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Things to do in Adelaide over a weekend, from getting up close to koalas and wallabies to sipping shiraz at The Lane

Often overlooked by cosmopolitan Sydney and the hip city of Melbourne, Adelaide deserves a visit in its own right. Whether you're traveling on a budget or have some cash to splurge you'll be met with lesser-known hikes, beautiful wildlife parks, and forward-thinking wineries. I took a break from my two weeks in Sydney to meet up with some buddies and to get to know a different Australian city. 

tree shadows across a green lawn at the lane vineyard in adelaide, australia
The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide

5 fun things to do in Adelaide

1. Hang out with wallabies at Cleland Wildlife Park

I’m so cautious about visiting animal parks and never set foot in zoos, but Cleland Wildlife Park focuses on conservation and education. Many of the koalas in the sanctuary have been rescued from bushfires and all enclosures and spacious and clean. Cleland is fascinating for anyone visiting Australia for the first time as it allows you to see wallabies, kangaroos, and koalas up close (you can even feed them) and it’s only a 20-minute drive from Adelaide’s city center. After my short stop in Adelaide, I hired a camper van and took a Sydney to Cairns road trip where I spotted western grey kangaroos and yellow-footed rock wallabies out in the wild, but Cleland was my first encounter with Australia’s wildlife. I'd recommend a visit to anyone who's only in the country for a shorter period and not able to get out in the countryside for weeks on end. As well as koalas, wallabies, and kangaroos I also got to see cuddly, chubby wombats, prickly echidnas, bandicoots, dingos, and my favorite of them all, the crazy cool Tasmanian Devil. With their bone-crushing teeth and endangered status, the Tasmanian Devil is now only found in the wild in Tasmania and sadly there are as little as 20,000 left on earth.

wallabies sitting on grass at cleland wildlife park, it's one of the best things to do in adelaide
Wallabies at Cleland Wildlife Park

2. Sip Unwooded Chardonnay and Basket Press Shiraz at The Lane Vineyard

The Lane is a beautifully tranquil, small-batch family-run winery around 30 minutes outside of Adelaide. I took a trip for a wine tasting one sunny afternoon and got to try 11 contemporary wines ranging from Australian Pinot Grigio to Shiraz. My favorites ended up being a floral Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and a soft single vineyard Shiraz which I sipped outside surrounded by Adelaide's beautiful countryside studded with craggy vines.

3. Climb Mount Lofty

Wake early and get your hiking gear on for a brisk walk to the top of Mount Lofty, a 727-meter-high mountain with panoramic views of Adelaide and the surrounding plains. The 4km uphill trek is a great way to spend the morning outdoors and there’s a cafe at the top so you can refresh before heading back down.  

4. Watch a game of Aussie Rules

I saw my first ever game of Aussie rule footy in Adelaide and it’s worth a watch even if you’re not a fan of regular football (I’m not). The Adelaide Crows are the local team and you can head to Adelaide Oval to watch a match. 

5. Eat your way around Adelaide Central Market

Back in the city, Adelaide Central Market is one of the largest undercover fresh produce markets in the southern hemisphere. Dating back to 1869, the market is home to cafes and restaurants as well as stalls selling everything from fresh seafood and charcuterie to coffee and olives. Most of the produce is local. 

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