Adelaide deserves a place on your travel to-do list with its thriving restaurant and small bar scene, award-winning wines, and spectacular scenery. There is plenty to discover — from hidden basement bars to secret gardens — and we’ve rounded up ten attractions hiding in plain sight that you won’t want to miss.
Morialta Conservation Park, Woodforde
It only takes about 18 minutes to drive from Adelaide’s city centre to Morialta Conservation Park, but once you arrive, you’ll feel a world away. With spectacular waterfalls, hiking trails, and rugged gorges, it’s an easy place to spend a day picnicking, spotting wildlife, and taking in the scenery.
Be sure to wear your comfy walking shoes – if you want to see all three falls, the 7.5km trail will take you around four hours to complete.
Bank Street Social, CBD
Descend the stairs behind a heavy timber door marked simply with ‘BSS’, and you’ll find yourself in Bank Street Social – an underground New York-inspired bar complete with industrial fit-out. Moody lighting, exposed brick, and warm timbers set the tone for a classy night out with friends.
Expert bartenders serve a stellar list of cocktails, local wines, and craft beers. And, from the kitchen, there are pizzas loaded with fresh local produce. In the back bar, you’ll find an impressive selection of gins and whisky from Australia and abroad and DJs spinning tunes on Friday and Saturday nights.
Karma and Crow, Richmond
With a menu that changes seasonally, you’ll always have reason to return to Karma and Crow. Tucked away in an airy warehouse in Richmond, the space is adorned with plants and festoon lights, and the atmosphere feels ever-so inclusive. Bonus: the service always comes with a smile.
Come for innovative breakfasts, excellent coffee, and a peruse of the Good Get Markets located out front between 10am – 3pm. Pop back any time Wednesday through Sunday evening for drinks and plates of pillowy soft gnocchi.
Star of Greece, Port Willunga
Sat on prime Port Willunga real estate is the Star of Greece, a modern Australian restaurant with uninterrupted beachfront views and a fine-but-friendly dining experience. That’s right; this is not a Greek restaurant. Instead, the name comes from a ship wrecked off the coast back in the 1800s.
Recently renovated, guests can enjoy a luxuriously long lunch or dinner in the light and breezy restaurant, grab a quick fish and chip meal from the new kiosk, or simply relax on the deck with a crisp glass of wine. With views this good, you may never want to leave.
The Scenic Hotel, Norton Summit
A trip to the lush Adelaide Hills wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the aptly named Scenic Hotel. Nestled among towering gum trees with sweeping views across Adelaide, this welcoming pub is a truly relaxing spot for a drink and a bite to eat.
Here the menu takes a uniquely modern approach to pub classics and includes plenty of options for our vegan and vegetarian friends. Come in summer for sunsets and drinks in the beer garden or cosy up by the fireplace in the cooler months. No matter when you visit, you’re guaranteed a good time.
Cruise the River Torrens in your own BBQ Buoys doughnut-shaped boat for a fun and unique way to experience Adelaide. With a capacity for up to 10 people, each buoy is self-captained (no boating license is required) and equipped with either a barbecue or table in the centre, a shady umbrella, Bluetooth speaker, and, naturally, an ice-filled esky for your beers.
Adelaide Himeji Garden, Southern Parklands
Hidden away in Adelaide’s Southern Parklands, you’ll find a tiny slice of Japan. Step behind the ornate gated entrance to discover a place where time slows down. Take a wander past gently rippling lakes and across stepping stones, keeping an eye out for wildlife as you go. The pond is home to many curious long-necked turtles, ducks, and fish.
Stroll the secluded pathways to discover local birdlife, and be sure to take a moment of reflection by the perfectly manicured Zen rock garden before heading back to the hustle and bustle of inner-city life.
The Bibliotheca Bar & Book Exchange, CBD
When a book lover and a bartender get together and open a business, you end up with the Bibliotheca Bar & Book Exchange, a European-inspired small bar shaking killer cocktails in a cosy bar/library setting.
Bring your current read and settle in while you sip. When you’re done, you can exchange your book for another from their well-stocked shelves.
Maybe Mae, CBD
Venture through the tunnel, down the stairs, and feel about for the concealed door within the timber-clad wall between Peel and Leigh Streets. This is where you’ll find the 1950s-inspired Maybe Mae – an award-winning cocktail bar with an ever-evolving drinks list driven by seasonal local produce.
Get comfortable at the bar or cosy up in a booth and select from concoctions inspired by the sights, sounds and stories of South Australian landscapes.
The Secret Vault at La Buvette Drinkery, CBD
For those with a special event coming up, look no further than the secret Parisian-chic vault located at La Buvette Drinkery. Accessed through an original strongroom door, the private vault is only available for private functions of up to 20 people, and we can’t think of a better reason to organise a classy get-together.
Serving up French-inspired aperitifs, cocktails, and spirits, as well as an inspiring collection of natural and organic wines, The Secret Vault has to be one of the most unique intimate event spaces in Adelaide.
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Lead image: Scenic Hotel