Adelaide, or the city of churches as it’s otherwise known, seems to pale in comparison to the big wigs such as Sydney, Melbourne and even Brisbane, but after spending 5 days in and around the area, I’d like to tell you why Adelaide, or indeed South Australia, should most definitely be your next long weekend or a must see spot for those travelling from further afield.
In and Around the City
You definitely need at least one day to mosey around Adelaide city, we took in the beautiful botanic gardens and then went for a walk around the Adelaide Oval which has been having so much action lately due to the Ashes. We then toddled along the River Torrens which runs through the city, where you can sit on a bench or a picnic blanket under the shade of the trees and take in the views. A tram ticket to seaside town Glenelg costs $5.40 one way and is approximately half an hour on the tram from the city centre. After our morning in the city centre we headed to Glenelg for some beach time, it has a lovely pier and a good few eateries to choose from. There’s mini golf and a few shops too. I enjoyed a glass of wine and the views of the sea.
Glenelg Pier & Beach
Adelaide isn’t always the warmest of temperatures or the coldest for that matter! We experienced 40°c on our last day which was the hottest temperature we have experienced yet in Australia. South Australia is the driest state in the country, and I definitely felt the heat that day! Never fear though, Adelaide’s South Australian Museum is a fantastic place to shield from the weather, whatever it may be doing, and it just so happens to be full of interesting facts and history, particularly concerning Aboriginal culture and customs. The air con is second to none and it’s completely free to enter as it’s run by volunteers, although they do appreciate a small donation.
What to Eat
My favourite topic of conversation of course is food! We ate at a few good places in Adelaide that I’d like to share with you.
La Rambla Tapas Bar was just a few metres walk from our hotel off Currie Street. Peel Street is a lane with some nice eateries and bars and that is where La Rambla was located.
We sat outside at first and had this lovely view of the lane way, before I become too chilly and we headed inside to be seated at the bar beside other customers. I ordered ‘The Ellis Young,’ a cocktail containing vodka, licor 43, cranberry, pineapple & lime, whilst Gavin ordered a White Rabbit beer from Victoria. We definitely ordered too much food and should have stopped at 4 dishes to share instead of 5 as we got complimentary bread with our tapas. We ordered the Patatas Bravas, Morcillas (sautéed Spanich black sausage), the chicken croquettes and the fish croquettes (too many croquettes in the end) and the Espárragos con Romesco (baked then fried Asparagus on a bed of Romesco sauce). The food was delicious with the Asparagus being a highlight for me and the service was good and we ate in a lovely dim lit setting. I’d highly recommend a visit to La Rambla Tapas Bar when you are in Adelaide.
For breakfast one day we headed to what looks like a generic cafe on Bank Street called Toast. We needed a quick but filling bite to eat as we were heading on the wine tour that day. I had a latté and we both ordered the Brekky wrap – a toasted wrap with bacon, egg, avocado, tomato and garlic aioli.
It wasn’t much to look at and I was so hungry that I wolfed it down without taking a picture, but it really was one of the tastiest combinations I have had for breakfast, the garlic aioli for breakfast sounds so wrong but tastes so right! I’d definitely recommend you try this place for your breakfast in Adelaide.
Adelaide’s Central Market is a thriving, local entity that is buzzing with life and all the ingredients and flavours you could want. We bought some pastries and some fruit here for our early breakfast the next day as we had a 6am pick-up to go to Kangaroo Island. We also had a tasty cold salad lunch here as well as picking up a couple of smoothies at Jamu. I had the Salty Caramel – banana, mesquite, fresh dates, cashew butter, salt flakes, coconut milk and caramelised buckinis. It tasted like dessert but without the guilt! Gavin had the Pink Dragon minus the banana – dragon fruit, banana, mango, coconut water, coconut.
Taste the Barossa Wine Tour
The Taste the Barossa Wine Tour was one of the first things we booked when we knew we were heading down Adelaide way. The tour had rave reviews and South Australia is the state which produces the most wine in the country so we just had to check it out! Our tour guide ‘J.R’ was really friendly and knowledgable about Adelaide and was not short on jokes! We started off at the ‘Whispering Wall’ which is an arch dam built in 1902 and the first and highest of its kind in South Australia. It has unique acoustic properties so sounds at one end of the dam can be heard at the other. We had fun taking turns ‘whispering’ to each other from one side to another.
Our first winery was originally known as Chateau Yaldara but has now been bought over by company 1847. Here we tried their 2017 Foundations Sauvignon Blanc, their 2016 Yaldara Reserve Chardonnay, 2017 Rose, 2013 Sparkling Petit Verdot, 2016 Retro Cabernet Franc and their Classic Tawny. The Sparkling Petit Verdot was a Sparkling red wine, something I’d never tried before but it appears to be popular in the Barossa region. The tawny is a sweet treacle like Port dessert wine and we ended up buying a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc because I liked its subtlety.
Before heading to our next tasting, J.R dropped us off in the quaint little town of Tanunda, there’s plenty of little shops and cafes there and Gavin and I decided to munch on some muffins so as to keep our bellies full when sampling all the wines. It’s the cutest place that would be a really lovely getaway for a weekend in the Adelaide Hills.
Peter Lehmann’s vineyard was up next, this was also our spot for lunch which I was really excited about. He started his winery when there was an abundance of fruit but not enough demand for it. Peter didn’t have the money to pay the growers for the fruit but instead relied on their generosity and plenty of ‘IOUs’ to see him through the first stages of his business. Luckily it all came good and Peter sold his wine and was able to pay back the growers who had believed in his business idea.
Here we tried their 2016 Hill & Valley Eden Valley Riesling, their 2011 Margaret Barossa Semillon, 2014 Moppa Shiraz, the 2013 VSV Hearnden Eden Valley Shiraz, the 2012 Stonewell Shiraz and the 2012 Black Queen. If you haven’t guessed by now, the Barossa Valley is famous for producing Shiraz but that’s not all they can do.
Lunch was a delicious sharing platter of bread, meats and cheeses with the most delicious fig jam that I was told was a product by South Australian cook ‘Maggie Beer.’ I must get my hands on more of that fig jam!
After a walk past the vineyards, we began a more relaxed tasting at Langmeil Vineyard where instead of having set wines to try, you could pick and choose from the list. I tried a sweet Riesling which I wasn’t a big fan of, I should have stuck with the dry. We both gave their Tawny a go, which had a sweet toffee apple after taste. The surroundings of the winery were beautiful on the warm summers day that we had.
Before our last winery, we headed to a lookout spot for views of the stunning Barossa Valley. Our last vineyard was the Lindsay Wine Estate who are relatively new in the artistry of wine making. They blend the traditional with the contemporary, you will find a record playing as you enter their premises as music is a big part of the tasting experience. The grounds are stunning and you can get married here. We tried the Lindsay – NV Cuvee Moscato, Doric Porch – 2017 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Evensong – 2017 Riesling, Old Mac – 2015 Merlot, Bull Fight – 2015 Tempranillo, His Only Pair – 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and finally Sunup – 2015 Shiraz. I really liked the modern vibe of this place and the deck chairs which looked out in the perfectly kept lawn.
We had such a fab day with Taste the Barossa, we were picked up at 9:15am from our hotel and dropped back there at approx 5pm. The bus was full at 20 people but it was a nice, relaxing small tour with a friendly guide.
What overseas visitor doesn’t want to go to a place so aptly named Kangaroo Island? There are a few tour companies that you can go with and a lot are under the umbrella company that is Sea Link whom bring you across on the ferry from Cape Jervis. We chose to go with Kangaroo Island Adventure Tours whom are also affiliated with travel company Intrepid. We were picked up at 6:15am from our hotel by a large coach. The journey down to Cape Jervis is approximately 2 hours. You are given your ferry tickets on the bus which is quite handy. It’s a leisurely 45 minute ferry ride across to the island and there’s tea, coffee and snacks available on board the ferry.
When you get off the boat it’s quite chaotic as there are a lot of tours, we quickly found our tour guide Al and I was relieved to see that we were in fact on a little 20-seater bus as I remember booking the tour because I didn’t want the big coach trip experience. We did look at doing a day tour but it would have been a long day leaving at 6am and getting back to Adelaide at 10:30pm so the 2-day option worked out better for us.
As soon as you take your first glimpse at the landscape of the island, you are immediately awestruck by its beauty. We stopped firstly at Rob’s sheep shearing farm, where we were treated to a demonstration of his sheepdogs herding up the sheep and Rob shearing one of the sheep for us to see. We learned all about the business of sheep shearing and how the wool is Merino wool sold to make products that reach the world over, it was very interesting.
Afterwards we went to Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery and got to try some Eucalyptus products made on the island. Some of us also helped prepare lunch before we headed to Seal Bay to see the Australian sea lions up close on their own personal beach.
There was also the option to go sand-boarding at Little Sahara, before heading to our accommodation for the night – Vivonne Bay Lodge. At the lodge you could use the kayaks, bikes or simply take a stroll down to the beach which one of the girls and I did. The lodge has great facilities – free WiFi, TV, board games, tea and coffee and a snack bar to buy alcoholic beverages, crisps and fizzy juice, they even take card! Dinner was a very tasty BBQ with salad. You can sleep in a 6 bed dorm or pay a little extra for your own dorm which we did. The beds are very comfortable and there are shared bathroom facilities, and all in all I was impressed by Vivonne Bay Lodge.
It was a magnificent start to our second day on Kangaroo Island, on the way to a Vivonne & Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, we saw kangaroos sleepily hopping around in the early morning sun. I was amazed walking through the Eucalyptus trees to see so many koalas in the wild just going about their business. We even saw a mummy and baby together which was the cutest thing! I could have remained koala spotting the whole day. You can even grab a fresh coffee at most of the stops you do on the island which I did here and it was nice coffee.
Remarkable Rocks were just that! Some of the rocks are covered by golden orange lichen which make them stunning to photograph. It took 500 million years for the elements to take their toll and form these beauties which sit in the Flinders Chase National Park.
There was just no end to the hidden gems on this island. We headed to Cape du Couedic Lighthouse which was a much needed beacon on the island as its rough waters had been the cause of many a shipwreck in the past few centuries. I do love me a lighthouse, especially one painted red! It was so picturesque and I love the history behind them. Admirals Arch was another great experience, if you look closely in the photograph you will see some seals snoozing in the shade and you can spot them all the way down to the arch as there’s a resident seal colony present.
The icing on the cake was a swim in the sea at Snelling beach, Kangaroo Island has some of the clearest waters in Australia, it was just glorious to have a dip on a warm summers day. Our trip contained people from all walks of life, a mother and son from Japan to 3 Swiss farmers! We had a brief stop at Stokes Bay, where you have to locate the beach by walking through the gaps in the rocks! Then it was a quick bite to eat in Penneshaw, they have a good selection of offerings from fish and chips to pizza and a supermarket, and off on the ferry and coach back to Adelaide we went, with a beautiful sunset to boot. Or guide Al was very knowledgeable about wildlife on the island and it made for an interesting tour.
I was surprised at how big the island was and I definitely think the 2 day tour is the way to go to make the most of what you can experience here. A once and a lifetime experience to see Australian wildlife in their natural habitat.
Lastly, a little bit out the way of Adelaide, 434km to be exact, we encountered Mount Gambier as our first stop in South Australia. Known for its limestone, volcanic landscape and crater lake, it’s well worth a visit on your way to or from the Great Ocean Road.
So after 5 days in and around Adelaide, I really loved it and recommend you to go too. All the links to restaurants I ate at and tour companies I used can be accessed by clicking the relevant information in orange text above. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.