Tired of sand, sea and sun? Time to give the beach a miss and head to the city? Autumn is full of events and festivals, and is a great time to shop, party or take in a show. Or why not just have a long weekend away with friends, writes Janet McGarry.
Pack light – that’s always my mantra as I get ready for a long weekend. A couple of night’s away, dinner out, long lazy lunch, a bit of shopping. Don’t need much for that. Ticket, money and phone. Easy.
More essential is the excuse to make it happen - a new exhibition, friends back from overseas, a big band in town. Actually, let’s get real – none of us need an excuse to hop on a plane and enjoy a few days in another city – it’s just a matter of getting organized.
So, here’s your insider’s guide to making it happen; events in five hot cities around Australia that you know you want to go to, and some secret local tips on places to check out.
I love playing tourist in my own city, so I declare bias right away. Sydney is much better as a visitor – forget your commuting woes, leave the car behind and instead stay where you can walk nearly everywhere you want to go or take the ferry.
The Rocks is the heart of the city – not just historically but in terms of atmosphere. Playing tourist, you can wander the weekend markets, chill out in the quaint pubs or get a culture fix at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Whether your night time entertainment is high brow at the Opera House, or after hours at the Argyle, you won’t be bored. Hop a ferry round the harbour, or wander up town to check out Australia’s only branch of The Gap and Zara at the new Westfield.
Short of time and money? An alternative to Bridgeclimb is walking over the bridge on the pedestrian walkway. Access is just behind the hostel. Go all the way and have breakfast at a café in Kirribilli, or stop at the first pylon and go up to the top for great views that rival the full climb option.
Autumn is the perfect time to explore Adelaide – past the simmering heat of summer and no chilly winter nights. And you want to be able to spend all your time exploring as Adelaide is a great city to wander around by foot. Try the bars and cafes of Rundle Street in the city centre, have a cultural fix at the Art’s Centre, or just wander the quieter inner city areas. Hop the tram to Glenelg which is a great spot for brunch, or go further afield into the Adelaide Hills or Barossa Valley.
And Adelaide is well known for its festivals – the Arts Festival, the Fringe offshoot or Womadelaide to name a few. It makes for a very civilised short break destination. You can even use the excuse of the two cute Pandas-in-residence at Adelaide Zoo if you need too.
Oh, and don’t miss the market – Adelaide Central Market is a backpacker’s haven. Browse the gourmet delights, buy a little of this, a taste of that and then head back to the hostel to cook up a feast.
The Exeter Hotel is on Adelaide's coolest street, Rundle St. Trendy bars, restaurants and cafes come and go like the seasons, but The Exeter Hotel has stood the test of time. There have been no fancy interior makeovers, no advertising necessary and no door bitches sitting to pick the ‘right kind of people’. This place is the real deal. Playing host to a vast mix of students, workers, musicians, travellers and whoever else happens to wander in, there is no better place to feel the city vibe whilst drinking on the street tables or watch a band every day of the week. There's a fantastic little balcony with one of the best views of sunset in the city opening for delicious curries on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and an excellent cheap menu the rest of the week. No better way to see real Adelaide life and meet a great variety of locals.