South Australia is known as one of the Great Wine Capitals of the World, and it’s no wonder. With 18 glorious wine regions and more than 200 cellar doors located within an hour’s drive of the city, a thriving bar scene and plenty of fresh local produce to fuel an innovative and edgy restaurant industry, Adelaide is heaven for lovers of excellent food and wine. It’s also perfect for couples who like to get out and explore!
Thinking of getting away for a short break or weekend away? Add these marvellous experiences to your must-do list…
Related article: 48 hours in SA’s Adelaide Hills
You can’t come to such a famous wine capital and not spend a day sipping your way from one cellar door to the next, so forget a designated driver and book a Trail Hopper Tour to either McLaren Vale, Barossa or Adelaide Hills. They’ll pick you up and drop you off in the city, and give you a list of hand-picked cellar doors and restaurants to try – too easy! We made the trip to McLaren Vale and can highly recommend.
If you can’t make it to a winery area, then visit the National Wine Centre of Australia nestled in the beautiful Botanic Gardens. It not only delves into the history and practice of winemaking, but also offers plenty of chances for tasting! Check out the Interactive Wine Discovery Journey and Exhibition, and then hop along to the WINED Bar to try some of the city’s wines for yourselves. There are over 120 wines on offer here, so you’re spoilt for choice. Perhaps you can enjoy some tapas along with your selection – perfect for a romantic shared meal.
With so many fantastic restaurants to choose from, it can be hard to know which restaurant to try first. Our advice? Head to Mrs Q Asian Kitchen & Bar on Gouger Street if you love Modern-Asian cuisine. Climb the stairs to the first floor and be prepared to be wowed by this one-time ballroom and its unusual black vaulted ceiling. The food will also win you over, with a menu of Southeast Asian flavours ready for you to savour.
A current favourite with foodies is the vibrant Africola on East Terrace – do not miss. Here, the seating is communal, the vibe is hip, and the food is innovative and inventive. Make a booking before you leave home – it’s that popular.
If you fancy some Spanish food, saunter over to La Rambla Tapas Bar on trendy Peel Street. Spread over three levels (which include lounges and bars areas, and a deck), it’s the most authentic Catalan experience you’ll find in Adelaide.
Hungry for more? The Adelaide Central Markets (44-60 Gouger Street) has been a hub for fresh produce since 1869. And with over 70 stalls offering everything from organic fruit to meat, cheese, seafood and delicious baked goods, plus cafes and restaurants, it’s foodie heaven. If you’re a pizza and pasta fan, drop into Lucia’s Pizza and Spaghetti Bar here for the best pizza in town – it was Adelaide’s first pizza bar! There’s always something fun and exciting going on at the markets, whether it’s a cooking class, live demonstration or musical performance. Gourmands, you can even get a guided tour for a more in-depth experience.
Adelaide is a hub of arts and culture playing host to a fantastic array of festivals throughout the year, so it’s always a good idea to find out what’s on before you come.
Culture-vultures should check out the South Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Adelaide Gaol, the Migration Museum, Ayers House, and Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute – they are all well worth a visit.
Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills – not far from the city – is a small town sporting original German-style stone cottages and buildings. Unsurprisingly, it’s Instagram-gold in any season! Built by Prussian settlers in 1839, it’s Australia’s oldest surviving German township. Full of bakeries, cafes, craft and artisan boutiques, and a beautiful hotel (be sure to stop for a stein!), this charming spot is definitely worth visiting before discovering the nearby wineries. Top options for tastings and lunch include Shaw + Smith, Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard, Bird in Hand, Petaluma and The Lane Vineyard.
If you’re not yet ready to leave the Adelaide Hills, there are a slew of enchanting towns nearby to explore. Strathalbyn boasts an incredible array of historic buildings and antique shops, while Birdwood is where you’ll find the National Motor Museum. Fit in time for a visit to Crafters, with its heritage buildings and lovely Mt Lofty Botanic Garden.
City to sea
Before you leave, hop on a tram and make your way to Glenelg for a day by the beach (they run from the city and back regularly). The place buzzes, especially in the summertime when couples and families soak up the sunshine and play ball-games on the beach.
Wining and dining at any one of the many cafes, bars and restaurants that line Jetty Road is a real treat here. Be sure to also get your fashion-fix at any of the trendy local boutiques or take in a movie at the cinema for a fantastic day out. Top it all off by watching the sun set over the ocean cocktail in-hand at Marina Pier before enjoying a romantic dinner at one of the fine-dining restaurants nearby.
Need to Know
Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury offers fully equipped kitchens in their one- and two-bedroom apartments – great if you’re travelling with family or another couple.
The Playford Hotel located in the heart of the city’s cultural precinct is a great option for couples looking to add a touch of luxury to their short break.
Try Thrifty Rentals on Hindley Street for the best price and service. Helpful links: Stay: The Playford Hotel // The Playford Hotel Play: Trailhopper // Festivals Adelaide // Thrifty Car Rentals
Eat and drink:National Wine Centre of Australia // Mrs Q Asian Kitchen & Bar // Africola // La Rumba Tapas Bar
Thinking of getting away for a short break? Find romantic South Australia accommodation here…
Image credits: South Australian Tourism Commission, Josie Withers, Jonathan van der Knaap, Heliguy and Novatech Creative Event Technology