The huge multi-purpose Adelaide Festival Centre on the banks of the River Torrens is the home of South Australia’s major performing arts companies and festivals. It’s glittering geometric domes and lego-block-like outdoor patio are a sight to behold in their own rights, but it’s worth catching a show in the immense complex. The Festival Centre is buzzing year-round with performances by the State Theatre Company of South Australia, Windmill Performing Arts, and Brink Productions, as well as the annual Adelaide Festival of Arts, Fringe Festival, Cabaret Festival, Film Festival, Festival of Ideas, Writers’ Week and WOMADelaide.
Just outside of Adelaide is Australia’s best wine region, the Barossa. The easily navigable area is great for a day trip to tour the wineries and taste some of the world’s oldest Shiraz wines as well as other varieties. Winding back roads take you through lovely villas and quaint villages. Here you’ll find some of the country’s most famous wineries, including Henschke, Jacob’s Creek, and Wolf Blass.
In the city, you can visit the National Wine Centre of Australia, a museum dedicated to the country’s wine industry. Interactive exhibits display many varieties of grapes and introduce visitors to winemaking. Capping off your visit is a tasting of Australian wines. The whole building has been designed to reflect the winemaking process: the outside of the building is shaped like a wine barrel with grapevines growing alongside it.
The Aboriginal community in Adelaide maintains a strong connection to its traditional culture and Adelaide is a great base from which to experience it. The beautiful Adelaide Botanic Gardens offers a cultural tour led by members of the Kaurna people who originally inhabited the region. Guides will explain how native plants were used by the Aboriginal people for thousands of years for all manner of traditional needs. You can also learn more about Aboriginal history in the Aboriginal Cultures Gallery of the South Australian Museum. Finally, a visit to Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, will let you experience Aboriginal art and culture as it exists today.
You can’t leave Adelaide without catching an exciting game of Australian rules football! Adelaide hosts two AFL teams: the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power, as well as nine teams in the local football league, the SANFL. You can catch the AFL games at the AAMI stadium, and tickets are usually easy to come by.
If cricket’s more your speed, then head over to the Adelaide Oval in the summer to catch domestic and international matches.
A short ferry ride from Adelaide will take you to the lush nature reserve of Kangaroo Island, where you can find beautiful examples of Australia’s unique wildlife in a natural habitat. It’s the perfect place to find echidnas, wallabies, kangaroos, platypus, penguins, pelicans, New Zealand fur seals, and Australian sea lions. Paths and viewing areas are clearly marked, and guided tours and binoculars are available from the visitors’ centre. Koalas were introduced to the island in the 1980s, but are now being removed as a pest species.
The island is also an adventure resort and it’s worth spending a few days here to take in some of the extreme activities, like caving, kayaking, or sand-dune surfing.