Adelaide is the Capital City of South Australia and is the centre of the largest wine production area in Australia. The City lies between the Mount Lofty Ranges in the east, and a thirty-two kilometre sea frontage on Gulf St Vincent to the west; although suburbs have expanded to the north and south. The original city was designed and located by the State’s first Surveyor-General, Colonel William Light (27 April 1786 – 6 October 1839), in 1837.
Colonel William Light & Adelaide / Torrens River
His plan was to use the River Torrens to separate the city from the residential area and to incorporate a green belt of gardens and parkland around the city. The airport is at West Beach, which is located ten kilometres from the city.
South Australia was the only Australian colony which was entirely settled by free settlers; no convicts were sent here. The development was geared to accommodate the influx of migrants who, in turn, were responsible for Adelaide’s growth. Discoveries of gold and copper attracted miners as early as 1845, and by 1847. German refugees were working on the first vineyards.
We travelled down in May 2013 to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary flying Virgin Australia and hiring a car through europcar which we picked up and returned at the Airport.
This was our first trip to Adelaide so our choice of hotel, the Rydges South Terrace, though very comfortable was not in a very practical part of the city. http://www.rydges.com/accommodation/adelaide-sa/adelaide They had a nice restaurant on the ground floor but this was only open for breakfast. Their rooftop restaurant – which was also where the pool was located – was a bit more upmarket. The night we chose to eat there, it seemed as though it was undergoing renovations, and part of it was also screened off for a function. Unfortunately for us, as it was on the night of our anniversary, the romantic ambiance we wanted was not there and we felt a bit let down.
As I said above, South Terrace was not a very convenient location as we found out on the first night when we decided to go and look for a place to eat. We drove to the centre of town only to find there was nowhere to park. In the end we would have been better off to have left the car at the hotel and taken a cab. Walking was an option, but it was a fair distance, even to make it to King William Street and pick up a tram it still would have been quite a hike. There are numerous parking stations [looks like Wilson Parking have the monopoly], but next time we visit we’ll stay around North Terrace instead and don’t bother hiring a car – it’s not really essential.
North Terrace is the place to be. It is home to all the universities, museums, galleries, restaurants of practically every nationality and most importantly it has Rundle Mall: a pedestrian precinct with a vast array of shops, restaurants, bars and pigs rifling through bins…
The city is small and it is a pleasure to visit. We also took advantage of a couple of tours both run through Sealink. The City Tour was a half day event which took us around the city with expert commentary. It also included a tour of the Haig Chocolate Factory: http://www.haighschocolates.com.au/tours/ and a trip out to Glenelg [I will cover this in a separate blog]. Both are well worth a visit. The second tour was to the Murray River which I will also cover separately.
One of the nicest restaurants we did find, actually about a two-minute walk from the Rydges was a pub at 179 West Terrace: The Elephant and Castle Hotel. The food was superb and inexpensive and the staff friendly and helpful. Needlesstosay it became a regular haunt. http://elephantandcastlehotel.com.au/
We used Adelaide as a base for trips out to the surrounding countryside. Their roads were a dream and the motorways toll-free; and places like the Murray and the Barossa which seem so far on paper are not really thanks to the roads. We only became “lost” once due to poor signage whilst at the Barossa, but thanks to a friendly local we found our way to where we were heading [Angaston] and only wanted to go there because the previous night had enjoyed a bottle of sparkling wine from their winery.
It was a nice trip and perhaps we shall visit it again one day to cover the places we didn’t get a chance to see this time around.
RLB – Tomewriter