Sunshine Coasters can now enjoy easy access to experience the cultural mecca of Adelaide thanks to the recent launch of direct flights to the vibrant city with Jetstar. A haven for food and wine aficionados, the city of churches has really come of age, as Ingrid Nelson recently discovered.
Adelaide, it’s been a long time between drinks my friend – 20-odd years to be exact and my how you’ve matured. Like a fine bottle of red, you’ve improved with age to become a classy and cultured city with a plethora of great restaurants, a pumping arts and live music scene, and a rapidly growing number of trendy bars and eateries tucked away in the city’s laneways.
Known as the 20-minute city, Adelaide has been dubbed one of the best planned cities in Australia and it’s easy to see why. Set along the river and surrounded by lush parklands, it’s friendly, welcoming and easy to get around. I’m not surprised to discover the Lonely Planet listed it as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit (2014).
With so much to see and do, it’s hard to know where to start, but good food is always a great way to kick things off.
Showcasing some of the city’s best fresh produce, an experience you can’t afford to miss is the Adelaide Central Market. Established more than 140 years ago, and one of the largest produce markets in Australia, it’s home to a huge range of fresh produce and 80-plus specialist stalls and restaurants, many of which have been passed down to third and fourth generations. Spend a day soaking up the sights, tastes, sounds and smells of this colourful market and make sure you stop for a spot of lunch at the famous Lucia’s Pizza and Spaghetti Bar. Established in 1957 and serving up authentic homestyle Italian cuisine, the iconic family restaurant is a firm favourite among the locals and although packed on the day of our visit, it was well worth the wait.
If you’re interested to hear the stories behind some of the stall holders, many of whom have been there more than 20 years, do yourself a favour and take part in one of Mark Gleeson’s Central Market tours. With over 30 years experience as a chef and 20 years as a stallholder, this larger-than-life character provides visitors with the opportunity to interact with suppliers, producers and retailers, sample their food and gives a great commentary on the history of the markets. He also runs a great cooking school on site.
After indulging in copious amounts of delicious food, cheese, sweets and wine, I can highly recommend taking a load off and enjoying the sights and sounds of this beautiful city in an EcoCaddy. The fleet of hybrid electric passenger tricycles provide a unique form of public transport, and their knowledgeable caddies offer an informative commentary of the city’s history, buildings and hot spots.
Although the rain and unusually cooler temperatures on the day of our EcoCaddy tour didn’t hamper our experience, the delicious bubble bath that awaited at our beautiful hotel never felt so good. Located in the heart of the city, the Majestic Rooftop Hotel is perfectly situated near popular Rundle Street with its array of restaurants, cafes and boutique shopping, and offers all the comforts you would expect from a 4.5 star hotel.
One of the highlights of this exciting city is its innovative and adventurous dining scene, partly driven by new, relaxed licensing laws that have brought a swarm of trendy new wine bars and cafes.
One of the highlights of this exciting city is its innovative and adventurous dining scene, partly driven by new, relaxed licensing laws that have brought a swarm of trendy new wine bars and cafes.”
If it’s a good steak you’re craving, you can’t go past Blackwood. Located in bustling Rundle Street, like its sister restaurant Orana, it embraces Australian culture, ingredients and low-intervention wines. The menu is simple and unfiltered, offering delicious meals that represent the true flavour of this land.
Keen to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? A 30-minute drive from the centre of town will see you in the heart of the picturesque Adelaide Hills, and the best way to see it is through an exclusive wine tour with Life is a Cabernet Tours. Charming owner Ralf Hadzic and his team offer a unique and entertaining experience.
First stop was the famous Haigh’s Chocolate Visitor Centre, which you simply can’t afford to miss. Australia’s oldest family-owned chocolate makers since 1915, the factory is like something out of Willy Wonka, with more chocolates than I have ever seen in one shop. Visitors can also view the confectioners using meticulous artisan skills to create and hand-finish their products. A must do!
We backed it up with more chocolate tasting (as you do), this time with wine at Handorf Hill Winery – devine.
There are plenty of great restaurants to chose from in the Hills, including Pike & Joyce Cellar Door, where we enjoyed a delicious leisurely lunch before heading back to our hotel for an afternoon siesta.
We may have been in a self-induced food coma at this stage, so just as well the beautifully-appointed rooms at The Crafers Hotel offered the perfect setting for some R&R before dinner.
Each of the rooms have been designed in keeping with the 1830s heritage of the building. My luxury suite featured high ceilings with an ornate chandelier, cosy fireplace, large bathtub, heated floor tiles and a plush king size bed.
While you’re in this part of the region, make sure you try the pizzas at Lost in the Forest, a popular eatery converted from an old church; it has a great atmosphere and was the perfect way to end our trip to this fabulous city.
Adelaide, it was great to see you again, and I won’t leave it so long between drinks next time – promise.
The writer was a guest of Jetstar and South Australian Tourism Commission. Jetstar flies from the Sunshine Coast Airport direct to Adelaide three times weekly.