museums, take a nature break at gardens and bushland reserves, and catch a cheap flick at a retro movie-house. Stretch your legs and your dollars with these budget-friendly things to do in Adelaide.

1. Brush up on art and history on North Terrace

History buffs and art aficionados, first stop is North Terrace. Here, the South Australian Museum and Art Gallery of South Australia sit side by side, welcoming an art and history free-for-all.

The natural history museum’s collections include the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Australian Aboriginal artefacts, as well as the Australian polar collection: no bears, but loads of fascinating pieces brought back from local Antarctic explorers.

In the gallery, meander among permanent and touring exhibitions of local and international art from one of Australia’s largest collections. While some exhibitions are ticketed, most are fabulously free.

Exterior view of Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
Gallery of South Australia

2. Recharge with flower power in the Botanic Garden

Explore 50 hectares of gardens and architecture to see wetlands and gardens of roses, natives, succulents and dahlias, all as free as a bee in the Adelaide Botanic Garden. Unwind and recharge in the gardens of contemplation and healing within the Garden of Health, beneath prehistoric Wollemi Pines or under the glorious cascades of Wisteria Lane.

Chasing the next big thing? Try to time your visit with the flowering of the Amazon water lilies, whose flowers can grow to up 40 centimetres, and lily pads up to two metres in diameter. Flowering season is April to September, but the bloom is short and sweet so check before you go.

Adelaide Botanic Garden

3. Take a journey at the National Wine Centre

Find out why South Australia is world famous for its wine at the National Wine Centre of Australia. Take a self-guided Wine Discovery Journey to find out more about how your favourite tipple is made, Australia’s wine history, its local regions and varietals. It’s a free and easy interactive experience –but there are no guarantees you won’t be tempted to splurge at the cellar bar afterward. Treat option: book a guided tour and tasting.

Interior view of the National Wine Centre of Australia with wine barrels display and tourist, Adelaide, South Australia.
National Wine Centre of Australia

4. Watch a flick at the Odeon Star

Feeling nostalgic for the good old days? Make your way to Semaphore, northwest of the city, to the Odeon Star. Packed with stories and 1920s charm, the suburban, family-run cinema offers $9 tickets all day, every day. With a long and chequered history of operations, the retro delight is almost 100 years old. The nostalgia trip is completely free.

5. Watch wildlife in the Adelaide Hills

Escape the city and head for the hills. Catch a public bus from Adelaide city centre to Stirling in the Adelaide Hills. From the charming village centre, Woorabinda Lake and the Woorabinda Bushland Reserves are just a few minutes’ walk. Explore the 34-hectare reserve’s four kilometres of walking trails, with your peepers trained for koalas, birds, lizards, fish and even turtles. Allow time for a rest and creative musings at the lake’s Poetry Station.

Road flanked by trees in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia.
Adelaide Hills

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