Whoever said Adelaide was boring was seriously mistaken!
The city has long been trying to market itself as a trendy, must-see destination for the art and wine lovers of Australia – and after one weekend away there, I am absolutely sold.
Gone are the days of the sleepy city of churches!
Instead, Adelaide has become known as a hub for funky festivals and boasts a lively nightlife that’s got people buzzing over the newest hip restaurants and hidden bars that line the vibrant laneway streets.
This green city – surrounded by parklands and scenic drives – has really come to life with a fresh cultured vibe that is full of quirks and perks I didn’t even know were trendy yet.
Here we’ve rounded up some of our top picks to make for an eventful weekend exploring the best of what Adelaide has to offer:
Blend your own wine:
Some call it the Willy Wonka winery, while others relate it to the mind of the Mad Hatter, either way, d’Arenberg Cube (a quirky rubix-shaped cellar door located in the McLaren Vale region) is an experience not to be missed.
Instead of a simple tasting, you can explore the ‘complexities of winemaking’ by stepping into a vintner’s shoes.
In a 90-minute winemaking course, you’ll experiment with three different single vineyard wine bases to create a concoction of your own personalised Shiraz – which you then get to bottle and take home.
And don’t think you have to be a wine expert to take part! I certainly am not, in fact, my wine knowledge was fairly limited, but I found this a great learning experience and chance to experiment with your preferred tastes and textures in wine.
The course is run on a daily basis for a cost of $90 per person and a minimum of two people.
Amble through the city’s street art scene:
As the city of hidden gems, Adelaide’s vibrant personality is cultivated by some seriously amazing street art – you just have to know where to look.
If you want to see everything in a limited time frame, try EcoCaddy’s Street Art Experience. A local guide will pick you up in a pedicab and take you on a specially designed route through all the hidden alleyways showing you the best murals around and ensuring you get that ultra-hipster Insta-shot.
Along with the art and general city tour, you’ll get a local’s perspective on the best perks of the city, along with good cafés where they’ll even shout you a cup of coffee, which was an absolute delight on my early morning tour!
Hit up the Adelaide Cabaret festival:
This fun-filled explosion of music, comedy, storytelling and glamour has become the biggest cabaret festival in the world, and the people of Adelaide absolutely love it.
Come dressed to the nines (as many of the locals do) and enjoy one of their 53 shows which feature a variety of entertainers – including Australian headliners, The Cat Empire, Em Rusciano and Mark Holden – who offer up playfully artistic and entrancing performances.
And the best way to see it is to make a real night of it. In between shows, go and enjoy some festival food and mulled wine in the outdoor Wintergarden, all while listening to a little live music.
However, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, I highly recommend the ever-so-sassy Backstage Club. It’s a late-night show, so everyone’s already a few wines deep, making the atmosphere an absolute hoot. Plus, hosts Frisky and Mannish provide top-notch entertainment in between the selection of performers. It’s $25 very well spent.
The Adelaide Cabaret festival is on from 8-23 June at the Adelaide Festival Centre.
Dabble in a cheese and gin tasting:
If you’re not too keen on wine tasting, perhaps some cheese or gin might take your fancy.
In the charming heritage town of Hahndorf, located in the Adelaide Hills, you’ll find an array of family-run businesses offering up tastings of their local produce for those that stop by.
Udder Delights would have to be your one-stop shop for cheese – which I might add is udder delish. They serve up all your cheesy favourites, including a selection of goat’s cheese, and you can try them either in a tasting or a café experience. Or if you’re really keen, you can check out their cheese-making classes.
As for all you gin lovers, the newly established Ambleside Distillery is one to check out. Enjoy an afternoon at their scenic acreage property watching the sunset as you try out their award-winning styles mixed with local botanicals.
Eat your way through the Central Markets:
This 150-year-old market is an absolute foodie’s haven and unsurprisingly the most visited place in South Australia.
Walking through the range of over 100 stalls, my senses were in complete overload as I treated myself to samples of the local stallholder’s latest creations such as gin infused cheese, homemade kombucha, goodies from Kangaroo Island and a local’s pick of the best brownie around.
Tucked in the heart of the city, this market operates from Tuesday to Saturday, with each day offering a fresh selection of quality, multicultural and local produce which you can either explore on your own or in a guided tour.
So there you have it, plenty of ways to fill a weekend away in the South Australian capital. With the CBD only about a half hour drive from both the beaches and the scenic Adelaide Hills region, there is truly something for everyone.