Adelaide first stops
Get to know the city quickly with our 'first stops' guide.
Drop your bags and head straight for the Adelaide Central Market for a quick flavour tour of the city. It's one of the cheapest places to eat in Adelaide. Your senses will be on full alert as you stroll past stall after stall of cheese, olives, dips, breads, pastries, cakes, pickles, deli meats, nuts, chocolate, seafood, gourmet yoghurt, fruit and vegetables. It's like a divine pantry of everything worth eating. There are cafés within the market too.
Adelaide nightlife is getting a big tick from discerning, cocktail-thirsty visitors. From the East End to the laneways around Leigh Street, Peel Street and Gilbert Place you'll find the drink of your dreams, as well as a menu of great bar snacks. If cocktails aren't your style, these bars can take you on a tour of great South Australian reds, local craft beers and even locally distilled spirits such as gin, rum and whiskey.
Catch a tram to Glenelg, most popular of the Adelaide beaches, and go dolphin watching on a cruise around Holdfast Bay. If conditions are right, you can even swim with dolphins. The species most often seen is Delphinus delphis, otherwise known as the short-beaked common dolphin. Bottle-nosed dolphins also like to play in the waters off Glenelg. Of all the cool things to do in Adelaide, this is possibly the coolest.
Wander through the Bicentennial Conservatory in the Adelaide Botanic Garden. It looks remarkable from the outside, and it's even more remarkable on the inside. Designed by South Australian architect Guy Maron, it's the largest single-span conservatory in the southern hemisphere. A lower walkway winds across the forest floor and an upper walkway takes you into the tree canopy. Right next door is the National Wine Centre, which showcases fine wines from across the whole state. Both of these Adelaide attractions are free.
For free things to do in Adelaide, put the Art Gallery of South Australia at the top of your list. You'll find all the big names in Australian art - indigenous, historical and contemporary - along with other VIPs (very important pieces) from other places. The gallery has a mobile app that helps you to find exhibitions and understand what you're looking at.
Just eight kilometres from the CBD is Penfolds Magill Estate, a cellar door that really knows how to make visitors feel welcome. This estate is the home of Australia's most legendary red wine - Penfolds Grange. A guided historical tour includes the underground cellars and the story of Grange winemaker Max Schubert's somewhat bumpy rise to fame. There's an excellent brunch and lunch kitchen here too, as well as their award-winning five star restaurant.