South Australia: Adelaide's got talent

By Sarah Ivey

This is a city of myriad charms, says Sarah Ivey of South Australia's sprawling capital.

Meet the locals in the aviary at Adelaide's Botanic Garden. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Meet the locals in the aviary at Adelaide's Botanic Garden. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Flying into Adelaide on the relatively short flight from Auckland you could easily mistake the city for Christchurch (pre-earthquake, of course). The tree-lined avenues that create a grid-like pattern provide a solid platform for historic buildings that mimic that insatiable Cantabrian romance.

The people of Adelaide, quite fittingly, also resemble Cantabrians. Their friendly approach to outsiders makes everyone feel welcome and the city seems to be without the pretentious folk that can be found in the cities further north. It boasts a casual, laid-back feel, yet there's plenty to do for those passing through.

Rundle Mall, the shopping heart of Adelaide, attracts fashionistas and country blokes alike. There's something for everyone, and many a hidden gem can be found down the staircases and alleyways beyond the street-front stores.

The Crowne Plaza, Adelaide's newest hotel and a great base for a short visit to the city, is within walking distance of most of the city's central attractions, and these walks are enjoyable even if, like me, your feet are being pinched by the shoes you bought a size too small because they were the last pair and you just had to have them.

The zoo is worth a visit, if only to admire the many varieties of snake that supposedly live in the area (for the record, we didn't see a single snake during our 10 days in South Australia).

After a long day of traipsing the streets hunting for bargains and soaking up the atmosphere, there's nothing like a cold glass of wine at a rooftop bar to ponder what's in store for tomorrow.

Redsalt, the on-site restaurant at the Crowne Plaza, teases guests with samples of the local produce.

Hahndorf is Australia's oldest surviving German settlement and, given it's only 20 minutes' drive from the city, it's a must-do. In the Adelaide Hills, it oozes charm and is filled to the brim with arts-and-crafts stores, eateries and quaint cottages fronted by rose gardens; it's Adelaide's answer to Arrowtown.

Adelaide was once known as "place of the red kangaroo". Now, I never actually saw one of these jumping creatures in the wild; however, after just three days in South Australia's gem of a city, I would happily jump back on the plane to find one.

CHECKLIST

Online:
* southaustralia.co.nz
* crowneplazaadelaide.com.au
* zoossa.com.au
* adelaidecentralmarket.com.au


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