South Australia's capital city, Adelaide, was designed by Colonel William Light, with its location decided in December 1836 and its streets and squares named in May 1837. The flat, square mile city centre is laid out in a grid pattern, intersected by wide streets and ringed by parklands, with the Torrens River running along the northern edge of the city. Adelaide is located midway between the Gulf St Vincent and the Mount Lofty Ranges, both of which are a short drive from the CBD. The average temperature range in the summer months is 14 to 29 degrees Celsius, in winter 7 to 16 degrees Celsius.
Colonel Light's vision and planning has resulted in a city renowned for its beauty. In addition to the many parks, gardens, walking and cycling tracks, playgrounds and BBQ and picnic areas that encircle the city, Adelaide offers well-preserved stately mansions, grand civic buildings, leafy streets and churches - indeed Adelaide is known as the City of Churches.
Adelaide is located midway between Gulf St Vincent and the Mount Lofty Ranges, both of which are a short drive from the city. The coastline of Gulf St Vincent, only 10 kilometres to the west, offers over 60 kilometres of sandy beaches, while the hills north of the city are a mix of native bushland, vineyards, orchards and villages. The Mount Lofty Ranges including Adelaide Hills lie east of the city, with German-influenced villages and cool climate gardens.
South Australia is famous for its quality winemaking, and with its close proximity to the Barossa, McLaren and Clare Valley wine regions, plus the farms and orchards of the hills, Adelaide is a gourmet's paradise. The city's dining precincts include Hindley Street in the West End, Rundle Street East, Central Market, Gouger Street and Chinatown, while in North Adelaide try Hutt Street, Melbourne Street and O'Connell Street.
Public transport is a well-ordered affair in Adelaide, with buses, trains and trams running to all points of the metropolitan and suburban areas. The City Loop and Bee Line buses are a great way to discover the city. Both services are free, running set loops that go past many of the city's attractions. Another good way to explore and get a feel for the city is the Adelaide Explorer tram, which runs a 2.5 hour circuit of the city, allowing you to get on and off to see the sights as you wish.
Other attractions in and around Adelaide include:
- Tandanya - National Aboriginal Cultural Institute - a permanent collection of Aboriginal art together with temporary exhibitions and dance and theatre performances.
- The Bradman Collection - housed in the State Library of South Australia, this permanent collection of memorabilia presents the life and career of this renowned cricketer.
- National Wine Centre of Australia - situated at the end of North Terrace, showcasing the excellence and diversity of Australian wines, winemakers and wine regions.
- Botanic Gardens - covering 16 hectares, features include the Victorian Palm House and the Bicentennial Conservatory, tranquil lakes, landscaped gardens and shady trees.
- Skycity Adelaide Casino - elegantly housed in the converted Old Adelaide Railway Station, the casino has gaming tables, gaming machines, restaurants and cafes, as well as live entertainment.
- Adelaide Zoo - an extensive collection of Australian birds, a walk-through aviary as well as animals from all over the world, including endangered species.
- South Australian Maritime Museum - a fascinating look at the state's maritime past, situated at Port Adelaide.
- Art Gallery of South Australia - a fine collection of Aboriginal, Asian, European and Colonial Australian art, centrally located on North Terrace.
- South Australian Museum - another of North Terrace's cultural attractions, with five floors of natural and cultural history.
- Glenelg - a popular beachside suburb, 11 kilometres from the CBD.
- Rodney Fox Shark Museum - situated in Glenelg, the museum houses collectibles, art and curios, photographs, fossils and modern shark teeth and jaws.
- Barossa Valley - one of Australia's finest wine regions, situated about 50 kilometres north of Adelaide.
- Kangaroo Island - Australia's third largest island, situated 120 kilometres south-west of Adelaide, is a haven for wildlife.
For more suggestions on what to do and see in Adelaide, check out our Top 10 lists. Categories include attractions, natural attractions and For Kids.