Welcome to Adelaide!
Where? some of you may think silently.
Well, we are this little state on the South coast of Australia,ironically titled ‘South Australia’. And by little I mean our population is only a measly 2 million – but hey who’s keeping track?
Our little tag line on our registration plate’s (number plates for us Aussies) is ‘The city of Churches’ and also ‘The Festival City’. Confusing right? are we one or the other?
Well I’m putting that little chestnut to bed with a simple Google search;
Adelaide – ‘The Festival City’
Most of South Australia’s two million people live in the state’s capital, Adelaide, being described as one of the world’s best planned and most charming cities. The city is laid out with broad streets in an open grid pattern encircled by over 4000ha of parkland. Many of the streets are lined with early colonial houses built of bluestone and slate and numerous churches, reflecting the piety of the early settlers that has earned Adelaide the nickname ‘The City of Churches’.
The State prides itself as being an early colony of ‘free-settlers’ – of like-minded religious young men and women. The new settlers came mainly from devoutly religious and hard-working British stock, with several thousand German Lutherans fleeing persecution in their homeland. The State has a desert and semi-desert climate and the lifestyle in the capital is easy-going with a slow and relaxed pace.
Many art festivals and other cultural events are held in and around Adelaide.
A two-week Festival of Arts is held in the city every second year, which attracts well-known overseas and local guest artists.
Another festival, The Barossa Valley Vintage Festival, reflects how wine and culture go together and is held on alternate years and together, these two colorful events have earned South Australia the name “The Festival State”.
Now having traveled abroad a few times in my short 28 years it’s remarkable how many foreigners quickly detect the Australian accent.
Quite often whilst sightseeing you will get the old, “Oh, Australian? G’day mate!”, To which you of course smile and respond with “G’day”.
After that is usually when it start’s to get a little awkward as your new friend asks specifically where in Australia your from, responding with Adelaide is a sure way to end up having to explain that, “No, it’s not that place your thinking of that has that famous bridge or an Oprah house”. And whilst you’re on the topic you figure it’s best if you also straighten out that, that’s Sydney (New south wales) and no Sydney is not Australia’s capital city.
OK, so that probably gave away the fact that I am a little protective over my little home state, but I assure you it’s for a very good reason!
My beautiful little home city get’s overlooked and under appreciated so often which is probably why I chose to make this the very first destination in our,
Country and Compass
Adelaide is full of ‘secret spaces’ if you know exactly where to look 😉
Flying into Adelaide you’re greeted by two very different sets of scenery, the lush green rolling hillside outside one window and the beautiful blue ocean can be seen lapping the quiet sandy beaches from the other.
I assure you though that the adventure doesn’t even begin to start there!
No matter what you’re into we’ve got it.
For the active traveler, Adelaide has more running, jogging, hiking tracks and trails than you could complete without needing a new set of runner’s.
I think it’s become a new ‘thing’ among the fitness movement to tick a treck at Marialta falls off your list.
From deep in the Adelaide hills at our very own authentic German town Hahndorf, snaking down to the Barossa Valley,is one of our most well known wine regions – where I might add you can easily enjoy a day getting back to basics, bring one friend or many, hire a bicycle and ride the trails between the famed winery’s sampling the crisp fresh vintage and consuming a favorable amount of cheese or locally handmade delicacies.
For the culinary inclined, whilst exploring this beautiful region why not stop by Maggie Beer’s farm shop and pick yourself up a picnic basket for the journey.
After all, South Australia is well known for its ability to produce a quality drop..
And that’s not even just my opinion, No really even lonely planet gave us a shout out,
So if sipping on some chilled wine doesn’t appeal to your pallet, maybe your more inclined to come visit us during the Schützenfest, a German cultural festival held annually during summer.
Schützenfest – translated from German, means ‘Shooting Festival’, though Adelaide’s youth attend the event to drink beer.
South Australia experienced from its inception in 1836, a large migration of Germans, predominantly of Lutheran religion. They mostly migrated after 1838. In 1853, the Shooting Society was established and in 1861, the Shooting Party was established. In 1865 the German Club closed. With its closure, a picnic was organised in St Peters, Adelaide. The main activity of the picnic was shooting. Some 5000 Adelaideans attended the picnic.
Prior to the outbreak of World War I, numerous Schützenfests were held around Adelaide areas by the German Association, such as in Walkerville, Lobethal and Barossa Valley.The festival was reinstated after World War II. It was held for many years in Hahndorf but is now held in the western Parklands. It is a highly popular festival with the attendance being around 20,000. Come along be a spectator of the shooting competition and enjoy German food, beverages, dances and music.
Or if you have your heart set on getting up close and personal with a few of our furry friends, Yes you can certainly get that photo opportunity cuddling a koala or feeding the kangaroos. I would highly recommend making a trip to any of the following wildlife park’s/sanctuaries. Although typically not as popular as our two very well known zoological parks, these are some of my favourite places to take my own children as the experience is very hand’s on and I believe in supporting the local guys who are mostly staffed by volunteers and work tirelessly maintaining their wildlife
habitats, and conserving local flora, fauna and local wildlife.
My other recommendation would be to visit the world’s biggest rocking horse, Yes I did just say that! You can climb to the top and get yourself a little certificate to say that you have done so, the reserve has a cute little free-roaming animal sanctuary. You can purchase a bag of animal feed and let the kid’s go wild (meteorically of course!) Whilst in the area stop at the whispering wall, it’s pretty cool for kids and adults alike. Send your companions across the wall and then communicate through it, cool eh?
However please also take the time to support the much-loved bigger parks, Adelaide Zoo, one of Adelaide’s most iconic attractions, is home to more than 2,500 animals and 250 species, not to mention we currently still have 2 visitors from China, and yes we are still waiting to see if South Australia will be the ‘love pad’and help create that little addition we’re wanting from the panda breeding program.
Or take yourself for a day trip to Monarto Zoo it’s the largest open-range zoo in the world spanning more than 1,500 hectares and home to more than 500 animals and 50 species.
The thing I love the most about this park is that you can either choose to hop on the bus that runs every half an hour from one stop to the next. Or if you’re feeling up to it you may choose to walk between the giant enclosures, yes it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted if you do choose to take the walking trails make sure you have ample water and sunscreen.
Ok so if you want to go exploring outside of Adelaide, you’re feeling adventurous? Awesome!
Make your holiday memorable by participating in one of the exciting tours and attractions on offer in and around Port Lincoln and Eyre Peninsula. For the adventurous, have a go at Shark Cage Diving, Swimming with the Australian Sea Lions, or Swimming with Southern Bluefin Tuna. Or stay on land and visit our local wildlife at Glen Forest Animal Park. The list is endless and the experience unique.
Visit The life-sized bronze statue of Makybe Diva, the first racehorse to win the Melbourne Cup 3 times, is located at the foreshore park.
From one coast to another, spend a night down at Victor Harbor, a beautiful quaint little beach side town where you can watch for whales from the
bluff or take the Clydesdale-drawn passenger tram across the narrow island crossing to Granite island and go searching for Fairy penguins.
Then travel across to Cape Jarvis where you can hop on board a ferry and escape to the quite tranquil, Kangaroo Island. It’s one of the best places to see Australian wildlife. More than a third of the island is national parks. Delighting the whole family with its brilliant beaches, fabulous fishing, wonderful wildlife, tasty treats, beautiful landscapes, and fine food and wine.
So I realise by now I have covered a serious amount of ground, and as much as I could waffle on for hours with so much more I am going to leave you with a sample of festivals.
My absolute favorite time of year is ‘Mad March, with an array of things happening in Adelaide it’s easy to miss something.
Adelaide Fringe Festival, is Australia’s largest open-access arts festival and is internationally renowned as one of the best.
Artists from Australia and across the globe take over the city in hundreds of pop-up venues in parks, warehouses, lane-ways and empty buildings as well as established venues such as theaters, hotels, art galleries, cafes and town halls.It’s one of the most diverse arts festivals in the world and open to all: anyone can perform and everyone does. It makes for a four-week-long party during February and March.
Clipsal 500, our annual motor racing event for Supercars, held on the streets of the east end of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. First held in 1999, the event uses a shortened form of the Adelaide Street Circuit, the former Australian Grand Prix track.
Usually held over four days in early March, the “500” itself consists of two 125 km races and one 250 km held on the last two days of the meeting.
The event itself is huge, featuring everything from a F1 fly over, Classic cars, kids activities and of course the grid girls. Every evening once the track has cooled off for the day, the concerts come alive and are usually huge performance acts.
WOMADelaide is the four-day festival of Music, Arts and Dance presented annually in Adelaide’s Botanic Park as part of the Adelaide Festival on the middle weekend in March. The festival was first presented in 1992 as part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts. This first festival was a joint venture between the Adelaide Festival and the UK based WOMAD organisation, established by Peter Gabriel in 1982 for the presentation of a festival presenting the World Of Music, Arts and Dance from around the globe.
WOMADelaide regularly attracts around 20,000 people per day, with over a third of attendees coming from interstate and overseas. programming will generally feature up to 500 artists from around 30 countries. Set in the magnificent inner city Botanic Park, the action across seven outdoor stages comprises performances and workshop activities and is complemented by a strong range of site performance and visual arts programs. Other focused programming initiatives include the popular The Planet Talks environmental discussions series, and the Taste the World food and cooking demonstrations that feature festival artists introducing audiences to the food and culture of their homelands. Additional festival attractions include the KidZone for children’s arts activities, the Electrolounge – a late night electronic music club in Speakers’ Corner, and the Global Village with over 100 international food, retail and charity stalls, bars and the Taste The World Restaurant.
Being mindful of the range of issues affecting people and cultures around the globe the festival has adopted a strong protocol of environmental awareness through its management and staging. Greening Australia works with WOMADelaide to offset the ecological footprint of the festival, with $2 from every WOMADelaide ticket purchased invested in native biodiverse tree plantings.
We have so many festivals and celebrations in between but I couldn’t possibly fit them all in so I will finish with another of my favorites, the OzAsia Festival is Australia’s premier international arts festival focusing on Asia.
The 2016 festival was all new, revamped and refreshed, including a twist on the much-loved Moon Lantern Festival. Under current Festival Director Joseph Mitchell, the annual program features the finest theatre, dance, music, film, talks and visual arts that Asia has to offer. This festival is held in September.