Adelaide City Family Holidays
Words by Connor Tomas O’Brien
Holidays with small people can vary from delightful to torturous. Thankfully, Adelaide has enough things to keep the kids occupied, and keep your holiday on track to stay in the former category.
Designed for play
What does a family day out look like for Matt Stuckey, Adelaide designer and father of one? “A whole lot of playgrounds!” he says, sounding just a little exhausted. Adelaide is now home to some of the most innovative play spaces in Australia, constructed around ingenious design decisions that engage children with the history and culture of the area. At the Bonython Park Playspace off the River Torrens, two cubbies reference early indigenous and European settlements, and kids can discover spooky fake bones at the bottom of a huge sandpit – a reference to a slaughterhouse that used to exist on the spot in the 1800s! Really, this is a playground for adults as much as children, though knowledge of Australian history isn’t really a prerequisite for kids to enjoy the double flying fox, spider web climbing net, or unique basket and hammock swings.
Animals like no other
A trip to the Adelaide Zoo, upstream from Bonython Park, is almost a given, right? Wang Wang and Funi, the Zoo’s two Giant Pandas, may be the only creatures of their kind in the entire Southern Hemisphere – but they’re pretty good at keeping each other company. Alison Hassel, Zoo spokesperson, suggests a good rule of thumb for telling the two pandas apart: Wang Wang’s the laid-back, social type, while Funi is a little more picky, and has a slightly unhealthy tree-climbing obsession.
Slightly further afield, fifteen minutes out of the CBD, Springfield’s resplendent Carrick Hill property is home to a fantastic hidden treasure: the Children’s Storybook Trail, which meanders around the grounds, treating those with a keen eye to scenes from The Wind in the Willows, The Hobbit, Billy Goats Gruff, and other classic tales.
The trail was inspired by the life of Sir Edward Hayward, original owner of the property, who was revered for his work establishing Adelaide’s world-renowned Christmas Pageant, which first took place in 1933. Every South Australian has a story to tell about the Pageant (which runs annually in early November): the time Father Christmas fainted (allegedly!), the attempt to create the world’s longest Mexican wave, or more recently the breaking of the record for largest group of singers caroling simultaneously. Yes, we’re a competitive bunch.
Adelaide - top quality in a befuddling diversity of areas
Words by Connor Tomas O’Brien
Connor Tomas O’Brien is an Adelaide-based writer and web designer. He is the co-founder of independent Australian ebookstore platform Tomely and co-director of the upcoming EWF Digital Writers’ Festival.
Also by Connor: Adelaide City Attractions, Adelaide City Family Holidays and Adelaide City Galleries and Museums.
Adelaide is a confused city. It doesn’t know what to be best at – so had a go at everything, and now boasts top quality in a befuddling diversity of areas.
Where to begin your first day in Adelaide? It’s obviously best to start well fed and caffeinated, so marking out the Central Markets as your base camp is basically a genius idea. There’s no better place to plan your attack than over a latte from Lucia’s – an Italian institution that has been serving great coffee since before most Australians could pronounce “espresso” – while chomping on some fresh fruit from nearby stalls.
If you’re in the mood for sampling some of South Australia’s liquid treasures, heading northeast to the National Wine Centre is a bit of a no-brainer. “If it’s coming into summer,” says Lucy Harrland, who works at the Centre, “it’s hard to think of anything more enjoyable than sitting in our courtyard, overlooking the Botanic Gardens, eating tapas and tasting some of Australia’s very best wine.” Sounds alright, we suppose.
A couple of gigantic bears more your scene? The Adelaide Zoo is a short stroll away, on the opposite side of the lush Botanic Gardens, and is home to Wang Wang and Funi, a pair of giant pandas that are just as adorable as you’re imagining.
The real beauty of Adelaide is that it’s wonderfully circumscribed: within the CBD, everything is laid out within walking distance. North Terrace might very well offer the world’s highest density of culture per square metre, with all of Adelaide’s major galleries, museums and institutions located just footsteps apart. Adelaide’s shopping scene is similarly tightly packed: as you walk east, big brand Rundle Mall morphs into high-end Rundle Street, which can lead you down laneways like Ebenezer Place, full of independently-owned, smaller boutiques.
Words couldn’t possibly do Adelaide’s dining and bar scene justice – but until computers have magical inbuilt mechanisms that can communicate deliciousness, we’ll just have to try. With a cornucopia of fresh produce at hand, chefs across Adelaide make prodigiously delicious food in the tradition of almost any food culture you’d care to mention.
You may find yourself so enthralled with the city proper that you never want to leave, but that would be a mistake: from the views afforded at the top of Mount Lofty, to the dolphins routinely spotted frolicking around Glenelg Beach, to the rolling, viny hills of McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley… the hardest part is figuring out what to explore first.
Back to top
Things to do
Here are some great ideas for you to try while you’re in Adelaide.
There are plenty of events on in Adelaide. Here are some ideas you might like.