It's often been overlooked for the likes of Sydney and Melbourne, but now Adelaide is really making a name for itself in travel world. Enticing couples with its fresh new dining options (including an array of highly awarded restaurants) and amazing nature, South Australia's capital is a winner for a short break or romantic getaway. Curious? Here's how to spend a weekend in wonderful Adelaide...
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Start your weekend escape the right way by getting out and discovering Adelaide's booming culinary scene. There's a slew of acclaimed spots to check out, from laid-back hangouts to sophisticated mood-lit establishments. Arguably Adelaide's trendiest haunt, Africola (feature image) in the CBD is a must-visit. Renowned for its exquisite African-inspired fare (expect delicious grilled and smoked meats, flatbreads and inventive desserts), this colourful spot invites diners to pick, mix and share flavoursome dishes.
If you feel like dressing up, pull up a chair at Restaurant Orana, also in the CBD. Earning itself an impressive collection of titles (including The Australian's Australia's 2018 Hottest Chef award, Gourmet Traveller's 2018 Restaurant of the Year award and Good Food Guide's 2019 Restaurant of the Year), it serves up the very best in Indigenous-inspired cuisine. Or, treat yourselves to excellent Italian fare at nearby Osteria Oggi – cin cin!
Not ready to call it a night? Order yourselves a nightcap at old-world Maybe Mae or take in dazzling city skyline views from 2KW's rooftop. Be sure to pop into the quirky A-frame Pink Moon Saloon at some point, tucked between two buildings on Leigh Street. The deli here is also great for a late-night snack – you know, if it takes your fancy.
Coffee-lovers, get your caffeine fix and a lazy breakfast at Exchange Speciality Coffee to get ready for the day ahead. If it's a unique experience you're seeking, hop along (pun intended) to the charming Peter Rabbit Cafe. A whimsical shipping-container-turned-cafe with a leafy garden, this enchanting spot attracts those in-the-know with its nourishing fare and resident rabbits (yes, you can pat them if you ask nicely).
A popular attraction that's definitely worth visiting, the Adelaide Zoo is sure to win over the young-at-heart. Known as the home of Australia's only two giant pandas, Wang Wang and Fu Ni, it's also where you'll spot fascinating creatures like African lions, Aldabra tortoises, giraffes and flamingos. To really make the most of your visit, book one of the zoo's 'Keeper for a Day' experiences or get your heart racing and feed the lions their lunch – unforgettable.
If you're looking to soak up some sunshine, make your way to Adelaide's beautiful Glenelg Beach (20 minutes southwest of the CBD). Perfect for a refreshing dip, this coastal locale is also fantastic for waterfront dining and a little retail therapy.
Another Adelaide icon worth ticking off the list is the historic Adelaide Central Market. A hub for providores and foodies for 150 years, the indoor market is where you can enjoy some of South Australia's best seasonal produce and meet the passionate creatives behind it. Be sure to check out their running programme of events – there's often cooking classes and craft workshops on offer throughout the year.
Haven't yet had your fill of hip dining spots? Wander along the city's Peel Street and claim a table wherever catches your eye (we recommend a progressive dinner if you really want to make a night of it). A number of stylish restaurants line the narrow laneway, with options like the aptly named Peel St, Bread & Bone, Clever Little Tailor, Alfred's Bar and 2nd & 6th promising a very good night out.
Before finishing up your romantic getaway, venture out and see Adelaide's sensational surrounds. Couples will love the heritage township of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills (30 minutes southeast of the CBD). Despite only being a short scenic drive from the city, it looks straight out of fairytale, boasting rolling emerald hills, tree-lined streets, almost countless wineries and quaint boutiques. Australia's first German settlement (as the name might suggest), Hahndorf is also the place to go for a little bavarian culture – it'd be rude not to enjoy a pretzel and a stein of beer!
Nature-lovers and keen hikers, cap off a brilliant short break by lacing up your walking shoes and visiting Waterfall Gully in the nearby Cleland Conservation Park (20 minutes southeast of the CBD). The walking trail here can be a bit of a challenge, taking you through steep hills and stringybark forest. At the end, though, you'll be rewarded with unbelievable views of the city and of a truly majestic waterfall. Prefer to take things easy? Accessible by road, Utopia @ Waterfall Gully is a converted century-old stone chalet with Australia's last remaining heritage tea room. High tea and waterfall views? What a marvellous way to top off an Adelaide escape!
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Image credits: Andre Castellucci, Food & Wine Collective, South Australian Tourism Commission, Meaghan Coles, South Australian Tourism Commission/Adam Bruzzone