Adelaide Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Australia > Adelaide > History

A statue of Adelaide's founding father, Colonel William Light, stands atop Montefiore Hill and gazes proudly across the city he helped to create. Below him is an expanse of pretty green park land, resplendent with rose beds, peppered with trees and dominated by the ivy-clad Adelaide Oval. To the rear of the cricket ground lies lazy Torrens Lake, its southern foreshore replete with grand bluestone buildings that contrast starkly with the white concrete extrusions of The Festival Theatre. Further south, modest towers mark the heart of Adelaide's central business district, while to the east a corrugated line of hills defines its inland boundary. To the west, the coastal plain slips gently away into the rich blue waters of St Vincent's Gulf.

So it is easy to see why there should be a flicker of pride on Colonel Light's weathered face. It is also wholly appropriate that the city of Light should become the city of churches ' mighty St Peter's Cathedral lays testament to that. However, as all Adelaidians know, there is much more to their captivating city than things ecclesiastical! In modern-day Adelaide, festivals, food and fine wine are just for starters.

The city centre
Despite these enlightened days of metrication, Adelaide's central business district still measures exactly one square mile! And it is packed with goodies, all within easy walking distance of each other. This is especially true along North Terrace, where there is ready access to the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Adelaide Casino plus the imposing granite and marble Parliament House building. Moving east, grandiose buildings queue for attention: the State Library, South Australian Museum, Art Gallery and Ayers House (the mansion of Sir Henry Ayers, an early state premier who had a very large rock named in his honour). Further along North Terrace the weary wanderer is invited to relax amidst the blooms and flowering shrubs of Adelaide Botanic Gardens. In the heart of the city is the symbolic fountain of Victoria Square. The square is a handy landmark for several hotels and is also a terminus for Adelaide's only tram, which trundles its way to the beachfront at Glenelg.

Shoppers flock to the ever-festive Rundle Mall, historically the first traffic-free shopping mall in Australia. Many of the big retail players can be found here, as can a variety of street entertainers. The Mall leads eastwards onto Rundle Street, which throbs with a cultural mix of diners and thirsty pub-goers. It is also the primary venue of Adelaide's Fringe Festival.

Across the eastern parklands from Rundle Street is the fashionable inner city suburb of Norwood with its ever-popular dining precinct, The Parade. Shoppers in search of bargains, or simply fresh herbs and vegetables, head for Central Market and Chinatown. Neighbouring Gouger Street is alive with yummy restaurants, Asian, naturally, plus a wealth of other cuisines besides.

North Adelaide
Both the city and elegant North Adelaide are isolated from the surrounding suburbs by a leafy moat of parklands. This 'figure-of-eight' greenery is truly a jewel in Adelaide's crown, enhancing a unique and enviable lifestyle for city-dwellers. It is small wonder, therefore, that some of the state's grandest homes are to be found in North Adelaide. Along O'Connell Street there are also some of the city's finest restaurants, with pavement dining under lacy iron verandahs a speciality.

Port Adelaide and District
The generously wide streets, sturdy stone buildings, and uncompromising wharf-side warehouses tell tales of a proud and historic past for Adelaide's ocean port. The plethora of street-corner pubs also suggest that this history has been amply laced with rum and brandy! Port Adelaide lies less than half an hour's drive north west of the city and today it remains a modest working port. Tourism through Port River cruises, Sunday markets, twee cafes and informative museums ' like the excellent Maritime Museum - fuel the local economy. The region as a whole is a fascinating mix of heavy industry, recreation and residential boom, exemplified by the award-winning West Lakes residential development.

The Coastal Fringe
Spanning nearly 70 kilometres north to south, the Adelaide coastal fringe runs from North Haven marina to the sumptuous white sands of Sellicks Beach. Whether it is viewing or doing, there's beachside fun to be had by all. Not to mention sunsets to die for! Adelaide's maritime heritage can be explored around Semaphore, there's discerning dining at Henley Beach, and a hive of activity and history at Glenelg.

When there's a swell in the Gulf, knowing surfers head for the mid-south coast, while sailboarders test their skills off Seacliff Beach. Even nude bathing is catered for on this eclectic coast. Just grab a towel and head for Maslin!

The Adelaide Hills
Rising around the eastern rim of the coastal plain, the Adelaide Hills offer a favourite fresh-air treat. Delightful forests of stringybark gums carpet many slopes, while in Belair National Park, and conservation parks such as Scott Creek, Cleland and Warrawong Sanctuary, native flora and fauna abound. So watch out for kangaroos, koalas and bandicoots! Farming and market gardening are important industries with vineyards blossoming on many hillsides. Tourism has also taken off, and dotted throughout the hills are enchanting villages like Stirling and the 'little Germany' that is Hahndorf. Of course, no visit to the hills would be complete without experiencing that breathtaking view over Adelaide ' night and day ' from the summit of Mount Lofty.

The Wine Districts
Adelaide is unquestionably the wine capital of Australia, simply because it lies within an hour's drive of some of the finest vineyards in the southern hemisphere. To the north lies the world-renown Barossa Valley with its proud Teutonic heritage, rich soils and exquisite flavours. Equally appealing to many wine-lovers is the quality of product from the south of the city - the boutique wineries of McLaren Vale. Indeed, what better way to spend a lazy afternoon than drinking fine wine amidst gentle hills, fertile flats and tinkling creeks?