Monday, 20 February 2012

A to Z of Australia - A is for Adelaide

I’ve gone back to A for the simple reason that I have just spent a few days visiting the city of Adelaide and wanted to let you know about it.

Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia. It’s about 1700km from Perth and it takes about 3,30h to fly there, and they are 2,30 hours ahead of WA. (We don´t have daylight savings in Western Australia).

It’s a smaller city than Perth, with a lot to see in the neighbouring regions – two distinct wine regions, the Hills, etc. The River Torrens creates a division between the city centre and the suburb of North Adelaide, and both are surrounded by various parks creating a green ring around the city.

As this was my second visit to Adelaide, I tried to see things I hadn’t visited before such as the Botanic gardens, the Himeji Japanese garden and the beautiful older suburbs of North Adelaide and Norword as well as a drive through the northern coastal areas.
I absolutely loved the Himeji Japanese gardens, a small oasis in the middle of the city, in the corner of South Terrace and Glen Osmond Road.

The Lantern in the Himeji garden
The Lake at the Himeji garden
The Botanic Gardens, also in the city are one of the most visited attractions, situated right next to the Adelaide Hospital. The most interesting for me was the Amazon Waterlily Pavillion, a glass house with specially controlled temperature where you can find the Brazilian Waterlilies. The Palm House, another heritage glass building displays plants from Madagascar, and the modern Bicentennial Conservatory (entrance fee applies to this one) houses an indoor tropical forest. There is a huge Rose garden with a variety of roses in various shapes and colours and a beautiful and very cool avenue of Moreton Bay Fig trees (Ficus macrophylla) - Murdoch Drive - (named after the media mogul Rupert Murdoch), which is believed to have been planted in 1866, the oldest avenue of Fig trees in Australia.
Tropical Forest in the Bicentennial Conservatory and Rose Garden
The lovely and cool Murdoch Drive, full of Fig trees
The Amazon Waterlily
A field of Lotus Flowers
In the Botanic gardens you can visit the few museums of its kind - the Santos Museum of Economic Botany - where you can learn all about plant materials: seeds, fruit, dyes, baskets, resins, poisons, etc.
A most interesting museum and I was told the only one in the Southern Hemisphere.
Have a rest and something to eat and drink at one of the cafe´s in the park under the shade of some lovely trees overlooking a lake full of ducks, black swans, fish and turtles, or just take your picnic basket and lie on the grass and enjoy the day.

The river Torrens, north of the city centre, with the Convention Centre at the end.
The Festival Centre with river Torrens on the left
The Central Market, where you can buy lovely fresh produce, meat and fish

Inside the lovely Adelaide Arcade 

Next Friday 24th is the start of the “Adelaide Fringe Festival” with over 250 different acts playing all over the city, and this Friday (17th) on my way home via Rundle mall, (a pedestrian zone where the beautiful Adelaide Arcade can be seen), I stopped to watch a sample of some of the acts, and ended up staying for about 1hour just relaxing and enjoying the party atmosphere.
Adelaide is known as the city of churches, and the State of South Australia is known as the "Festival State", as apparently there is always some festival happening in or around Adelaide.
Sample of some of the Fringe Festival acts in Rundle Mall
We stayed in Glenelg, a coastal suburb, south east of the city centre. Being summer it was always full of people walking around the shopping areas, sitting at cafes or restaurants and a few at the beach, either swimming or fishing.            
Beach at sunset taken from our hotel room

Some of the sun-sets at Glenelg Beach, taken from the hotel Oaks Pier Hotel

Life saving clubs Iron Man competition on Sunday 19th Feb.
Set of 8 Terraced Apartments built in 1884, with 3 floors, in front of Grange Beach
Looking to Glenelg Beach, where we stayed

One of the highlights was visiting the suburb of North Adelaide and Norwood, some of the oldest suburbs in the city, where you can see lots of Victorian houses, all very well preserved. Both suburbs have a "cafe strip" - a street full of restaurants, cafes and interesting boutiques.
In Norwood it´s "The Parade" and in North Adelaide, you find it in Melbourne St and O´Connell Street.

Victorian Buildings, all very well conserved

The only downside I found in Adelaide, was the road infrastructure not as good as in Perth and the public transport system is (for me at least) a bit confusing, with buses that change numbers halfway through their route, buses seem to run late or do not appear as per the timetable... There are two free bus services, one service provided by the council and the other provided by the Adelaide transport authority, but timetables or maps are only available online, so it makes it difficult for tourists to get on a bus they don't know exists or where it stops. I was told this is because the services don't make money, but in Perth we have 3 routes with free buses in the city - Cat buses, and there are maps and plenty of information available.
But I walked and walked and walked, used the tram from Glenelg to Adelaide, asked directions from bus drivers, and on the weekend my husband drove me around to some places further away.
All in all a very enjoyable stay!!


  1. love the sculptures at the Festival centre!

  2. Yes, the sculptures are pretty Alyson, they had a few more...

  3. Hi Sami, we've had a busy time 'festival' wise here in Perth also since you've been away. I think one of the best places to visit in any city is their Botanical Gardens. Love the shot of Murdoch Drive, beautiful avenue of trees. Adelaide is the one city I don't know much about so it's been really interesting finding out more about it.

  4. Hi Sami, Adelaide is gorgeous, isn't it? I only spent a day there so I'm jealous of your trip. Looks like you had a great time. I particularly like the Himeji gardens and the 19th century shopping arcade. Beautiful!

  5. I'm loving this A-Z thing. Your pictures are wonderful and really provide a sense of the city.

  6. Grace - the Adelaide botanical gardens is nice, but Perth´s has a great view over the city.
    Julie - the Adelaide Arcade is a real treasure and I also loved the Himeji gardens.
    Marie - the A-Z is fun, we really get to learn so much from everyone´s different lifestyles.

  7. This was very interesting for me as my brother emigrated to Adelaide 7 years ago, I never did get to visit him there but hope to visit him in Brisbane where he now lives. Adelaide looks like a lovely place, great pics, thanks!

  8. You're making Australia look very appealing Sami. I'm wishing I'd wandered in that direction when I was much younger and it was a possibility. Another excellent post.

  9. Anonymous - I don´t know Brisbane, but heard it´s very lush and green as it´s quite humid. Both Adelaide and Perth are drought prone!

    Johanna - I also wish I had come earlier, I think people here have so many opportunities to do well in life!

  10. Great photos! Adelaide, the City of Churches.

  11. Hi Sami

    Im having another look at your Adelaide blog as I have just visited, I loved Adelaide, regarding the public transport you can get all the info you need at the Metro info centre on corner of King William and Currie Street in the city, they have maps etc and were very helpful, also senior's can use their senior's card from another state and get free public transport between 9am and 3pm in Adelaide not like Perth they only give that to Seniors in WA. Ailsa

  12. Thanks Ailsa. I have just arrived tonight from spending another 10 days in Adelaide. My husband is working there on a project, but he usually flies home on the weekend. We have just rented a small unit, so soon I will spend a bit more time there, when I can.


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