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A return ferry from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island is exxy, but trust us, you won’t regret it. There is SO much to see and do in this magical place, you’ll never want to leave. First, the wildlife! The Seal Bay Conservation Park is the only place in the world where you can walk amongst endangered Australian sea lions. You can spot koalas along the Koala Walk at the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as echidnas, goannas, and kangaroos (duh!) all over the island. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be in paradise here – Kangaroo Island is known for exquisite seafood, cheeses, wines and rare honey. Swim or snorkel at pictueresque beaches – see the stunning sunset on Vivonne Bay and have the place to yourself at Stokes Bay or Western River Cove. To make the most of your time on Kangaroo Island, you might have to give your wallet a workout, but it’s worth it to fully experience the magic of Australia’s third largest island.
Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission
Pandas, need we say any more?! You’re never too old or too mature to have a great zoo day, and Adelaide Zoo is one of the best in the country. It is Australia’s second-oldest zoo, and is much loved by locals and travellers alike. There are over 250 native and exotic species and over 2500 animals on site – including two giant pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, who have called Adelaide home since 2009. Enjoy free keeper presentations throughout the day and pay a lil’ extra for unique animal experiences, such as hand-feeding a colony of adorable little penguins or getting up close and personal with some big, big cats. Tickets will set you back $25.50 if you’re a student, or $36 for adults. With all revenue raised going back into the zoo, it’s a small price to pay to support Adelaide Zoo's crucial conservation efforts.
If you want to get so close to Aussie wildlife you can even touch them, look no further than Cleland Wildlife Park. There are very few animal enclosures at Cleland - most are living in their natural habitat, and you can get as close to them as you like! Look out for kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, native birds, echidnas and snakes (those are in an enclosure, of course!) Buy a bag of feed and you’re free to feed the free-roaming animals and even touch them (just make sure to wash your hands after.) For a lil’ extra, you can enjoy unique encounters with koalas, reptiles, butterflies and wombats, and learn all about them from experienced keepers. Concession tickets cost $20 while adult tickets are $25.50. Don’t miss experiencing this unique attraction and the chance to jam-pack your Insta with photos of some inquisitive Aussie animals!
Arguably Australia’s best wine region, visiting the Barossa Valley is a must-do! An hour’s trip out of Adelaide, the Barossa encompasses a whopping great 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors, surrounded by villages, stone churches and lush hills. It is the home of Australia's most famous red wine, Penfolds Grange, as well as household names such as Jacob's Creek or Wolf Blass. You'll also find the finest produce in the country - pick up a gourmet picnic basket filled with wine glasses, a cheeseboard and a condiments dish and fill it up as you explore the mouth-watering Butcher, Baker and Winemaker Trail. The Barossa is an unforgettable experience that you can enjoy while spending as much or as little as you like. Do it by bicycle, motorbike, vintage car, hot air balloon or helicopter - just make sure you do it!
The largest undercover produce market in Australia, Adelaide Central Market buzzes with life, colour and dedicated traders all year round. Sample the freshest fruit and veg, meat, seafood, cheese, baked goods and health foods, along with the city’s most loved eateries. To get behind the scenes knowledge, join a tour and learn all there is to know about the unique history of the market and all the goodies you’re tasting. With a diverse history dating back to 1869, you’ll feel the rich culture of this place from the moment you step inside. You could spend exactly $0 all day, just taking in the atmosphere, but shelling out a few dollars to support local growers is probably some of the best money you’ll spend during your trip. Adelaide Central Market is South Australia’s most visited tourist attraction with over 9 million visitors a year - make sure you're one of them!
A popular lil’ outdoor adventure for Adelaide locals, Mount Lofty offers panoramic views of the entire city of Adelaide, and costs you $0 to experience. At 710 metres above sea level, there’s a few ways you can get to the top – drive it if you’re short on time (or extra lazy), take the 1-3 hour hike if you fancy yourself a trekker or bike ride if you're up to it! You can pack a picnic and spend the day taking it all in - spotting kangaroos, emus and other wildlife. When you’re done with the #views, you can wander over to Waterfall Gully or Mount Lofty Botanic Garden and experience the majesty of this unique region of Adelaide. A great place to take a hot date, some friends, the family or just go it alone and ponder the meaning of life, Mount Lofty is an excellent way to spend a day without spending a cent.
South Australian Museum. Credit: Brett Sheriden, South Australian Tourism Commission
It costs nothing to get cultured in Adelaide! You’ll find the South Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of South Australia right next to each other, so you can spend a day delving deeper into Australia’s history than you imagined. Peruse endless fascinating exhibits and examine artefacts from the indigenous Ngarrindjeri people at the Museum. At the Gallery, lose yourself in Australian, Indigenous, Asian, European and North American art, and join a free guided tour to learn all about the wonders you are experiencing. Museums and galleries are one of the best ways to get to know a city on a student or backpacker budget – make sure you put some time aside to lose yourself wandering around these two gems.
You can’t go wrong with a beach day when you’re trying to save some dosh. The most popular beach in Adelaide is Glenelg Beach, frequented by locals and visitors alike. You will always be able to find a sandy patch to spread out on, and spend the day alternating between people-watching on the shore and taking a dip in crystal clear blue waters. Right on the beach is The Beachouse amusement park, where you can embrace your inner child and enjoy waterslides, rides and arcade games. The suburb of Glenelg is buzzing, with the beach framed by fantastic cafes, pubs and boutiques for you to browse. You can spend a day exploring this popular suburb with your wallet stowed firmly away, but surely you can spare a few bucks to grab an ice cream and walk the jetty by sunset!
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If you love Japanese culture (and who doesn’t?), the Himeji Gardens are the place for you. A slice of peace and tranquillity right in the heart of the CBD, the Gardens were a gift from Adelaide’s sister city in Japan, Himeji, in the early 1980s. Find your inner peace wandering through perfectly manicured shrubs and trees, still ponds and gorgeous lily pads. With shady and sunny areas, the Garden is the perfect place for a peaceful picnic all year round. Spot goldfish, ducks and turtles in the Garden’s stunning water feature, accompanied by a hidden waterfall under the trees. See an authentic Japanese zen garden, teahouse and enjoy intricate Japanese architecture. Entry to the garden is free - a great opportunity to get a prime backdrop for your Adelaide Insta post without spending a cent.