This post is long overdue, and I’m sure you’ve all just been waiting with baited breath. But really, the past couple of months have been really insane for us, and I’m just now finding the energy to get organized and put some of these last Australia posts together.
In the months leading up to our trip, Miriam was sheepish about Adelaide. She did her best to try to explain that there wasn’t much going on and that it isn’t nearly as cool as Sydney and Melbourne, blah blah blah.
Because of her nonchalance, we expected to have just a couple of chill days of Mir showing us around her favorite coffee shops and such before Tyler and I took off for a weekend in Melbourne.
(Her favorite, by the way, is Coffee Journey).
I guess the key to any amazing travel experience is to taper your expectations upfront (need I remind you all of my Cliffs of Moher dramatics?) because we ended up loving the area.
Sure, most of the city of Adelaide is pretty standard, but the surrounding area has SO much to offer.
We loved exploring South Australia and discovered some amazing wine tasting, coastal views, and psycho kangaroos. Our two days in Adelaide flew by, and we have so many recommendations to share from the area.
I have to give a shout out to Miriam. She historically hasn’t been the biggest traveler, but she’s really stepped up her game. She showed us some amazing spots in her little “home town”, and she and Tyler got really competitive with researching and picking our dinner and coffee spots throughout the trip–and a lot of the spots we’ve been recommending on here were her “picks,” not ours!
Now, on to our guide. Definitely rent a car in Adelaide, as you’ll want to spend most of your time driving around South Australia. The scenery is beautiful–both on the coast and inland– so prepare for lots of driving and lots of stops.
Stay in Belair
We booked a really affordable Airbnb in Belair. This was on the opposite side of town of where Miriam lived but ended up working out because it was situated in the direction we had to drive to go out the animal park anyway. Also, it was insanely beautiful.
The guesthouse we stayed in was perfect and had a stunning view of the hills around Adelaide. Definitely recommend. Also, b3 Coffee is nearby.
If you’re planning a trip right now and interested in booking an Airbnb, use this link to get $40 off your first stay!
Urimbirra Wildlife Park
This place is awesome. Think of it as a cross between your local animal petting farm and a full on zoo.
We drove out to Victor Harbor from Adelaide and got there right when it opened–on a weekday–so we had the place to ourselves. Entrance to Urimbirra Wildlife Park costs $14, and it’s a few dollars extra to buy a bag of food for the kangaroos (a must, of course).
We walked back to the open area where the kangaroos hang out and turned the corner to find a squad of at least 30 sitting completely still but staring straight at us. Then, one by one, they started hopping towards us. Slowly at first, and then really more of a “charge.” We tried to stay calm but were totally surrounded.
I’ll take this moment to note that I am not an animal person. I love to look at them and live for an occasional high stakes run-in with a bear while camping, but I don’t like to be near them. If your dog is all up in my business and I’m petting it, just know that I’m faking it. Anyway, you can imagine that being surrounded by kangaroos who were not shy about jumping up on me to try to get to my paper sack of cereal was NOT a thriving moment for me. I tried to stay calm but couldn’t hold back a few panicked yelps as they became more aggressive.
Tyler, on the other hand, is an animal fanatic and was on another level with the kangaroos. I’ve never seen him so worked up and excited, and he spent the rest of the trip referring to himself as the “Kangaroo Whisperer.”
The kangaroos eventually calmed down and it ended up being SUCH fun and funny experience. We literally had hundreds of them to ourselves which was so fun. We also got to pet a couple of cute koala bears– and yes, they are as soft as I imagined.
Urimbirra Park also has a few crocodiles and some emu. This is an essential stop in South Australia.
Port Elliot Bakery
After a morning full of dodging kangaroos and Tyler’s best crack at a Steve Irwin impression, we drove to the Port Elliot Bakery for lunch. Miriam’s host family told us that this place makes the best meat pies in South Australia, and they did NOT disappoint. I don’t know why we aren’t making a bigger deal about meat pies in the U.S., but I guess that’s just my pregnancy appetite talking.
If you can somehow manage to wait to eat, take your lunch down the the Victor Harbor beach lookout which is just down the road from bakery.
Wine Tasting in McLaren Vale
We drove through the McLaren Vale wine country to get to Victor Harbor, so we decided to make a couple of stops at Chapel Hill Winery and Hugh Hamilton Winery on the way home.
We love wine tasting when we travel because it is such a fun way to learn about the history and culture of the area. I don’t even mind tagging along when I can’t drink. I just smell all of wines and beg Tyler to buy a bottle to save for after the baby comes (we have quite a little collection stockpiled and waiting for me now, hehe).
South Australia is a very unique and world-renowned wine region, so we were excited to check out a couple of wineries in the McLaren Vale area.
Hugh Hamilton sits on a rolling slope of vines and has a very tasteful and cheeky “black sheep” theme running through the property and products. We had a blast learning about the history of the winery and the story behind each of the Black Sheep wines. We brought home a bottle for each of our parents (“The Scoundrel” and “The Trickster”).
Our next stop was Chapel Hill. The winery converted an old chapel into the tasting room, and each of the bottles features a different stained glass window design. Tyler and Miriam loved the wine here, too.
If we had more time, we would have made our way over to the d’Arenberg Cube which looked SO cool.
Port Noarlunga South
After our winery stops, we drove over Port Noarlunga South, a dreamy beach lookout that had been on Mir’s bucket list for the area. We got there just before sunset–impeccable timing if I do say so myself.
When we were in Australia, it seemed like each evening’s sunset was more magical than the last. And the scene that evening at Port Noarlunga was no exception.
Definitely make a point to watch a sunset from the staircase here if you have the time in Adelaide.
Glenelg Beach and Pier
There is nothing Mir loves more after a basketball game than a good burger with fries, so we weren’t surprised when she proudly claimed she had found the best burger in Adelaide.
This is the perfect night out in Adelaide, and then you can spend the rest of your evening walking the pier area.
Adelaide Central Market
No matter where we are in the world, we LIVE for a market. There’s nothing more fun than pursuing a series of stalls full of fresh food and flowers, right??
We got a couple more meat pies and a few sweet pastries at the Adelaide Central Market and called it a day. Oh and I forced us all to eat an apple because it felt like a necessary nod to our health.
National Wine Centre
The guy who led our wine tasting at Chapel Hill highly recommended we check out the National Wine Centre in Adelaide. The centre has a really cool, interactive museum and then a tasting room full of hundreds of local wines on the first floor. Mir and Tyler loved the tasting room because you use a card to keep track of and then serve yourself tastings from a machine.
This area is SO cute and hip. In fact, we even watched a movie (or something) being filmed right in the main square while we were there.
We wish that we could have had more time exploring Australia and would love to come back one day to see the Great Barrier Reef, the Gold Coast, and the Outback. However, we do feel like our itinerary of Sydney (using Bondi Beach as a base), Melbourne, and the area surrounding Adelaide in South Australia gave us a great overview.