One afternoon/evening in Adelaide - where to go?
December 3, 2014 2:41 AM   Subscribe

I am in Adelaide, Australia with a car for one afternoon/evening. Is there anything I must see, that will get me back to the CBD tomorrow night?

I was planning to take public transpo everywhere but I ended up needing to rent a car. I have a meeting in Elizabeth (just north of town) tomorrow at 2pm. The rest of the day (probably 3pm on) is free, and I have the car. I would really like to visit a beach but will negotiate on that. I prefer natural wonders but manmade ones are great too. I need to get back to my hotel tomorrow night; my flight out is very early Friday. Thanks in advance for any tips!
posted by ftm to Travel & Transportation around Adelaide, Australia (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Elizabeth is pretty grim so I would get out of there quickly after my meeting.

My advice would be to drive back to the city via Semaphore if you want to swim in the sea. That's probably one of the nicer beaches on the north side.
posted by dydecker at 3:05 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Welcome to Adelaide! I live and work here in the CBD. I am car-free, and hardly ever go further than the Parklands. But I just had a look at a map, trying to think of what I would do if I had a car at my disposal and a tourist to show around for an afternoon.

Mt Lofty Botanic Garden can be delightful, and unlike the Botanic Garden in the city, it's not soundtracked by nearby traffic noise.

Brighton beach is nice, with good views and a jetty. And some nice shops and restaurants. Henley Beach, too, and Glenelg - Glenelg is the 'main' beach suburb, with lots of stuff on Jetty Rd.

Up the South Eastern Freeway into the Adelaide Hills, Stirling and Hahndorf have many attractions, natural, retail and dining. And there's a great lookout over the Adelaide Plains (the main metropolitan sprawl) at Mt Lofty.

I hope you have a good time! It's a lovely place.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 3:10 AM on December 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm glad you both mentioned beaches - I had been planning Glenelg, since it's on the metro, but I heard it's not the absolute best. So if my car simply nets me a really especially nice beach trip, I'll call it a win.
posted by ftm at 3:16 AM on December 3, 2014

I think all the beaches from Semaphore to Seacliff are about the same, in terms of sand, water and waves - peaceful and safe, in and out of the water.

Further south (e.g. Moana) you'll maybe get bigger waves, but it's all still pretty calm in general.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 3:25 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I cannot recommend Port Willunga highly enough. A lovely beach, cliffs with little caves, a small reef, a shipwreck if you're adventurous and a lovely cafe at the top of the hills. It's also a short drive to Maclaren Vale and wonderful wine tasting opportunities.

Then, when you are back in the city, head to Gouger Street for great Chinese food. A couple of streets over on Sturt St is Cantina Sociale, a lovely little wine bar.

Enjoy Adelaide. I wouldn't a teleporter back home for the day :-)
posted by pipstar at 3:38 AM on December 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

When I had a car and lived in Magill, I would often just head up into the hills and 'wander-drive' - just drive randomly along the winding roads, getting nicely lost and stumbling upon beautiful vistas. It'll be a nice day for that tomorrow - not too hot, not too cold. Wind down the window, take it easy, and discover hidden treasures.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:23 AM on December 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

I found the South Australia Museum fascinating, particularly their collection of Aboriginal art and artifacts. As an American, it was especially interesting to compare it to our once-ubiquitous "Indians under glass", displays on Native American life. The SA Museum is now doing a better and more respectful job, IMO, and I remember being pretty engrossed by the sections on Aboriginal pharmacology and canoe design.

The State Library of South Australia also has interesting small exhibits and a nice cafe.

We unfortunately did not make it to the Adelaide Tram Museum, which was recommended to us, but do suggest taking an early morning ride down to Glen Elg on the tram and walking on the beach. The neighborhood is a tourist trap, but the beach is nice early in the day before it gets busy. The Bay Discovery Center there also has a small exhibit on the Taman Shud Mystery, which we've discussed several times on MeFi.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:28 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whatever else you do, you need to drop by the South Australia Museum on North Terrace and pay a flying visit to the opalized plesiosaur skeleton. Seriously - a fossilized plesiosaur, all made of opal. You're never going to see anything like that again in your life!

Seconding the idea of simply heading up into the hills and getting lost. It's gorgeous up there. If you happen to pop out of a lane anywhere near the Chain of Ponds Winery, they have a terrace at the top of a range of hills where the breezes flow and they serve you fresh-baked bread with a bowl of home-pressed olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The wines are also pretty good! There's nothing better on a summer afternoon.
posted by tabubilgirl at 8:41 AM on December 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you can, head down to Hallett Cove Conservation Park. Magnificento.
posted by TrinsicWS at 4:07 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So Chain of Ponds has limited hours this season, but I figured if the view from there was nice, so would it be from nearby too. I picked up the car and went up there and then east to Birdwood, north to Lyndoch, and west to Gawler before hitting Elizabeth, stopping for photos and pints along the way. It was gorgeous and near 30C and honestly as a car guy, hustling that little 118i along those mountain roads put a massive grin on my face. Saw a kangaroo too!

My meeting went a bit long but I was determined to hit the beach, so I made it thru traffic to Port Willunga - which was foggy as the dickens but gorgeous - and then cut back to my hotel and had my last drink in Adelaide at the Clever Little Tailor, which was two notches too cool for me and was the first time here that I have had service that was anything but gracious and warm :)

I'm so sorry I missed the damn opalized skeleton, but that's something to show my wife on my return. Thanks to all, favorites all around, and Adelaide residents, you have my envy.
posted by ftm at 10:56 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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