By Samuel Smith and Ellen Morgan
Published: Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Updated: July 21, 2021 at 12:29 pm
Don’t let the weather deceive you – winter in Adelaide is heating up, with an exceptional line-up of events on the horizon. So, why not linger longer on a city staycation?
These 4 staycations will get you out and about, experiencing Adelaide’s best winter events, and rediscovering our beautiful city in the process.
Illuminate Adelaide extravaganza
Make the most of your winter weekend in the city at Illuminate Adelaide – a celebration of all things light, featuring incredible installations, exhibitions and events, running from 15 July to 1 August.
Program highlight, Van Gogh Alive (open now, ahead of schedule) showcases the impressionist master’s work on a whole new level, at the Grand Pavilion in North Adelaide. Walk through the otherworldly space, illuminated by gigantic Van Gogh works, projected onto walls, floors and ceilings. Learn about Van Gogh’s work and life in a completely new way.
Scattered throughout the city’s East End, West End and all along North Tce, Illuminate’s City Lights exhibits are playgrounds of projections and installations, in laneways and open spaces. Warm the soul with the Firefly Field display at the University of Adelaide’s Goodman Crescent Lawns, featuring a collection of hovering lights, twinkling on the lawn, like fireflies. If you have time, book in for an evening at world-exclusive Light Cycles and wander the Adelaide Botanic Garden, soaking up the immersive installations as you go, or treat the kids at Light Creatures at the Adelaide Zoo.
Explore, eat, drink
Jump aboard an EcoCaddy Street Art Tour. Your knowledgeable, local guide will shuttle you through Adelaide’s intricate network of laneways, lush parklands and beautiful bike trails in search of colourful street art.
When lunch rolls around, treat your taste buds to some of the finest food in town on a Food Tours Australia Central Market tour. The Adelaide Central Market is an undisputed icon. One of the country’s largest undercover fresh food markets, it’s been loved by locals since 1869 for its mouth-watering fresh produce and bustling charm.
Smack-bang in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD, the National Wine Centre of Australia is an encyclopaedia of iconic Australian wine. After your market feast, head on over to sip and savour more than 120 varieties including the famed Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace.
Spend the night in the cutting-edge Majestic Minima Hotel. Make yourself at home in one of 46 compact studio rooms featuring stunning wall-to-wall murals, free Wi-Fi and all the creature comforts.
Tasting Australia adventure
Earlier this year, Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel treated South Aussies to 10 jam-packed days filled to the brim with delectable wining and dining experiences.
This winter, Tasting Australia’s scents, sights and flavours are back from 1-31 July, gracing 7 of our regions – including Adelaide – with more of what we all love: incredible food and wine.
While there’s plenty happening in the hills, on our peninsulas and in the outback, Adelaide plays host to some of the winter program’s highlights.
Rug up and warm your belly at Vegan Palooza, learn brewing secrets from the pros at Mind of the Maker, treat yourself to absolute luxury at the Koomoo x Hentley Farm Dinner Experience or taste your way around Adelaide on the Hotel Hop Progressive Lunch.
See the full range of Tasting Australia Winter Series events, and book your spot.
Explore, eat, drink
Gliding along the River Torrens in the famous Popeye is a quintessentially Adelaide experience. Add a splash of gin, gorgeous riverbank scenery and lashings of local produce, and you have yourself an afternoon to remember.
For dinner and drinks, head to Adelaide’s stunning SkyCity. Here, you can put your feet up at Sol bar, taking-in the best views of the CBD while sipping the finest SA blends. Just downstairs, also in the SkyCity complex, ITL Italian Kitchen plates up authentic Italian cuisine in a relaxed, modern restaurant, overlooking the River Torrens.
Retreat to the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel – a luxurious home away from home in the heart of the city, boasting large rooms, an exceptional restaurant and – as the name suggests – a beautiful rooftop garden.
Experience the magic of a European winter at Winter Village at the Torrens Parade Grounds, until 5 September. Free to enter, and perfect for a family day (or evening) out, the village is open from 11am until late, each day of the week.
Rug up and treat the littlies to an ice-skating session – glide along, with your nearest and dearest by your side, and watch the city whiz by. Not great with skates? No problem. Sip a hot cocoa or tuck into a winter feast in one of the cute igloos set up throughout the grounds.
Whether you’re looking for a fun family day out or a date night to remember, the Winter Village is sure to warm the cockles of hearts.
Explore, eat drink
If you, and the kids, want to know where the wild things really are, make a beeline for the Adelaide Zoo. Here, the growls, slithers and roars of more than 1800 animals converge in a wildlife wonderland. Come face to fur, scale and feather with almost 300 species of exotic and native mammals as well as birds, reptiles and fish, over 8 hectares of lush botanic gardens.
Adelaide Zoo is also home to Wang Wang and Funi, the only Giant Pandas in the Southern Hemisphere.
After stopping by CIBO for a caffeine fix, and a sweet treat for the kids, stroll down to the River Torrens, where Earth Adventure kayaking will get you out, paddling on Adelaide’s scenic River Torrens, in the heart of the city.
If you’ve (somehow) managed to resist overindulging on decadent delights at the Winter Village, nearby North Adelaide is home to a range of fantastic kid-friendly restaurants. Take your pick form Gin Long Canteen, Beyond India, Krung thep Thai and Lucky Lupitas all on bustling O’Connell St.
Nestled below leafy canopies in various parts of North Adelaide, North Adelaide Heritage Apartments and Cottages are characterful, spacious retreats with room for the whole family. Each heritage home-away-from-home is mere minutes from the heart of North Adelaide, and just a hop, skip and jump from the city centre.
Love the strum of a guitar on a wintry night? Us too. Thanks to Adelaide Guitar Festival, you can celebrate the beauty of this versatile instrument through a range of gigs, masterclasses, panel discussions and more.
The almost month-long festival, running until 25 July, features a beautifully curated range of ticketed and free events, so you can pick and choose the style of strumming you love, and make a night of it. Treat your ears to everything from rock and blues to classical and folk. See you there.
Explore, eat, drink
Adelaide is abuzz with live music throughout the year, and come winter, there’s nothing better than rugging up by the fire, pint of craft brew in-hand, sweet guitar strums in-ear.
Top city spots to catch a gig and enjoy a hearty meal include The Jade on Flinders St, Sparkke on Whitmore, The Gilbert St Hotel and the Grace Emily on Waymouth St.
Winter is also the perfect time to explore Adelaide’s boutique museums and galleries, from Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural to UniSA’s cutting-edge MOD.
MOD. on North Tce, is a crossroads of art and science, with a huge range of interactive exhibitions, showing how research shapes the world around us. Over on Grenfell St, Tandanya is the nation’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts and Cultural Organisation, showcasing immersive exhibitions, hosting performances and selling artwork through its shop.
Other must-visit CBD galleries include the Art Gallery of South Australia (of course), the Samstag Museum of Art, ACE Open, Nexus Arts, the APY Gallery and JamFactory.
Make yourself at home at the Franklin Apartments, combining personalised hotel service with the freedom of apartment-style living. With comfortable, well-appointed rooms, located between Waymouth St and the thriving Adelaide Central Market, it’s the perfect urban retreat.
Disclaimer: All RAA member discounts and offers were correct at the time of publication but are subject to change.