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Five fun things to do in Adelaide, Australia’s compact city of wildlife and wineries

Sometimes overlooked by cosmopolitan Sydney or hip Melbourne, Adelaide deserves a visit in its own right for its lesser known hikes, beautiful wildlife parks and forward thinking wineries. I took a break from my two weeks in Sydney to see a different Australian city and meet up with some friends I met backpacking, it turns out visiting the city with Adelaide natives makes it all the more exciting.

tree shadows at the lane vineyard adelaide
The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide

1. Hang out with wallabies at Cleland Wildlife Park

I’m so cautious of 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 bush fires 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 centre. After my time in Adelaide I hired a camper van and drove along the east coast spotting western grey kangaroos and yellow-footed rock wallabies out in the wild, but Cleland was my first encounter with Australia’s wildlife and I would recommend it to anyone who is in Australia for a shorter period and not able to spend time 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 favourite of all, the crazy cool Tasmanian Devil. With their bone-crushing teeth and endangered status, Tasmanian Devil’s are now only found in the wild in Tasmania and sadly there’s as little as 20,000 left on earth.

wallabies at cleland wildlife park
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 here for a wine tasting one sunny afternoon and got to try 11 contemporary wines ranging from Australian Pinot Grigio to Shiraz, my favourites ended up being a floral Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and a soft single vineyard Shiraz which I sipped outside surrounded by beautiful countryside studded by 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-metre-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, the cities sports group 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 so you’ll be supporting South Australian growers too.

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