Worth getting out of bed for...
- Drive (or walk) up the gently sloping Montefiore Hill in North Adelaide to the statue of Colonel Light, the town planner who gave the city its grand urban design. From Light’s feet, the view back across town to the Adelaide Hills is magical, especially at night.
- Arts and culture
- Adelaide regards itself with a lofty cultural gaze. The Australian masters (Roberts, Conder et al) hang in the highbrow Art Gallery of South Australia (+61 (0)8 8207 7000; www.artgallery.sa.gov.au), on North Terrace, along with international and Aboriginal works. The JamFactory (+61 (0)8 8410 0727; www.jamfactory.com.au), at 19 Morphett Street, displays local contemporary craft and design with on-site glass-blowing. Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute (+61 (0)8 8224 3200; www.tandanya.com.au), at 253 Grenfell Street, covers the art of the city's traditional owners, the Kaurna.
- Something for nothing
- Adelaide is a dead-flat town – boring to look at, but perfect for cycling. Bicycle SA (+61 (0)8 8168 9999; www.bikesa.asn.au) has a stable of free bikes you can borrow for the day (with a valid ID) to explore ‘ADL’ on two wheels. It’s based at 111 Franklin Street in the city and provides info on bike trails as well as helmets and locks.
- No-one really comes to Adelaide to shop, but Rundle Street and Rundle Mall (plus the lanes and arcades running off them) comprise its commercial epicentre: start here for boutiques, record shops, chain stores, jewellers, bookshops, outdoor equipment, food and drink. The luscious cosmetics from Jurlique (+61 (0)8 8410 7180; www.jurlique.com.au), at 50 Rundle Mall Plaza, are iconically South Australian. For CDs and vinyl, tune in to Big Star (+61 (0)8 8232 1484; 197 Rundle Street). Urban Cow Studio (+61 (0)8 8232 6126; www.urbancow.com.au), at 11 Frome Street, stocks eclectic local arts and crafts.
- Arcing around Adelaide in a crescent-shaped embrace, the Adelaide Hills (www.visitadelaidehills.com.au) make an engaging escape from the city. Settled in the 1840s by Lutheran immigrants and city-dwellers beating the summer heat, a string of stone-hewn towns evolved (such as Stirling and Hahndorf) that today sustain coffeeshops, historic pubs and organic eateries. There are also some impressive cool-climate vineyards here, bottling crisp sauvignon blancs and chardonnays: check out Bird in Hand (+61 (0)8 8389 9488; www.birdinhand.com.au; on the corner of Bird in Hand and Pfeiffer Roads, Woodside), and Nepenthe (+61 (0)8 8388 4439; www.nepenthe.com.au) and Shaw & Smith (+61 (0)8 8398 0500; www.shawandsmith.com), both on Jones Road, Balhannah.
- Best beach
- At the end of the tram line, palindromic Glenelg is Adelaide’s most accessible beach. There's a whole mess of restaurants and pubs here, and the scene can get indeed get messy after dark. More restrained is Henley Beach, a short hop to the north, with classy eateries and a few upmarket bars.
- Perfect picnic
- Spread out a picnic rug at the elegant Adelaide Botanic Garden (www.environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/), at North Terrace, which includes stunning glasshouses spanning a Victoria palm house and a contemporary waterlily pavilion.
- Hoof it to Linear Park, just north of the CBD, where 40 kilometres of walking and cycling paths line the Torrens River, running right out to Henley Beach. Half an hour out of town, the self-guided BankSA Nature Trail in the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden (www.environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/) is also worth the trip, a short but steep scrub walk with plant and floral highlights marked en route.
- Along North Terrace every Sunday from 2pm–4pm, ‘Sunday Fundays’ (+61 (0)8 8207 7575; www.adelaidecitycouncil.com) feature juggling classes, clowns, buskers and games. Around the corner on the River Torrens, Captain Jolley’s Paddle Boats (+61 (0)8 8223 5863; Jolley’s Lane) are a splashy diversion. You could also take a tour at Haigh's Chocolates Visitors Centre (+61 (0)8 8372 7077; www.haighschocolates.com), at 154 Greenhill Road, Parkside, or check out the Adelaide Zoo (+61 (0)8 8267 3255; www.adelaidezoo.com.au) at Frome Road.
- If it’s hot, hop the tram to beachy Glenelg and get out onto (or into) the ocean. Temptation Sailing (0412 811 838; www.dolphinboat.com.au) boasts a sleek white catamaran which takes you out swimming with dolphins or just to see the sea. Contact Adventure Blue Glenelg (+61 (0)8 8294 7744; www.adventureblue.com.au) for snorkelling gear hire, scuba courses and kiteboarding lessons.
- Appetite-stoking shopping hub, food court and tourist highlight, Central Market (+61 0(8) 8203 7203; www.adelaidecentralmarket.com.au), between Grote and Gouger Streets, is an Adelaide essential. Ranks of covered stalls sell organic fruit and veg, smelly cheese, gluten-free sausages, seafood, coffee, chocolate, yoghurt and more, trading from Tuesday to Saturday. Vital, noisy and effervescent, it’s multicultural Adelaide at its exuberant best.
January The world’s top cyclists swoop into South Australia for the Tour Down Under (www.tourdownunder.com.au) bike race, with the big finish in Adelaide. February in even numbered years The major biennial Adelaide Festival of Arts (www.adelaidefestival.com.au) kicks off, running into March. March A duo of fine annual festivals: Adelaide Fringe (www.adelaidefringe.com.au) and WOMADelaide (www.womadelaide.com.au) world-music festival compete with the Clipsal 500 (www.clipsal500.com.au) car race for hearts and minds. July in odd-numbered years The Adelaide Festival of Ideas (www.adelaidefestivalofideas.com.au) brings together the terminally intelligent for a biennial brainstorm, with debates and seminars. August The South Australian Living Artists Festival (www.salafestival.com) features innovative, expressive installations and exhibitions across town. September Feel like a jog? The 12-kilometre City–Bay Fun Run (www.city-bay.org.au) from the city to Glenelg will get your pulse racing. September also delivers the SANFL Grand Final (www.sanfl.com.au), the pinnacle of the local Australian Rules football season. November The fab Feast Festival (www.feast.org.au) is a three-week gay and lesbian event offering a cavalcade of dance, theatre and more.