YOU’VE bought your tickets to the ICC World Cup 2015 matches in Adelaide, and the adrenalin is pumping. Add another layer of excitement to your trip by sampling some of the world’s finest wines and chocolates, spotting dolphins in their natural habitat, and exploring fascinating indigenous art and local markets – all for free!
1. Explore the city on two wheels
While in South Australia, do as the locals do. Rent a free bicycle from Bike SA and explore the city’s trendy neighborhoods. Ride the scenic biking loop along the River Torrens in the heart of Adelaide, and if your muscles allow, pedal further to West Beach and then down to Glenelg, a picturesque beach suburb. Stylish architecture, well-marked trails and friendly locals are the only reminders that you’re still in South Australia’s capital city!
Tip: Carry your ID; see http://www.bikesa.asn.au for Bike SA locations.
2. Sample sinful chocolates!
Indulge your sweet tooth at Haigh’s Chocolate Factory, Australia’s oldest family-owned chocolate makers, who have perfected the art over a century. On a 20-minute guided tour, watch chocolate artisans transform cocoa beans into sinful milk and dark chocolates, then let them melt on your tongue in a special tasting session. They say the best things in life are free, and now you know that’s true in Adelaide!
Tip: Everyone loves free chocolates, so booking a tour in advance is recommended.
3. Go dolphin watching
Port Adelaide is home to a resident pod of some 30 loveable bottlenose dolphins, and a simple trail offers a chance to spot them unobtrusively from the beach or jetty; the only one of its kind in a big city! Grab a pair of binoculars, sit patiently by the banks of the Port River, and look out for a friendly dorsal fin to pop out.
Tip: Take the Adelaide Metro to Port Adelaide.
4. Get your dose of local art and culture
Hit Adelaide’s cultural boulevard – North Terrace – to browse through a fascinating collection of indigenous and Renaissance art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, delve deep into the natural and cultural heritage of the country at the South Australian Museum, indulge your radical side at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation, and rub shoulders with intriguing Aboriginal exhibits at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. Entry to most galleries in each of these centers is free.
Tip: Take the free tram or the city loop bus to reach North Terrace; see #6 for details.
5. Have a beach day.
Cool off on the beaches along the Gulf of Saint Vincent, just half an hour from the CBD of Adelaide. Surf and swim in the cliff-side Sellicks and Port Willunga beaches; gather by the gentle waves of Henley Beach for a family picnic; sample the hip cafes and artsy vibe along Brighton Beach; go kayaking off West Beach. Or shed all inhibitions at Maslin beach – Australia’s first nude beach!
Tip: Adelaide’s beaches are accessible by bus, tram and bicycle.
6. Catch the free tram or city bus
We’re serious! Adelaide offers visitors free tram rides between North Terrace and South Terrace, and a Free City Connector bus service between the city and North Adelaide. These routes covers all major attractions – Adelaide Central Market, the South Australia Museum and neighboring galleries, Botanic Gardens, and Rundle Street, Adelaide’s fashion boulevard.
7. Take the kids on an adventure
There are playgrounds and then there is the one-of-a-kind St Kilda playground, well worth the hour-long bus ride from Adelaide. Let your kids (and the child in you) discover the thrill of the flying fox, giant wave and spiral slides, exploring a sand castle, being the captain of a ship, and getting lost in a real mangrove forest!
8. Wander around a Farmer's Market
Adelaide Central Market started with a small gathering of farmers exchanging fresh produce in 1869. Relive this ancient tradition as you stroll through the vibrant market, taking in aromas of everything from organic home-grown vegetables to gourmet bakery products, hearing captivating stories from farmers, and acquainting yourself with culinary cultures from across the world.
Tip: The market trades from Tuesday to Saturday; see http://www.adelaidecentralmarket.com.au for timings.
9. Go wine tasting
No trip to Adelaide is complete until you’ve tasted some of Australia’s finest wines in the Barossa Valley, one of the country’s oldest wine regions. Most wineries offer free tastings, well-known brands like Jacobs Creek offer exclusive releases, and Seppeltsfield, dating back to 1851, even serves up vintage wines from your birth year!
Tip: Don’t drink and drive; take the LinkSA bus to Barossa Valley.
Shivya Nath is an award-winning Indian travel blogger at http://the-shooting-star.com; find her on twitter @shivya.