Adelaide on three budgets

Adelaide often gets bad press for not being as beautiful as Sydney, as cultured as Melbourne or as go-ahead as Perth. The South Australian capital, it’s true, doesn’t overwhelm with in-your-face attractions. Its charm is more understated, and all the better for having to work a little to discover it. 


Get up early between Tuesday and Saturday for a visit to arguably Australia’s best market, Adelaide Central Market. It has been there in the heart of the city for more than 140 years, beginning in an informal way in 1869, and being officially established the following year. Today it has more than 80 regular stallholders, mainly dealing in fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, and a host of cafes. The market has also of late become something of a mecca for street art and musical performances. Wander about on your own, or take a tour to see the colour and movement.


Jump onto a Glenelg tram in central Adelaide – they have been running on this route since the 1870s – for the 15-kilometre run to the pretty seaside suburb. The easy access to the city makes Glenelg a good option for an overnight stay, but it is equally pleasant for a bright and breezy day out from the central business district. The beach is long and clean, the pier is a great spot for a walk after lunch or dinner, and for a perspective of the beach and the historic buildings along the foreshore. Visit the Bay Discovery Centre in the town hall for an interesting and interactive view of South Australia’s oldest settlement. 


Begin a full day with a market visit for breakfast and then rent a car and head to the Barossa Valley for a spot of wine tasting – don’t miss historic Seppeltsfield, Penfolds (a tutored tasting of Grange is an option if you are feeling especially well-heeled), Yalumba and Peter Lehmann. For a casual lunch, try Maggie Beer’s famous Maggie’s Farm Shop.  Finish the day almost where it began, with dinner at the Celsius Restaurant on Gouger Street. A 10-course dinner with matched wines will cost $235 a head, but the stack of awards tell you it will be worth it. Chef Ayhan Erkoc has worked at Copenhagen’s Noma and Sydney’s Marque, and turns experimentation into triumph.