SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Boasting impressive architectural beauty, a dedication to the fine arts and an ever-growing collection of first-class cafes and restaurants, Adelaide is the land of sophisticated stays. While it still maintains its moniker as the city of churches, there’s so much more to see and do that the spires all but fade into the background.
Thanks to the foresight of early European settlers, Adelaide is a neatly planned grid of streets, avenues and malls surrounded by a ring of parks. This makes it both simple to navigate and easy on the eye, with corridors of green space breathing fresh life into the city year-round. The architecture here is also impressive, with many grand old buildings – like the Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury - presenting beautiful stone facades to passers-by.
The Mortlock Wing of the State Library is another perfect example of this, sitting on the edge of North Terrace. Considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, its grand interior houses more than 23,000 books set amongst an old-world ambience.
Continuing on the cultural route, the Art Gallery of South Australia is a must-visit, housing more than 38,000 permanent works, whilst at Festival Theatre you can enjoy world class ballet, orchestra and musical theatre.
For something a little more contemporary, make your way to the Rhino Room on Frome Street. This Adelaide institution is impossible to miss with its giant purple mural and is home to some of the best performance artists in the country. Comedy is their speciality and the likes of Arj Barker, Adam Hills, Stephen K Amos and Ross Noble have graced the stage. If you fancy a turn, sign up for their open mic night every Thursday should you wish to try out some of your own material. Rhino Room.
When it comes to eating in South Australia’s cultural capital you really are spoilt for choice. There’s Andre’s Cucina for mouth-watering Italian and a convivial atmosphere, Peel Street for incredible flavour combinations (even the basics are incredible here and we have an ongoing love affair with the maple roasted pear, goats curd , hazelnut, pickled radicchio and persimmon toastie) and St Louis for some of the creamiest ice-cream in existence.
Adelaide’s Central Market is a must-do visit for every foodie. With more than 80 traders setting up shop every Tuesday to Saturday it can be hard to know where to start. We suggest a visit to the Mushroom Man if even just to marvel at how many different types of mushroom exist, an investment in one of Dough’s fig and fennel loaves, a sample of the varied and worldly selection from The Smelly Cheese Shop and a final stop at Lucia’s Fine Foods where you can buy all things Italian and also sit down for a delicious bite to eat. Oh, and don’t forget to buy a Haigh’s chocolate frog – a must-eat on any visit.
With Adelaide’s proximity to some of Australia’s best wine regions, there’s also no shortage of excellent wine and small bars tucked away in city streets. Clever Little Tailor’s revolving wine list and intimate setting makes it a top choice, closely followed by The Henry Austin with its dapper interior and excellent cellar selection.
And, in keeping with Adelaide’s love of history and heritage, Apoteca Bar & Restaurant is named in honour of 142-year-old pharmacy cabinets (think ‘apothecary’) which grace the front bar. Originally from London, these mahogany pieces feature pure crystal drawer handles with 18-carat gold leaf inscriptions. A serious wine cellar housing more than 1200 wines awaits.
When it comes to sophisticated stays, The Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury offers classy apartment-style rooms in the CBD. The hotel is housed in the former State Treasury building, which stood at the centre of South Australia’s administrative and governmental affairs for more 130 years. It housed the Cabinet Room from 1876 until 1968. The Cabinet Room today remains unchanged including the original furniture.
Here in this room in 1894 a Constitutional Amendment to the Adult Suffrage act was passed giving Women the right to not only vote but also to stand for Parliament. This decision meant that South Australia was the first electorate not only in Australia but in the world to give equal political rights to both men and women.