The Unseasoned Guide to Adelaide

The Unseasoned Guide to Adelaide

I don’t think I ever truly appreciated Adelaide until I lived overseas. 

Don’t get me wrong, living in Seoul for four years in my twenties was incredible, and something I’m very lucky to have done. It was vibrant, exciting, and heck, I even met my wife there (and she’s pretty cool). 

But I also lived on the edge of exhaustion. My commute often involved using my hind legs to push myself backwards into crowded subway trains, my evening walk meant walking beside congested roads, and I can still clearly remember the refreshing taste of clean air every time I headed out on a weekend trip to the countryside. 

Adelaide on the other hand seems to be the mumma bear of cities. It’s not too busy, it’s not too quiet, it’s just… right. 

There’s a comfort to Adelaide. Things change but not too quickly so it always has a beautiful familiarity to come home to. And I think that you don’t really appreciate the beauty of this, until you go away and come back. 

Here are 7 reasons why I love being an Adelaide local: 

1. The walks
I’m lucky enough to live about 30 seconds from the edge of the River Torrens and I love the fact that I can still meet cuddly koalas, cheeky cockatoos and the cutest duckies (it’s only one month to duckling season people!) in the inner city. Even if I’ve had the roughest of days, I find it so hard to be mad with the world when I’m walking alongside a peaceful river. 

Here are a few of my favourite places to walk in inner Adelaide:

  • Along the Torrens between Sir Douglas Nichols Bridge and the Gilberton Swing Bridge - this is just the best part of the river. The river crossing and boardwalk once you hit Gilberton is so pretty and you only need to make a slight detour to end up at Fix Specialty Coffee, which is the most crazily affordable (but still scrumptious) cafe for such a bougie suburb. You also get bonus points on this walk if you can spot the phallic symbol that the construction crew built into the asphalt on Sir Douglas Nichols Bridge. 

  • From Stanley Street to the top of the North Adelaide Golf Course - if you love daydreaming about which house you’d buy if you won the lottery, then this is the walk for you. I’d personally buy every last one of the 19th century row houses along Stanley Street and fill them all with house plants, but if you’re the kind of person who prefers a casual mega mansion, I won’t judge. 

  • Through the Botanic Gardens at 8pm on a summer evening - seriously, has no one else realised yet how late the Adelaide Botanic Gardens is open in the summertime? You can walk through the whole gardens without seeing a single other person at times! And if you’re after a nice romantic outing that won’t break the bank, find yourself a nice picnic spot and get Uber Eats delivered to the North Terrace gates. 
2. It’s still affordable to live here

I have to admit that Sydney is probably the nicest city in the world if you can afford to live anywhere near the harbour, but seriously, if I lived in Sydney my budget would probably mean living a two hour commute from the city in some suburban hellscape rather than somewhere like Double Bay.

Yes, Adelaide house prices have gone up a crazy amount in the past couple of years, but it is still way more affordable to live in decent parts of Adelaide versus the big east coast cities. And if we really need to, we’re still only a quick flight to Melbourne or Sydney for a quick weekend away. 


3. The food and coffee
You probably think I’m about to mention all of our incredible restaurants that are ranked in the top 100 nationwide. But no. Here are a few of my favourite haunts that you don’t need generational wealth to afford: 

  • Chicken Chef chips - until I tried them for myself I thought people were exaggerating. They’re not - Chicken Chef is that good! An honourable mention though to The Highway in Plympton who comes in at a close second in the hot chippies category. 

  • Rolls on the run - yep this one is way out in humble Munno Para and it’s amazing. Order the combination bun bowl and thank me later. 

  • Mandoo - Mandoo offers Adelaide’s second best Korean food after my wife’s home cooking (they may have her beat on the beef bibimbab though…). 

  • Chicken and Pig - this place isn’t exactly a secret, so you’ll probably need to line up before opening time like you’re some kind of weird Melbournian to make sure you get first access to the good salads, but it’s well worth the wait. 

  • Parwana - more expensive than the others, but their fried dumplings mean that they deserve to be included on every food list there is.

  • Platform 10 - easily the best coffee I've ever ordered in a railway station. My other fave coffee spots include Elementary, Peter Rabbit, Fix and My Kingdom for a Horse


4. The traffic is tolerable

If you think Adelaide has bad traffic and bad drivers, you seriously just haven’t driven anywhere else. We may no longer be the 20 minute city, but it is still really easy to get around. The only change I’d love to see made is for the Northern Connector to not have white lane lines on a light grey coloured road - it makes for an interesting time when it rains.

5. There are so many ridiculously awesome places within daytripping distance

As a photographer, I could list a thousand places here, but you should start by visiting: 

  • Sellicks Beach in the early spring when the rolling hills are emerald green. That whole section of the Fleurieu is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to anywhere in the world. If you’ve never been, check out this card to see what you’re missing out on.

  • Port Elliot. Horseshoe Bay is just the best in the summer. I’ve also heard a rumour that there is a popular little bakery down there somewhere?

  • Hahndorf. I recently went to Hahndorf for the first time in more than five years and I was left a little bit in shock by how cool it was. Filled with German sausages, sauerkraut, cute cafes and beautiful historic buildings, it is very much worth the trip - so much so that I headed back up the freeway just two weeks later. Also if you’re a strawberry lover, you gotta check out Beerenberg Farm there and pick some of your own. 

  • The lower Flinders Ranges. If you’ve never been to towns like Laura (the home of Golden North) and Stone Hut, seriously do yourself a favour and make the trip. The backdrop of Mount Remarkable makes these towns so idyllic - and the nearby Alligator Gorge is a beautiful hike over the winter and spring. 

  • Everywhere else. I haven’t even mentioned the Barossa, Claire Valley, the rest of the Adelaide Hills or McLaren Vale yet, which is absolutely testament to just how much we have around us. 


6. The events

We may get skipped sometimes when a certain singer goes on a world tour, or the VFL (it still feels like that sometimes) locks in a 40 year contract to keep the footy grand final at the MCG, but I feel like people who say that nothing happens in Adelaide aren’t exactly looking very hard. 

From the Adelaide Fringe, to the best test match in the world to night time concerts at wineries, there are amazing things to do in Adelaide year round. Adelaide is even stepping it up a notch in winter with Illuminate, Glenelg Winterfest and the Cabaret Festival. Seriously, if you went to everything in SA Tourism’s events calendar, you’d be broke my friend. 

7. The wine

My second favourite beverage after coffee is wine. So Adelaide is the perfect spot to live. If you asked me my favourite wine region in South Australia, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.. There’s so many of them and they are all bloody good. A little shout out to a few spots though:

  • Hugh Hamilton - I knew I was going to love this place, the second I saw the black sheep statue out the front. Impressive wines, great service and 360 views from the cellar door. This is always top of the list when I show international guests around Adelaide. It never fails to impress. 

  • Shut the Gate - This is an absolute gem in the Clare Valley, if you’re a rose fan, you have to try theirs! And as a bonus The LIttle Grocer is right next door so you can make your very own platter to go with the wines.
  • D’arenberg - it’s not a trip to McLaren Vale if you haven’t popped in to D’arrys. Tasty wines and even tastier sites.  Have you seen our card to celebrate the cube?

  • Hentley Farm -  the cellar door is in the most beautiful 1800s cottage. There’s a magic feeling about this place, and the wines are pretty damn good too.

  • Beach Road - There’s nothing better than pizza with a view. This spot has some of the best views over McLaren Vale and some top drops too. 

From good food, to wine, to beaches, to festivals, Adelaide is the jack of all trades. And it always so humbly flies under the radar which makes it even more charming. I understand why people from here are so proud of where they live. Adelaide is awesome!

Get out there and enjoy it <3 

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