Adelaide is well known for wine, with four regions — including the Barossa — within a two-hour radius. It's perhaps not so well known as a family destination, but definitely should be, as there is plenty to keep kids interested for a week — or more — in this gorgeous area.
On a recent trip I scoped out the good stuff for families in this part of South Australia. Here are some ideas if you're heading that way...
Adelaide has kilometres and kilometres of stunning coastline nearby and it can be just a 20-minute drive from the city to lying on your towel on beautiful white sands.
Even if you don't have a car, you can access Glenelg Beach by tram; it literally pulls in metres from the beach. Glenelg is probably the best setup for families, although much older kids might prefer trendy Henley with all its lovely cafes, bars and restaurants.
Glenelg is full of family-friendly eating options (including delicious gelato) and there's a playground right on the beach. Younger kids will love the waterslides, dodgems, mini golf, Ferris wheel and other seaside fun at The Beachhouse, also right at the water's edge.
Make some furry friends
You're spoiled for choice for animal action in Adelaide. There's Adelaide Zoo , just five minutes from the CBD with plenty of up-close-and personal encounters (including all your Aussie favourites).
If you have the time I would highly recommend Monarto Zoo , just an hour out of the city. Set on 1500 hectares it's like a safari experience. Animals roam free inside enormous enclosures — yes the big cats are in different areas to the less-dangerous animals in case they get peckish — and you view it all from a bus.
We had some magical moments sitting inside the "Zu-loop" vehicle as giraffes and antelopes frolicked all around us. The big hitter is the Lions 360 where it's you inside the — very solid and safe — cage, with lions all around — and even on top of the iron bars.
While Adelaide has always been a haven for those who like a glass of wine, it's also a paradise for foodies. One of our favourite places to hang was the Adelaide Central Markets (if you have time for a tour with Mark or Cheryl from Food Tours Australia, you will get a much better appreciation). We feasted on pastries, cheeses, fresh fruit, charcuterie and other incredible South Australian produce and everyone loved it.
Plant 4 Bowden is also great if you're looking for variety (try My Grandma Ben if you fancy Kangaroo Bolognese). Go on a Saturday or Wednesday or Friday afternoon to catch the markets.
Chinatown is perfect for families — take your pick of great spots for noodles, dumplings and other family favourites and if you're heading out to Port Adelaide for some kayaking or to visit the Maritime Museum, make sure you check out La Popular Taqueria (and maybe a cheeky pint at the enormous new Pirate Life Brewery). You won't run out of eating options in this foodie city.
Obviously a visit to the wineries should be part of any Adelaide holiday. There are four regions (The Barossa, Clare Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula and Adelaide Hills) but we only had time to head to Adelaide Hills, dropping in at Golding Wines and Barristers Block , both incredibly family-friendly. Barristers Block has animals all around the outdoor area and Goldings has plenty of space and a cute kids' menu. Both are a short drive to Melba's Chocolates — an enormous paradise of sweet treats that kids will love.
Lot 100 is another excellent option with a huge brewery and distillery on site and plenty of room for kids to play. They're currently building a nature playground and there are plans for pick your own fruit days in summer.
One of the best things about Adelaide is the walkability factor. While in the city, we walked almost everywhere — only using the tram a couple of times.
If you want to stretch your legs further, the Botanic Gardens are great (kids will love seeing the bats hanging from the trees) and if you really want to have an Australian experience I would highly recommend Morialta Conservation Park . You can walk it on your own but the Bushwalk, Wine and Barbecue Eco Tour or other guided walks offered by Pure SA are amazing.
We saw waterfalls, plenty of birdlife and six koalas just hanging in their favourite tree spots — and learned so much about the area from our guide. There's a bit of uphill, so it wouldn't be advisable for very young kids.
If your kids are more about walking from shop to shop, than tree to tree, Rundle Mall is where to clock up some steps of a different kind.
Air New Zealand flies direct from Auckland to Adelaide.
The Adina Apartments are ideal as they are centrally located and have in-room cooking and laundry facilities. The coolest thing is that they're in the old Treasury Building and still have the tunnels and cellars underneath.