On our previous visit to South Australia we did make it in to Adelaide. It was, how ever, and extremely brief visit and not for a particularly good reason. As a result we spent maybe three hours in town and saw very little. This time we had a lay over of nearly 24 hours on our way to Alice Springs, so we decided this time we would see a bit of the city. Obviously, the time we had was still far too brief to provide any sort of real visit to the city, but we did what we could. I will now happily share with you all the bit of knowledge we did acquire about the lovely city of Adelaide.
Firstly, the airport in Adelaide is quite nice, largely because it is tiny. The staff was all very friendly and quite helpful, and they did not seem to mind the fact that we commandeered one of their couches to take an hour long nap. A fact we highly appreciated after two red eye flights. It is also quite easy to navigate and the bus stop and taxi stand are easy to get to. Like all the big cities in Australia, Adelaide has a decent journey planner on the public transit website. The bus drivers are also generally rather knowledgeable and friendly, which makes using the public transport simple and convenient. We were also informed by an American couple we met just before leaving the hostel that the Google maps app has the bus routes and times in it as well. For those used to using the app it may be easier then using the website. There are a couple of free busses that operate within the CBD as well.
Now, as for things to do while in town we have a few suggestions. The botanic gardens were a lovely place to spend a few hours on a nice afternoon. The paths wind through areas dedicated to plants from all over the world. We had an especially good time wandering through the cactus and succulent garden. While they did not have much from the American Southwest, it still reminded me a bit of home. We enjoyed a bit of a nap in the dappled sunlight on one of the many grass lawns within the park. There are numerous little museums and historical and information buildings scattered about the park, as well as a cafes and the like. We did not personally visit any of these, but we passed a few of them. It was a lovely place to stroll, picnic, and enjoy a lovely day surrounded by nature. It was well worth the visit.
Also on the subject of nature, Adelaide is unique in that the down town area is completely surrounded by a band of parks and green zones. When I say surround, I mean literally surrounded. There are multiple places where one can rent a bike for free and meander through the miles of parkland. I believe there is/are a path/s that runs through it all, and though we did walk around some of it, we did not get to see it all. Had we had another day, it was number one on our list of things to do. It would have been a wonderful way to spend a day; biking around the parks and enjoying some of the amazing playground equipment (I have been continually amazed by the awesomeness of Australian playground equipment. Kids here have it good.). Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy some time lounging in the dappled sunlight under some beautiful gum trees. Away from the noise of traffic, relaxing under a tree surrounded by grass, it almost feels as if you have left the city entirely.
Just south of the park zone, Haigh’s chocolate factory is worth a visit. They do free tours up until 3pm, which we missed since we arrived after 3. Even without the tour the shop is worth a visit. We spent about $16 on chocolates of various flavors, all of which have been, so far as we have not yet finished them all, delicious. I am going to leave it there because, let’s be serious, it’s chocolate; it can speak for itself.
As it was getting on towards evening, we decided to head back into down town and find our selves a place to grab a quick drink and then get some food. For the food, we decided to get something Asian so we headed over to China town. On our way over Courtney hopped on the interwebs and found us a lovely little spot to have a drink, which, lucky us, happened to be literally across the street from the spot we were standing at the time. We couldn’t have planned it better if we had tried. The place is called the Hampshire Cider House. It is a small little pub near China town. The reason we went in is because they have a fantastic happy hour deal Wednesday-Saturday. Everything on tap is $4 for a pint. That’s more then half price. They had three different ciders and two beers on offer. The ciders were all quite good and at $4 one can easily try them all. We had a bit of a laugh with the bar staff while we were there, and quiet enjoyed their friendly service. They also have a lovely little outdoor seating area, though it was a bit chillier then we cared for so we reclined in comfort inside.
Upon recommendation from the manager at the cider house we ate dinner at restaurant called East Taste Chinese. The food was good and the atmosphere was pretty much what I think of as a standard Asian food place. The one thing that this place had going for it was our waitress was great. She helped us out a bit with choosing what to eat, and she had a wonderful sense of humor. We enjoyed a bit of banter with her while we were there and it made the experience that much better. Obviously that was the only place we ate at in China town so I cannot really confirm this, but I would imagine most of the places there would be similar in price and quality. In other words, it’s likely all good and reasonably priced.
We also ate breakfast/lunch at a place called Biga Café on Hutt street near our hostel. They serve breakfast all day, which is wonderful if you are as big of a fan of breakfast as we are, which I have come to learn is something of an American thing. It is not, generally, such a big meal here in OZ, especially socially. The food wasn’t spectacular, but it was tasty and filling, reasonably priced, and the service was friendly and timely.
We stayed at a hostel for the one night we were there. I don’t really have much to say about it. It was a hostel.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about Adelaide is the architecture. The CBD has few high-rises and is full of wonderful brick and stone buildings in the sort of fancy government building sort of style that reminds me of colonial times. Mixed in with these and the much more modern buildings are numerous buildings of the Australian pub hotel style that we have sort of fallen in love with. Rectangular, multi story buildings with big verandas and fancy wrought iron railings painted in a pair of contrasting colors with angled corrugated steel roofs, these buildings just have such a friendly and welcoming air about them. They make me want to pop in for a beer and a chat with locals while sitting outside enjoying the lovely weather. There are also numerous statues and fountains and art pieces in varying forms through out the city. All this combined made it a very inviting place to wander around. It had a feel to it that was very different then any other city I have been to. I imagine with the multi era architecture style it has going that it would have a similar feel to some places in Europe where the old world meets the new.