South Australia’s cosmopolitan capital

A compact city with around 1.3 million inhabitants, Adelaide is the gateway to nearly 20 renowned wine regions. As the capital of the Festival State, there’s a busy calendar of cultural and sporting events held throughout the year from the internationally celebrated Adelaide Fringe arts festival to the high-octane motor race for super cars, the Adelaide 500. A buzzing restaurant and café scene benefits from the exceptional regional produce that passes through the bustling Adelaide Central Market while the city’s best bars showcase locally produced world-acclaimed, South Australian wines.

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From swimming with wild dolphins to wineries

Named in honour of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as a planned capital for a British colony of free settlers in Australia.

It was laid out by early colonist Colonel William Light whose grid structure remains the heart of the CBD with a large central square surrounded by wide terraces (conveniently named North, South, East and West) that ease onto vast green parklands. These are now used for a variety of sporting activities and events such as the Adelaide Fringe Festival and WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance). In summer, join locals cycling round Rymill Park and sailing miniature wooden boats on the lake.

On the North Terrace you’ll notice the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute which seems to float like a giant cheese grater above other buildings. It’s the perfect example of the type of new audacious architecture that has recently turned Adelaide’s conservative image as home to beautiful old buildings – such as Parliament House, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the State Library and the South Australian Museum – on its head.

Rub shoulders with local chefs as they choose quality locally grown produce from more than 250 stalls at the outstanding undercover Adelaide Central Market (open Tuesday to Saturday); take a tramcar ride through leafy suburbs to bayside Glenelg for lunch and a swim with wild dolphins; gear-up for the adrenalin-pumping RoofClimb atop the Adelaide Oval, home to cricket and the Adelaide Football Club (nicknamed The Crows) where you can watch play on match days from a 50-m high vantage point above the turf; or drive up to Mt Lofty to take in the panoramic views over the city.

Thanks to its location on an elongated narrow plain between the Adelaide Hills to the east and the Gulf of St Vincent to the west, the city is the hub for the state’s ever-burgeoning wine industry, with extensive manicured vineyards and award-winning wineries within easy access by car. Notable among these are the spectacular new food and wine experience at d’Arenberg Cube in McLaren Vale; a guided tasting and vineyard visit at St Hugo in the Barossa Valley north of the city and the neighbouring, redeveloped historic Seppeltsfield, where you can savour tawny port from the year of your birth.

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