As a Kiwi in Aussie, my friends make fun of me every time I tell them how much I love Adelaide.
Too often it's the Australian city that's dismissed for being too quiet, small and not as exciting as other cities such as Melbourne or Sydney.
The familiar grid-like streets appeal to me because they remind me of growing up in Christchurch - Adelaide's sister city.
The style of the two cities is almost identical, as their designs came from the same school of thought - the military's use of a grid system seen in Adelaide through surveyor Colonel William Light and in Christchurch through Captain Joseph Thompson.
It feels like home on other levels; the ocean and the hills are within 30 minutes drive in one direction - something that isn't a reality in every Australian city.
As Adelaide eases into the cosy transtasman bubble, it's a city that should not fly under the radar. It's framed by some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia and it also boasts some of the best food and wine.
Cocktails and local produce
After a road trip along the coast - with three beach swims along the way - my first stop was Fino Vino, an urban wine bar that tells a produce-driven regional story. Sitting at the bar, I learn about aquafaba - a fix for those who don't want egg white in their cocktails. Aquafaba is the liquid from a tin of chickpeas, and it is a perfect substitute - we enjoy a campari sour and a spiced cocktail complete with a hot cross bun-style cross.
Fino Vino is a large space that feels intimate because of the warm brick walls, terracotta-coloured velvet booths and still lifes by the late Port Willunga artist Bridget Ohlsson.
Executive chef David Swain uses as much local produce as possible - after our cocktails, we enjoy roast lamb shoulder with tahini, yoghurt, garlic and rosemary, the blistered tomatoes, chevre, lentils, garlic crumbs and incredible roast potatoes.
Adelaide Central Market, one of the largest covered markets in the Southern Hemisphere, should be high on your to-do list. If you arrive with an empty stomach you will leave satisfied. The market is a wonderland of tasty food, culture and fun with more than 70 stalls under one roof. You'll see the best of local produce fresh from the family-owned farm gate, and you can try goods from many local cheesemongers, charcuteries, bakeries and chocolate shops.
Afterwards, hiking in the Adelaide Hills is the perfect way to walk off all the food. The trail between Waterfall Gully and Mount Lofty summit is a challenging 9km return walk with a lot of uphill climbing but stunning bird and wildlife and views at the summit.
German heritage in Hahndorf
Spend a morning, or afternoon, strolling along the bustling main street of the German heritage-listed town of Hahndorf. In the autumn, Australia's oldest surviving German settlement is almost set alight with the colour of the trees changing colour.
Hahndorf is the perfect place to try authentic German pretzels, apple strudel, a kransky, bratwurst and beer. You can also find award-winning cheeses, cellar doors and German cuckoo clocks.
At the German Inn, try giant pork hock, a pork knuckle dish cooked with beer and served with sauerkraut, mustard and gravy; or the cheese kransky, which is served with bacon, sauerkraut, mash and mustard gravy with a pretzel bigger than my face plonked in the middle of the dish. Wash it down with a glass of German beer Leikeim.
Just a hop, skip, and jump down the road is restaurant Clover + Stone at Howard Vineyard. When we arrive a band is playing on the lawn out the front as dappled afternoon sunlight filters through the trees.
Long gone are the days when cellar doors were just a bench and a few stools at the end of a shed. We share oysters, then an incredible Murray River cod dish and perfectly cooked sliced sirloin served with herb ssamjang, anchovy puree and perilla chimichurri. For dessert, we try a soy caramel topped with segments of orange and pink grapefruit, which contrast nicely with the custard's sweet layer.
Then back to the beach
Any trip to Adelaide needs to be signed off by visiting one of the local beaches.
Just 20 minutes from the city, Henley Beach is a favourite place to eat and drink on the waterfront, but if you've had your fill, the sunsets are some of the best you will see.
Air New Zealand offers direct flights to Adelaide from Auckland.