Begin your walking tour of the city where East Terrace meets North Terrace, the broad boulevard that houses most of the state’s top tier cultural institutions. Orienting yourself is simple in Adelaide, but you can easily spend hours getting lost on the Adelaide Botanic Garden’s twisting paths. Linger by the lily ponds, stop to smell the roses or check out the onsite restaurant and kitchen garden.

Back on North Terrace, pass the University of Adelaide before stopping at the classical colonnaded entrance of the Art Gallery of South Australia. It was the first major gallery in the country to acquire works from Indigenous painters, and also has strong Australian colonial and modernist collections as well as many international works in the collection of almost 45,000 pieces.

Art Gallery of South Australia

Next door, the South Australian Museum also casts its gaze both near and far. You can explore the largest collection of Indigenous cultural material in the world, or venture a world away to the mummies and artworks in the Ancient Egyptian room. And if you prefer natural history, the stunning mineral collection houses the two most valuable opals in the world among many other treasures.

The highlight of the adjacent State Library is the magical Mortlock Wing, an ornate French Renaissance construction with elaborate wrought iron and wood furnishings.

State Library of South Australia – Mortlock Wing

As you continue along North Terrace, imagine what’s going on behind the walls of Government House then admire the grand marble and granite Parliament House and neo-classical sandstone Railway Station. Duck through the vast marble hall, walk past the Festival Centre and you’ll emerge at the River Torrens. Compete with ducks and black swans for a space on the broad grassy banks, or sit on the shade of the heritage rotunda in Elder Park where many public concerts are held.

The river is known by the Kaurna traditional owners as Karrawirra Parri (river of the redgum forest) for the magnificent trees that used to line its banks. To learn about their culture and how it has been impacted by the settlement of Adelaide, take the Kaurna walking trail that begins here.

Across the river, the redeveloped Adelaide Oval is still among the most picturesque sporting grounds in the world. Summer cricket matches are now joined by weekly football matches during winter and watching either from beneath the beautiful hand operated scoreboard is an unforgettable experience. When there’s no sport you can tour the ground and see a wide range of sporting memorabilia.

A long linear park stretches out along the river in either direction. Follow it east and you’ll soon arrive at Adelaide Zoo – Australia’s second oldest zoo. There are more than 2500 animals, but the most popular by far are Wang Wang and Funi, Australasia’s only breeding pair of giant pandas.

Then complete the circuit at the National Wine Centre on North Terrace. There are educational exhibits on winemaking, a small vineyard and plenty of wine to taste. Either choose something that takes your fancy or defer to a sommelier on a hosted tasting: with 18,000 bottles in the cellar, some expert help can be useful. 

National Wine Centre of Australia

Travel Tip: Don’t forget to make time for Adelaide’s delightful suburban beaches. Jetties are interspersed regularly along the coastline and there’s always a quiet spot to watch the sun setting over the water.