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BBQ Buoys
Photograph: SuppliedBBQ Buoys

Adelaide's best tourist attractions

From giant markets to adventure parks, here are the best Adelaide attractions for locals and tourists alike

Written by
Petra Starke
Written by
Oliver Marshall
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Please remember to observe social distancing and good hygiene habits. Some listed venues/experiences may be closed – be sure to check ahead.

Looking for the best things to do in Adelaide? South Australia's bustling capital city has much to offer both tourists and locals alike even in this pesky Covid-19 time. Whether you're visiting for a quick weekend away or an extended stay, we've rounded up all our favourite activities – from amazing places to eat and drink, to the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb and family-friendly strawberry picking, via a quick stop at the zoo. Before stepping out in the city, be sure to check out our selection of the best things to do in Adelaide. Planning on spending the night? Here are the best hotels in Adelaide, or for something a little more affordable, Adelaide's best cheap hotels.

Adelaide's best attractions

  • Things to do
  • Markets
  • Adelaide Central

What is it? Established in 1869, the Adelaide Central Market is the undisputed jewel in the city's produce crown.

Why go? One of the largest undercover markets in the southern hemisphere, it has more than 70 traders from over 40 nationalities under the one roof, selling a whopping one million kilograms of fruit and vegetables every month – not to mention meat, cheese, seafood, coffee, spices, and smallgoods. The market is a melting pot of cuisines such as Lucias Fine Foods, which is argued to be the first Australian restaurant to serve pizza, and Real Falafel, which serves incredible Middle Eastern falafel wraps. So you can't go wrong by just walking in and wandering the aisles, but if you want a true taste of ‘the Market’ (as the locals call it), book yourself on a guided tour.

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Adelaide Station Arcade

What is it? A fleet of round, floating vessels in the Riverbank precinct with smoke emanating from the middle, manned by people waving tongs. Are they boats? Are they barbecues? Actually, they're both, and they're the best idea ever.

Why go? Yes, the BBQ Buoys (see what they did there?) boats combine the tranquility of floating along the river with the joy of a sausage sizzle, each circular boat kitted out with a gas grill in the centre. The boats range from couple-sized right up to a ten-seater, with two-hour rentals starting at $150 (for two). BYO food and drink, or choose from a range of local beers, wines and ciders, and pre-made ‘grazer platters’ of South Australian meats and other goodies – and, yes, vegetarians are looked after too. This is definitely a summer activity, reopening for the season each September. 

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • North Adelaide

What is it: The opportunity to walk on the roof of the much-admired Adelaide Oval with panoramic views of the city below.

Why go: The Adelaide Oval is the site of some of the most epic sports clashes in Australia, if not the world, and there’s no better way to experience it than 50 metres above the famed turf. There’s a variety of roof climbs on offer in the day, twilight and night, but if you want something really special you can do a climb during Port Power or Adelaide Crows games and watch the action from the sky seats. If that all sounds a bit too pulse-pounding then don’t worry, as they also offer roof climb yoga. Climbing times and prices vary depending on your tour of choice.

  • Attractions
  • Zoos
  • Hackney

What is it? One of Adelaide's perennially popular family attractions, the Zoo is home to Australia's only giant pandas – Funi and Wang Wang – which, let's face it, is more than enough reason to visit. (Take our word for it, they're seriously cute.)

Why go? If ogling cuddly, bamboo-eating mammals is a little too tame for you, then check out the ‘animal experiences’ on offer such as hand-feeding the Sumatran tigers and African lions, giving Aonika the Aldabra Tortoise her daily vegetable quota or getting up close and personal with the zoos many primates. But our pick of the bunch to get the real life experience is Keeper for a Day ($370 per person) where you spend the day shadowing a keeper on their many exciting daily tasks. 

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  • Attractions
  • Farms
  • Greater Adelaide

What is it? If you've ever eaten breakfast at a fancy hotel or on a Qantas flight you've probably eaten Beerenberg. A South Australian institution, the family-owned company has been making delicious jams at its Adelaide Hills strawberry farm since 1970, and distributing them in cute miniature jars all over the world since the 1980s.

Why go? Although the brand now makes 75 different preserves big and small, its strawberry jam remains the most famous, made fresh from the fruit picked from the farm's strawberry plants in Hahndorf, 30 minutes out of Adelaide (Beerenberg actually means “berry hill” in German). Every year from November to April you can grab a punnet and wander the farm yourself, picking your own fresh berries to take home for just $5 per person and $10.95 per kilo. There's no better way to spend a sunny day than wandering Beerenberg's picturesque strawberry patch, hunting down the perfect luscious berries to eat later. If you’re not in Adelaide during strawberry season don’t fret as the produce store is open all year round and is well worth a drive through the gloriously scenic hills. 

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

What is it? This unique marine experience lets you swim with Southern Bluefin tuna – dubbed ‘the Ferraris of the Ocean’ – in a specially designed in-sea aquarium on Granite Island, an hour south of Adelaide.

Why go? Departing from the busy tourist hub of Victor Harbor, a quick catamaran ride delivers you to the aquarium where you're fitted out with a wetsuit, mask, booties, and gloves before diving into the clear, clean waters of Encounter Bay to experience tuna up to 2.5 metres long whooshing past your body with impressive speed. Those who prefer to stay dry can feed the tuna from the surface, or view the sights from the glass-sided underwater viewing area. It’s also a great way to learn about South Australia’s unique tuna farming industry whilst, of course, experiencing some adventure!

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Port Adelaide

What is it: A brewery and eatery in the historic suburb of Port Adelaide.

Why go: Founded in 2014 by brewer mates Jack Cameron and Jared ‘Red’ Proudfoot, Pirate Life has been one of the pioneering breweries of an Adelaide craft beer scene that has well and truly exploded. In 2019, they moved into their huge brewery and taproom in Port Adelaide from their previous space in the inner west of Adelaide and haven’t looked back. The Taproom features an ever-changing list of mainstay and exclusive beers, a games room and an outdoor fire pit, where you can get tasty morsels straight off the grill. It even features a barber to keep all those visiting beards tidy. The Tap Room is in front of the 5,000-litre brew kit and if you want to know a bit more about the beer you’re drinking they offer brewery tours daily.

  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • West Beach

What is it? Play tennis in the sky, ride a BMX bike mid-air, or sit at a sky-high picnic table as part of this unique aerial obstacle course – all while enjoying views of Adelaide.

Why go? Formerly Mega Adventure Park, West Beach Adventure is a amazing 26-metre tall playground in West Beach with more than 70 aerial obstacles in its SkyChallenge, including suspension bridges, swings, scramble nets, and vertical climbs specifically designed for you to get your Spider-man on. Real risk takers can take a leap of faith from the 18-metre tall Mega Jump free-fall simulator, as well as testing their gladiator skills in the sky. Those with less of a daredevil streak can enjoy the views from the tamer Skywalk.

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What is it: A great way to see a city, on wheels.

Why go: Segway Sensation SA offers small group tours on Segways – two-wheeled electric scooters you control just by leaning. It might sound tricky but it's all pretty intuitive, and all tours include a short training session before you set off. Take the Adelaide Riverbank tour and roll along a 6km trail by the River Torrens taking in attractions like Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Festival Centre and Adelaide Zoo as you glide past them at up to 15 kilometres an hour. They also offer tours of Seppeltsfield Winery in the Barossa Valley, where you can glide among the grapevines in one of the most picturesque parts of the state. Best save your wine tasting for afterwards, though – you shouldn't sip and Segway.

  • Attractions
  • Farms

What is it: A restaurant, farm shop and accommodation offering from famous SA identity Maggie Beer, set on her very picturesque farm in the Barossa Valley.

Why go: If you know even just a little about South Australia you’d know there’s few bigger food personalities than Maggie Beer. And when you see what this celebrity cook has created on her farm in the heart of the Barossa Valley you’ll discover what all the fuss is about. The Farmshop and Farm Eatery is about an hour from the Adelaide CBD, just out of Nuriootpa, and everything about it has Maggie’s touch. There’s the store to shop for foodie things and flagship products including the famous Maggie Beer verjuice. Then there’s the acclaimed restaurant that uses ingredients of the season harvested from the property, and lovely walks around the grounds and its beautiful lake. If you want to take your time and soak up more of the fresh country air you can stay at Maggie’s refurbished original farmhouse among the orchards, pick some herbs from her garden and, after all the inspiration, get cooking in a pretty special country kitchen.

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