I have twice spent a few days in Adelaide as a stopover on backpacking holidays. I hope this overview of my time there will be of use to you if you ever decide to spend a few days there yourself.
I stayed at the Adelaide Central YHA Backpackers Hostel
Adelaides CBD (city centre) is compact and can be easily covered on foot, but for those who’d rather save the effort there are two free buses.
The Bee Line (#99B) leaves from Victoria Square (every 5–10 min. Mon–Thurs 7:40 AM–6:00 PM, Fri 7:40 AM–9:20 PM; every 15 min. Sat 8:30 AM–5:30 PM) and heads up King William Street to North Terrace, along past the train station, down to Hindley Street and then back to Victoria Square along the same route.
The City Loop Bus (every 20min) has thirty stops taking in all the major cultural and commercial centres, beginning at Adelaide Train Station. Both buses feature ground-level access ramps.
Sight Seeing & Shopping
South Australian Museum
The South Australian Museum is located on the corner of North Terrace and King William st (next to the Art Gallery of South Australia). It has no entry fees and is well worth spending a few hours at if you’re travelling alone but especially if you’re travelling with children because they’ll love it.
You can wander through six floors of exhibits including the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery, the largest Aboriginal cultural exhibition in the world, with more than 3000 items on display.
There are permanent exhibitions devoted to Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson, ancient Egypt, rare fossils of the Flinders Ranges and more.
You can even see one of Adelaide born astronaut Andy Thomas’s space suits as well as ancient fossils that are millions of years old such as the fossil largest Ammonite ever found in Australia (pictured at right). Uncoiled it would be over 3 metres long and is so big it was initially mistaken as a large truck tire when discovered by a policeman.
Younger children will love looking at the life-sized creatures in the World Mammals exhibition on the ground floor, or following the progress of the giant squid through four levels of the museum as part of the Life in the Deep biodiversity gallery.
Rundle Mall & Visitor Information
If you need to buy anything chances are you’ll find the right shop on the pedestrian-only Rundle Mall, Adelaide’s main outdoor shopping area which runs parallel to North Terrace west to east between King William Street and Pulteney Street.
The Tourist Information Booth is located at the western end of Rundle Mall near King William Street and can supply you with information about current events, maps etc.
Statue of Australian Explorer John McDouall Stuart
History Buffs may want to see the statue of the Australian Explorer John McDouall Stuart in Victoria Square (pictured).
The statue commemorates Stuarts expedition from Adelaide across the Australian continent to survey the route for the Overland Telegraph.
Gouger Street offers a wide range of tastes to suit many budgets in a variety of Asian, Italian and seafood restaurants as well as upmarket French, Argentinian and many other choices. From Friday to Sunday make sure to reserve a table to avoid disappointment.
Gouger Street also incorporates Adelaide’s “China Town Arch” which fronts a large number of budget eating options as well as The Central Market, which on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday mornings are buzzing with produce traders, sights and smells.
I had brunch at Passatempo Cafe (53 gouger st) – Buttermilk Pancakes with maple syrup, fresh cream and strawberries 🙂
Dinner was at Cafe Primo (31 Gouger st) – Vegetarian Risotto and a pancake for desert. The food was cheap, very tasty and made quickly. Order at the bar before getting seated.
Hutt Street offers a small variety of upmarket restaurants that please most tastes and Rundle Street features a large number of al fresco cafes and restaurants of varying budget and taste.