Overnight stays: BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park, West Beach (3 nights); Hill View Farm Stay, Mount Torrens
I first visited Adelaide only last year, with dad, for a couple of days of The Ashes Day/Might Test Match, back when Australia didn’t cheat, and could actually play cricket. I must say that, despite the glorious Adelaide Oval putting on a spectacle, I wasn’t blown away with the city itself. Rundle Mall was quiet, as was Glenelg Beach.
But, I was ready to give it another chance, and given Loz and Liv hadn’t been, we figured we should at least visit all the capitals on an around the country trip (except maybe Canberra, but who knows?).
We were scurrying from a beautiful day in the Barossa, to make it in time to our caravan park at West Beach for a quick setup and then trek into Chinatown to meet our friends Cam, Georgina and their little freshie, Jackson, for a cheap and dirty feed. It was great to catch up, and to be able to swing our visit with them happening to be in town for the weekend was ideal.
Like all major cities, the caravan parks are miles from town in Adelaide. But the park at West Beach looked the goods, with plenty of facilities and public transport options to Glenelg and the city. We had been on the move for several days so were keen to settle for a few days and catch our breath.
The caravan park was excellent, especially as we requested the site right next to the jumping pillow, giving Liv (and me) plenty of opportunity to bounce like a mofo. It also had a waterpark for Liv to have a run around in.
Being right on the beach, it also connected onto a 70km stretch of bike/walking path, which to be honest, we under-utilised, but Loz went for a couple of runs along it (not the entire 140km round-trip – she’s good, but not that good), and raved about it.
The beach itself was prettyish but reasonably unmemorable, with the exception of possibly the best ocean sunset we’ve seen anywhere in the world.
Our time spent lazing, washing, reading, and playing at the caravan park was just what we needed to refresh and hit the road again for more adventure.
Despite the lack of crowds when I first visited Glenelg via tram in 2017, I really enjoyed the look and feel of the place, so I was keen to take the girls there and show them what the Surry Hills or St Kilda of Adelaide was like.
It was buzzing! There were people everywhere; street performers, fitness fanatics, fishers, swimmers, shoppers and just wanderers like us. We couldn’t get enough of this suburb, and reckon if we were ever to reside in The Laide, Glenelg is where you’d find us.
On the tram in from Glenelg we noticed how flat Adelaide is, like flatter than Michael Clarke’s commentary, which thankfully we don’t have to deal with this summer. And the homes are beautiful, made in a magical age with sandstone and love.
With our Adelaide rose-goggles now starting to leave a mark on our faces, we fell further in love when we reached the pumping Rundle Mall. This wasn’t the city I remember at all – it was like wandering through Pitt Street on a sunny lunchtime, without being hassled by hawkers trying to squeeze a few bucks out of you. The street performers were excellent, which gave a great vibrancy to the swarm of coming and going swirling around.
Adelaide City Markets
I’m not a markets man, but the food markets in Adelaide gave me hope. They were the perfect mix of fresh food, delicious coffee, and doughnuts bigger than an about-to-retire’s hatred for the current stockmarket.
Wright you are
On our final night staying in West Beach we caught up with a friend of mine from school days, Tom, who now resides in a funky part of Radelaide. He’s located ideally halfway between Glenelg and the city, which in a small city like The Rad is like 10 minutes each way, perfect.
It was great to catch up with him, scoffing some takeaway pizza and couple of beers before Loz clocked up another 10 or so kms on her driving for the Wombatical, taking her total to about 100km. That’s not an insult btw, she does pretty much everything else 😍.
Mount Lofty hike
En-route to the Adelaide Hills, with some hiking mojo back, we decided to tackle the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty hike. This walk would have to be one of the toughest ones we’ve ever done. Only 4km each way, we figured it’d be relatively easy. But wow. There was ‘trackwork’ going on, so the first part of the track was detoured up and over the toughest of hills, for over a kilometre, where we questioned turning around about 100 times.
The middle section re-birthed our faith, until the final kilometre smashed us again, with nothing but up, steep, to the summit of Mount Lofty. The view from the top was well worth the hard slog to get there, and the return 4km journey seemed a walk in the park after what we’d been through. The weather was on-point and we did our exercise for the day, so we have no right to complain, as does Liv, who spent most of it on our backs.
Exhausted, weaving through the leafy and wealthy outer suburbs of the city, we agreed on one more stop at Morialta Falls, before settling in on the hills for the night.
Compared to the leg-shaking struggle to the top of Mount Lofty, the walk to the falls was a piece of piss, and with the sun still shining, well worthy too.
We wound slowly through the scenic Adelaide Hills, towards a campsite we had in mind for the night, one that turned out to be one of our favourite sites for our lap. It was totally random, effectively a property with nothing on it, but when we reached the top of the hill to take our pick of where to park, completely on our own, we knew we’d struck gold. Added to that, there was more firewood to pick from than Democratic Presidential candidates, so we parked up, lit the fire, and enjoyed the views.
Just on dusk, which was starting to fall ridiculously late in this part of Australia, we pulled our weary legs to the top of the hill for a stunning 200′ view over the green and pristine Adelaide Hills. Another winning SA sunset, this time all to ourselves; simply breathtaking.
We didn’t know a lot about Adelaide Hills wine, and it would have to be one of the lesser known regions in the wine Mecca that is South Australia, so we just picked a couple of wineries to visit.
Artwine was a tad disappointing. For a region that is meant to showcase good cool-climate wines, they didn’t offer any Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz or Pinot Noir. Instead offering us a Montepulciano that I reckon smelt like bait. I guess this is an outcome of a region that’s not particularly known for anything great, they try and do everything, which sends quality tumbling further than ScoMo’s popularity rating.
Shaw + Smith stepped it up a bit, with a spectacular setting and professionalism exceedingly high. Their Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay were excellent, immediately continuing our failed one bottle per winery rule out the window.
I remember reading an article about a year ago that highlighted ten places in Australia that make you feel like you’re in another country. For us that put Hahndorf on the map, and became a place high on our to-do list.
Despite our dangerously high expectations, this gorgeous German town didn’t disappoint. Driving through on another glorious SA day, we were astonished and stoked with the amount of people filling Hahndorf with a vibe difficult to describe. It was like a German Nimbin or Byron – bustling with beauty and character, but with a German undercurrent highlighting the architecture, pubs and stores.
You can’t visit Germany without eating pork knuckle, so at the Hahndorf Inn I went all in, smashing it without a breath, sharing slightly with my sidekicks.
From there we just wandered and enjoyed the busyness we love so much.
Wrapping up The Rad
What a city! From Glenelg Beach to the beautiful city and sensational hills, we found it hard to fault, and finally understood why people call it Radelaide.
Not only that, it’s a stone’s throw from some of the most ideallic wine regions on offer. Should we ever decide to spend time living in Adelaide, we can picture ourselves spending too much time in a log cabin in The Barossa, Clare, Adelaide Hills, and/or McLaren Vale.
Had we not been running out of time to see Australia, we would’ve loved to have spent at least twice as long as we did in this hugely underrated city.