Discovering bronze pigs, bluestone mansions and watching the most amazing sunsets are only some of the things to do in Adelaide. A city of festivals, museums and gardens, Australia’s fifth largest city doesn’t share the same convict roots as other Australian cities. Adelaide has its own special charm and a relaxed pace. It’s a city of culture, churches and creative spaces showcasing exciting events. Another good thing about visiting Adelaide is it’s a compact city that’s easy to get around. Throw in the fact that Adelaide is right on the doorstep of some of the world’s best wine regions and other amazing places to visit in South Australia. Bookmark our guide on what to do in Adelaide.
When in Adelaide sightseeing and particularly if you’re travelling with the kids in Adelaide, a place to visit is the Rundle Mall. Rundle Mall is in the heart of the city’s main shopping precinct. While most shopping malls in Australia look much like the next, Rundle Mall stands out as an outdoor gallery with its set of life-sized bronze pigs. In 1999, Adelaide City Council commissioned local artist Marguerite Derricourt to create the bronze pigs. Most of Adelaide’s residents supported the idea and voted on naming them Truffles, Oliver, Horatio and Augusta. Oliver rummages through one of the mall’s overflowing rubbish bins, while Augusta stares soulfully into the eyes of anyone who sits on the bench in front of it. Horatio looks like it’s about to take off in a trot to join the activity along the mall.
If you’re looking for cultural activities in Adelaide, there’s a lot happening on North Terrace day and night. For a dose of art and culture, soak it up at the Art Gallery of South Australia. While the gallery’s traditional focus was on British painting and sculpture, it also has a strong collection of Aboriginal art from all over the country including Central Australian dot paintings.
Ayers House Museum is a colonial mansion that illustrates Victorian domestic life. Guided tours take you on a historical tour of the period and a look at historic costumes, silver, artwork and furniture. The house itself is an important exhibit which contains ornamental painted finishes on its internal walls and ceilings. If you’re in the mood for more history and culture, a visit to the South Australian Museum should satisfy that craving. The museum has the largest collection in the world of Australian Aboriginal cultural artifacts (over 3000), including the Yuendumu Doors. Then there’s the impressive South Australian Biodiversity Gallery focusing on South Australia’s marine life.
The State Library of South Australia is a cultural institution and a repository of South Australia’s rich history. Treasures kept here include intriguing photographs and artwork of Adelaide’s growth throughout the centuries, old letters, diaries, maps and manuscripts. Permanent exhibitions in the Mortlock Wing are a showcase of the rich tapestry of life in South Australia. The displays cover a range of subjects including the European discovery and exploration of South Australia, arts, architecture, wine, sport, religion and emigration.
Located in Victoria Square, one of Adelaide’s most important colonial sites – the original State Treasury building – was constructed in 1839 and designed by colonial architect George Strickland Kingston. In 2002, this impressive colonial building was converted into a 21st-century luxury apartment hotel, the Medina Grand Adelaide Treasury. Inside, there is a museum which displays maps and instruments from South Australia’s early settlers. Underneath the building, there are secret tunnels that once housed gold pounds. South Australia’s first Cabinet room is also open for viewing.