Best things to do in Adelaide

You're never far from a good time in South Australia’s cosmopolitan capital.

Exterior of Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, with courtyard in foreground. Image credit: Saul Steed.
  • Jetstar
  • November 2021

Any city that gave the world Sir Donald Bradman, The Masters Apprentices and Haigh's Chocolates has got to be good. But it gets even better when you add Adelaide’s vibrant cultural scene, endless wining and dining possibilities, natural attractions and wildlife to the mix. Here are five of our favourite things to do there, designed to help get your South Australian holiday started on the right note.

Get your culture vulture on around North Terrace

North Terrace is a great place to start soaking up Adelaide’s famous culture. The Art Gallery of South Australia showcases local, national and international artists, with some 47,000 works. Highlights include an unmissable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection and some magnificent Rodin sculptures. Free tours are held twice daily. Next door, the South Australian Museum offers five floors of natural, cultural, and paleontological goodness for the whole family to explore. Nearby, the State Library’s magnificent Mortlock Wing will transport you back to mid-Victorian times.

Exterior view of State Library of South Australia, Adelaide, at sunset
The historic State Library of South Australia’s beautiful mid-Victorian Mortlock Wing is well worth venturing in to see.

Raise a glass to the National Wine Centre

Since you’re in one of the world’s nine official wine capitals, why not get in the spirit of things at the National Wine Centre of Australia? Lauded for its architecture and drenched in natural light, the centre offers an irresistible range of tours and tastings. It even has its own vineyard, where Aussie favourites shiraz, cabaret sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay, semillon and riesling are grown. Be sure to put your learnings into practice at the on-site Wined Bar, while enjoying a tasty seasonal food menu, sourced primarily from local produce.

Glasses of rose, white wine and red wine lined up on a table waiting.
It’s always wine time at the National Wine Centre of Australia.

Soak up those laneway vibes

Make like a local and wander Adelaide’s buzzing inner-city laneways in search of nocturnal good times. Between Peel Street, Leigh Street and Gilbert Place, you’ll find cosy cocktail lounges and quirky bars, cosmopolitan restaurants and quirky cafes, cobblestones and street art. From the blink-and-you-miss-it Pink Moon Saloon, a cocktail bar that's got the hip drinks without the attitude, to the glamorous old-school vibe of Fugazzi Bar and Dining Room, you’re certain to enjoy your journey of discovery through this buzzing urban enclave.

Old-fashioned street lamp and sign, Leigh Street, Adelaide
This charming old-school street lamp and sign gives a hint of the ambience that awaits you in Adelaide’s CBD laneways.

Make tracks along the Coast to Vines Rail Trail

Its name says it all: the Coast to Vines Rail Trail is a 35-kilometre bike trail that takes you along coastal clifftops, through cute historic towns and stunning national parks, via the famous vineyards of McLaren Vale. Suitable for cyclists of all ages and fitness levels, with plenty of places to stay along the way, the trail is a wonderful way to explore the area. Stop off for wine tastings, incredible food, and photo opportunities galore; you might even decide to extend the fun by continuing on the Shiraz Trail. Bike hire places abound.

View of Hallett Cove, South Australia.
You’ll want to stop and take in the views of Hallett Cove along the Coast to Vines Rail Trail.

Hop on over to Kangaroo Island

A 45-minute ferry trip from the mainland, Kangaroo Island lives up to its legend. This pristine island paradise is home to breath-taking natural attractions, adorable wildlife and the kind of beaches you’ve always dreamed of. Whether you fancy marvelling at ancient rock formations or meeting sea lions, beach-hopping or surfing giant sand dunes, Kangaroo Island delivers. Plus, like so many South Australian destinations, it’s got a thriving food-and-drink scene. To get there, jump on a coach from Adelaide to the ferry terminal in Cape Jervis – a scenic journey in itself.

A pair of sea lions sitting nose-to-nose on a Kangaroo Island beach.
A couple of Kangaroo Island residents sharing a moment!