Adelaide (Pop. 1.2m) may not be Australia’s number one destination, but it’s well worth a visit.
Since 2008, I’ve been living in Adelaide and consider it my home. Sydney and Melbourne are certainly more vibrant, but if you want a more laid-back sort of lifestyle, Adelaide is a good choice.
It has an uncanny similiarity to Austin in Texas and is considered to be its sister city. See my article on Austin. Austin was founded in 1839, Adelaide in 1836. The bars, restaurants and cafes are similar. Downtown has a familiar feel about it. There’s free public transportation in town. They both have great universities. Adelaide has the River Torrens and Austin has the Colorado River (not to be confused with the larger Colorado River which goes through the Grand Canyon). Both cities have large wine-growing regions; Barossa and McLaren Vale in Adelaide and the Hill Country in Austin. They both even have a ‘German’ town; Austin with Fredericksburg and Adelaide with Hahndorf.
Adelaide has a main CBD and a smaller CBD to the north of the River Torrens (North Adelaide). They are both surrounded by a thick perimeter of protected green parkland. The city is laid out in a logical fashion (thanks to Colonel Light) and it’s never really that difficult to get into or out of town although the traffic has got noticeably worse in the last few years. Adelaide’s main restaurant and cafe street in the CBD is on Gouger Street along with its fantastic Central Market. Hindley Street is littered with bars and has a seedier quality to it. A bit like 6th Street in Austin.
One of the main highlights in Adelaide is taking the 25-minute tram ride from downtown to Glenelg. Glenelg is a kind of retro-fashioned trendy seaside suburb with a nice beach and a pier. For those who like a little wave action may be somewhat disappointed as the gulf is protected from the swells of the Southern Ocean by Kangaroo Island.