South Australia is holding on to its title of the Festival State in 2021 with a slew of fiestas scheduled throughout the year. The Adelaide Fringe is filled with music and performances from cabaret to comedy and even an invisible orchestra.
Tasting Australia draws some of the country’s best chefs for a week of non-stop cooking in a celebration of local produce. Find comfort in the return of beloved local celebrity chef Maggie Beer as she once again hosts and presents at the food festival.
Many events are held in Adelaide but others will take you further afield to the state’s rolling vineyards and the Eyre Peninsula. You’ll be tempted to stay and immerse yourself in the great outdoors. Off the Eyre Peninsula, you can swim with sea lions and great white sharks.
Here are some of the best activities for a holiday in South Australia.
Arts, culture and sport
Adelaide is the beating heart of South Australia’s arts and culture scene. First port of call: spend the day getting lost in the halls of the Art Gallery of South Australia, which is home to 38,000 pieces from around the world.
Whether your passion is wine and food, or arts and culture, there’s a festival in Adelaide for you. Visit from late February to early March to catch the Adelaide Festival and Adelaide Fringe. The jam-packed programs cover song, dance, talks, performance and theatre. One of the highlights of the Adelaide Festival is the opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and superstar Jessica Mauboy will perform on opening night.
The Adelaide Fringe will host slightly left-field events. Festivalgoers will find big name acts like comedian Ross Noble, Jimeoin and plenty more.
For sports lovers, the AFL season kicks off in March with games running through till April. When the games are not on, visitors can take a tour of Adelaide Oval and even walk across the rooftop of the oval’s Western Stand with RoofClimb.
Family and kids
The Great Wine Capital of South Australia is not just for adults; there are plenty of family-friendly holiday options to book for the next school holidays.
Some of the country’s most beautiful beaches lie on Adelaide’s fringe. Glenelg is a popular beach among locals and has some lovely cafes. Kids will enjoy riding the colourful waterslides or visiting historic Aussie chocolatier Haigh’s for some sweet treats.
Adelaide Zoo is home to 25,000 animals and 250 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish over eight hectares of botanic surroundings. The kids will be entertained for hours.
And speaking of animals, the Monarto Safari Park, just a 50-minute drive from Adelaide, is an open-range sanctuary which has a special breeding program for rare and endangered species. It is home to South Australia’s first southern white rhinoceros and Australia’s largest giraffe herd.
Food and drink
South Australia is blessed with fabulous food and drink offerings. It might be known for its cellar doors and rolling vineyards, but gin distilleries and beer breweries are popping up across the state.
From the Barossa to the Clare Valley, there are hundreds of cellar doors that pair vino with the freshest local produce.
The Adelaide Hills has 60 cellar doors, including the famous Shaw + Smith vineyard. A partnership between cousins Michael Hill Smith and Martin Shaw, the winery makes excellent sauvignon blanc, M3 chardonnay, cool climate shiraz and pinot noir. If you love your cocktails, Ambleside Distillers produces unique spirits – mandarin gin, anyone? – that are a favourite in city bars.
Back in the city, head to Leigh and Peel streets in the heart of the CBD. Filled with cosmopolitan restaurants and cafes, the area also has a thriving bar scene. Don’t miss Shobosho restaurant, for next-level yakitori, dumplings and bao drawing on influences from Korea, China and Taiwan.
Nature and outdoor
From the rugged coastline to the vast outback, South Australia is an explorer’s paradise. The Flinders Ranges and outback are like navigating the unexplored face of Mars. Towering ancient cliffs and deep craters make for an exciting road-trip.
Take the long route along the Aboriginal Dreaming Trail. There are lovely hikes and glamping options where you can sleep under a blanket of stars.
But if you are strapped for time, an aerial tour of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre gives visitors a tour of this wonderful region.
Heading to the coast, the pristine Yorke Peninsula has lovely sandy-white shores and then head to one of the local breweries to cool down. There are some lovely glamping options but if you’re looking for something a little more rustic, visitors can camp in the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park.
When it comes to shopping, Adelaide’s Rundle Mall is the place to start. With over 700 retailers in one convenient pedestrian-friendly strip, it’s South Australia’s most popular shopping destination. Other Adelaide shopping strips to hit, include boutique Rundle Street, luxe King William Road, Norwood Parade and Burnside Village.
Head to the regional areas to buy local art, craft, unique homewares, clothing and accessories. Visit trendy boutiques, meander through a vibrant market or take-home art from galleries and studios. And stock up on some of the world’s best seafood in the Eyre Peninsula.
Take me there
Fly: There are daily flights from Canberra to Adelaide starting from $296 return. Flights from Sydney start from $204 return.
Tours and experiences: KI Day Tours; Adelaide Oval Stadium Tours & RoofClimb; swim with sharks or sealions.
Events: Tour Down Under; Cellar Door Festival; Tasting Australia.
Explore more: helloworld.com.au