In 2-3 days
Central Adelaide is compact and easily explored on foot. Begin your visit getting acquainted with the grand buildings on their wide streets and leafy squares, and take a leisurely stroll in the Parkland, taking in the Botanic Garden.
Among the museums and galleries worth a visit are the South Australian Museum, with its huge whale skeletons and aboriginal artefacts, and the Art Gallery of SA, which houses the world’s largest display of Australian Art.
When you’re done, head out of town to the Adelaide Hills (there are buses from the city centre, but you’ll have more flexibility with a hire car). There are quaint villages such as Strathalbyn to explore, but the highlight is watching the sun set over the city from Mount Lofty.
It’s beach day! Take the vintage tram service to Glenelg and chill out on the golden sand, play in the surf or browse the buzzing strip around Jetty Road.
More of a wine buff than a surf bunny? Pick one of the many wine regions around Adelaide and go – the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills wine regions are all easily reached from the city on a day trip.
In one week
Include and expand on the itineraries for days one and two. Try a few different wine regions, spend longer in the Hills, visit the other city beaches – there’s plenty to occupy the visitor within a stone’s throw of the city.
If you’re keen to get further afield, Kangaroo Island is well worth the trip. Here you can scuba-dive on reefs and wrecks, explore the spectacular coastal scenery and Flinders Chase National Park, and get up close with plenty of indigenous wildlife, including kangaroos, penguins and sea lions. The island is served by flight and ferry services from Adelaide, and local tour operators offer competitive prices for organised trips.
For lovers of the great outdoors, Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Ranges National Park north of Adelaide offer endless opportunities for bushwalking in spectacular surroundings of red river gums against a backdrop of weathered mountain crags.
The Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide is another gem. Go wale watching from Victor Harbour or explore the heritage trail in Port Elliot. Press on via the Princes Highway (towards the Great Ocean Road and Melbourne, if you have the time) to the white sand dunes and pelican-crowded wetlands of Coorong National Park.