With three days in Adelaide, you can admire the city’s historic architecture, cruise the water in search of dolphins, get up close to Kangaroo Island’s abundant wildlife, and enjoy a full day on the wine trail in McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley. That even leaves time to savor gourmet cuisine and experience a haunted jail. Here’s how.
Day 1: Dolphins and the City
When weather permits, start day one in Adelaide on the ocean in search of the dolphins that frequent the sanctuary off Glenelg Beach—in summer, you can even get in the water with them. Next, discover the city’s historic center, designed in the 18th century by Francis Light. Stroll along the Torrens River, wander the Botanic Garden, check out architecture from St. Peter’s Cathedral to Government House, and enjoy a shopping session at Rundle Mall. On a summer Sunday, finish with a visit to the bustling Adelaide Night Market; alternatively, get into the sporting spirit at the Adelaide Oval or slurp down international foods on Gouger Street.
Day 2: Kangaroo Island Explorer
No trip to South Australia would be complete without a visit to the nation’s third-largest island, Kangaroo Island—and many visitors choose to spend the night on this stunning wildlife reserve. Don’t miss the chance to walk on the beach among sea lions; meet native species such as wallabies, koalas, kangaroos, and echidnas; and capture dramatic rocky landscapes such as Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks. Perhaps opt for a 4WD adventure that takes you off the beaten track. Once you’re back in the city, enjoy a ghost tour—and a window into Australia’s turbulent past—at Adelaide Gaol, which dates back to 1841. Finish the night with a trip to one of the city’s new wave of craft beer bars such as Lady Burra, which majors on Portuguese food.
Day 3: Wining and Dining
South Australia’s wine country is known around the world, and three days in Adelaide gives you the chance to properly explore either McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley—with plenty of tastings too. On a typical wine tour, you visit as many as five different wineries and taste varietals from shiraz to chardonnay, enjoy a gourmet lunch at a winery restaurant, and perhaps stop at an artisan food store such as Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, run by the eponymous Australian celebrity chef. Once you return to the city, discover a different style of Australian original as you dine on indigenous ingredients such as lemon myrtle, quandong, plum pine, emu, and kangaroo at restaurants such as fine diner Orana or Red Ochre Grill. Wrap up your stay over a cocktail in a laneway bar.