ADELAIDE

More than 40,000 years ago, the Kaurna Aboriginal people settled the Adelaide Plains, calling it Tandanya, ‘place of the red kangaroo’.

In 1802, after a chance meeting off the coast of south Australia between a French navigator, Nicolas Baudin, and a British explorer, Matthew Flinders, who was busy mapping the entire South Australian coast on his ship. Despite their nations being at war with each other, both men were more interested in each others respective scientific findings than anything else. The pair ended up swapping notes off the Fleurieu Peninsula coast.

The City of Adelaide in South Australia was founded in 1836, being named after King William’s popular wife. Unlike the other Australian states, Adelaide’s citizens were not taken from the many convicts originally sent by Britain to Australia, but were free settlers. While most immigrants in the 1800s came from Great Britain, others began to arrive from diverse places, including Germany, Poland, Afghanistan, China, Italy, Lebanon, Spain and Scandinavia. All have left their mark in Adelaide and South Australia. Attracted by the potential to build their wealth in the copper industry, or in wool and wheat, there were also those seeking safety from the religious persecution that was still present in Europe at the time.

The city of Adelaide was purpose designed from the beginning in a grid formation by Colonel William Light, with wide, attractive streets, while being surrounded by the boulevards and green parklands. Colonel Light’s foresight in reserving the surrounding fresh water lagoons and good grasslands in Adelaide for a city, prompted him to finally choose this region as the State’s capital. Other places that had been considered at the time were Kangaroo Island, Yorke Peninsula and the Eyre Peninsula.

The first ships landed at Glenelg beach, southwest of today’s central business district and now a bustling seaside resort.

Today Adelaide is a thriving city with a population of bout 1.3 million.

Timeline of Historical Facts

1840:

Adelaide gets the first municipal government in Australia.

1847:

The Barossa Valley’s first winery began operating.

1857:

The Adelaide Botanic Gardens opens its gates on North Terrace Boulevard.

1863:

Gas begins to be supplied to the city.

1873:

Adelaide Oval hosts its first Cricket Match.

1880:

The University of Adelaide became to the first in Australia to open its doors to women.

1894:

The colony’s Parliament votes to make South Australia the first place in the world to allow women to become politicians.

1900:

South Australia opens its first electricity station.

1915:

A referendum was held about the liquor laws, forcing pubs to close their doors at 6 p.m.

1929:

The city begins operating electric trams to Glenelg Beach. This tramline is still in operation and a great way to get to this beautiful part of Adelaide.

Adelaide is an elegant and refined city, which sits between the rugged south coast of Australia and the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges. European immigrants founded this tidy capital of South Australia, and its layout was carefully crafted around the River Torrens, imparting a welcome sense of order balanced by a laid-back vibe. Mining and agriculture brought riches to the city, and today, Adelaide's affluent heritage is still proudly on display. Magnificent private mansions and grand public buildings command an important place amid the modern high-rises. Museums, galleries, gardens, and gourmet restaurants are some of the city's finest treasures, and lovers of the arts can indulge in opera, symphony, and a flourishing live music scene.

The city's wide boulevards seem refreshingly uncrowded, and nature is never far away. Parklands ring the city, and a short drive from the CBD, rural landscapes and sparkling beaches provide a picturesque playground for nature lovers.

1. North Terrace

A handsome tree lined boulevard graced by historic and cultural treasures, North Terrace is a great place to kick off a city tour. Parliament House, at the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace, is perhaps the most imposing building in Adelaide with its monumental colonnade. Just down the street, is the State Library of South Australia, the South Australian Museum, and the Art Gallery of South Australia. These offer a triple dose of art and culture and are three of the city's top attractions.

Parliament House

2. Adelaide Botanic Garden

Wander through the wrought iron gates at the east end of North Terrace and enter a wonderland of botanical treasures. Established in 1855, Adelaide Botanic Garden features educational themed plantings such as medicinal plants, a Mediterranean garden, Australian native species, and a wetland designed to sequester enough water to eventually irrigate the entire grounds.

The Santos Museum of Economic Botany provides insight on the important role plants play in everyday life through a series of permanent collections. Other garden favorites include the palm house, the Bicentennial Conservatory with lowland rainforest plants, night flowering Amazonica water lilies, and Australia's oldest avenue of Moreton Bay fig trees.

Adelaide Botanic Garden

3. Art Gallery of South Australia

In the heart of Adelaide's cultural precinct, the Art Gallery of South Australia exhibits one of Australia's finest art collections. The elegant, colonnaded Victorian building, established in 1881, sets the tone for the eminent works within its walls. The collection crosses all mediums, from sculpture, paintings, textiles, metalwork, and photographs to ceramics, jewelry, and furniture.

The Australian collection spans the colonial days to the present, including indigenous and Torres Strait Islander art. European works highlight pieces from the Renaissance to the present day, and Asian exhibits include Australia's only dedicated Islamic gallery.

Art Gallery of South Australia

4. Adelaide Oval

Stadiums are not always a top attraction in a capital city, but Aussies love their sports, and this venue is an important part of the city's history. Sitting in the center of Adelaide's attractive Riverbank Precinct, the stadium was established in 1871 and hosted its first test cricket match in 1884. Since its founding, the stadium has played host to more than 16 different sports, including AFL, archery, cycling, hockey, lacrosse, and tennis, as well as music concerts and major events.

A multi million dollar renovation completed in 2014 revitalized the venue, but it still features the old heritage listed scoreboard and century old Moreton Bay fig trees. If you have time, try to buy tickets for a sporting match or event here. Cricket fans should make a beeline for the Bradman Museum to see memorabilia on the life of Australia's most famous cricketer.

The best way to appreciate this iconic venue is to sign up for an Adelaide Oval Stadium tour. On this 90-minute guided tour, you will go behind the scenes to see the stadium's top features and learn fascinating stories about its history.

Adelaide Oval

5. The South Australian Museum

Adjacent to the State Library, is a top research facility renowned for its Aboriginal heritage collections. In addition to the excellent Australian collection, you can admire artifacts from the South Pacific Islands in the permanent Pacific Cultures Gallery, gaze upon Egyptian antiquities, and learn about local flora and fauna in the South Australian Biodiversity Gallery.

The South Australian Museum

6. Adelaide Central Market

A few paces west of Victoria Square, on the south side of Grote Street, the Adelaide Central Market is a favorite shopping spot and one of the oldest indoor markets in the world. Founded in 1870, these colorful markets feature fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, baked goods, cheeses, and a mouth-watering array of multicultural culinary treats.

After browsing the produce packed stalls, enjoy a meal at one of the many cafés in the area or the Asian restaurants in nearby Chinatown, and do not forget to bring your own shopping bags or baskets. Saturday afternoons are prime time for bargain hunters, when some vendors slash prices to move their produce.

Adelaide Central Market

7. Glenelg

In the sheltered and surf free Gulf St. Vincent, the seaside village of Glenelg is a popular escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. To get here, most visitors opt for the 25 minute trip on Adelaide's only surviving tram, which departs from Victoria Square in the city center. As well as its beach appeal and many tourist attractions, Glenelg has a fascinating history.

The first group of free settlers disembarked from HMS Buffalo in Holdfast Bay here, making this the oldest European settlement on mainland South Australia. Sidewalk cafés, boutique hotels, and lively summer entertainment create a holiday feel, and tourists will find plenty of family friendly attractions. Sailing and swimming with dolphins are other popular activities.

Seaside village of Glenelg

8. Cleland Wildlife Park

Less than a 20 minute drive from the city center on the northwestern slopes of Mount Lofty, Cleland Wildlife Park cares for a cute and cuddly bunch of Aussie animals in a naturalistic environment. Kangaroos, wallabies, potoroos, and emus roam freely in the wide open spaces, and you can wander among them, feed them, and enjoy close-up encounters. Interactive keeper presentations provide interesting details about the animals and their habitats. For an extra fee, you can cuddle a koala and take home a souvenir photo.

Cleland Wildlife Park

9. Port Adelaide

Port Adelaide, about 14 kilometers northwest of the city center, is a popular tourist destination with museums, restaurants, and well preserved heritage buildings. Much of the town is a State Heritage Area. A number of imposing 19th century buildings such as the 1879 Customs House and the Courthouse bear witness to this city's early prosperity as a thriving port.

Top tourist attractions include dolphin spotting cruises and a clutch of intriguing transport-themed museums including a National Railway Museum; South Australian Aviation Museum; and the South Australian Maritime Museum, where you can browse interesting exhibits on the region's seafaring history.

Seafood lovers head to the Fishermen's Wharf Markets on Sundays to buy fresh-caught fish straight from the boats.

Port Adelaide

10. Barossa Valley & Clare Valley Day Trip

Settled by Prussian and English immigrants, the Barossa Valley is about an hour's drive from Adelaide airport and is one of Australia's oldest grape growing regions. Foodies will be in heaven here with the plethora of fresh produce and fabulous restaurants. In addition to all the gastronomic delights, you'll find some cultural treasures in the region such as heritage trails, cookery schools, craft stores, galleries, and museums.

A little farther afield, the rolling green hills of the Clare Valley also nurture a rich grape growing history and thriving gourmet food culture.

Barossa Valley

Clare Valley

11. Fleurieu Peninsula Day Trip

Less than hour's drive south of Adelaide's city center, the Fleurieu Peninsula is one of Adelaide's most popular coastal day trip destinations. Rolling hills, farms, fantastic surf beaches, and upscale dining lure foodies and city slickers looking for a slower pace. Victor Harbour is the largest and one of the most popular towns along this rugged peninsula. From here, you can hop aboard a seasonal whale watching cruise or fishing charter, surf one of the south coast swells, cast a line from one of the windswept beaches, or take a horse drawn tram to Granite Island with its dwindling colony of Little Penguins.

Goolwa, by the Murray River, is another popular peninsular town as are the inland towns of Strathalbyn and Mount Compass.

Fleurieu Peninsula

12. Hahndorf Day Trip

In the beautiful Adelaide Hills, about 20 minutes from the city center, Hahndorf is Australia's oldest surviving German settlement having been established 1839 by German Protestants from East Prussia. Tree lined streets, half-timbered houses, and steeple topped Lutheran churches imbue the town with a European village charm, and the many farms and German restaurants will delight foodies.

A great place to start a tour is the former 1857 schoolhouse, which houses the visitor center and the Hahndorf Academy, an art gallery spotlighting local artists. Hahndorf is famed for one of its talented residents, Sir Hans Heysen (1877-1968), a German-born landscape artist who came to Australia in 1883 and later built an Alpine style house on the outskirts of Hahndorf. Today, you can take a guided tour of his home and studio, known as The Cedars, stroll through the colorful gardens, and view some of his paintings. Sightseers can easily spend a relaxing day in this charming village picking fruit at nearby farms, browsing the craft shops and galleries, and dining at the excellent restaurants.

Hahndorf