Adelaide: South Australia’s Siren

Adelaide: South Australia's Siren

Adelaide calls you from across the seas with wonderful wine and adventures.

Adelaide: South Australia's Siren, is fourth in a series about Australian Capital Cities, from smallest to largest in population.

Australia's Free City

Adelaide was founded in 1836 to counter the transportation of convicts. Adelaide is regarded as the first capital built without convict labour.  South Australia is further west of Melbourne, centrally located on the Australian continent. From Adelaide the traveller will find adventures to the East, North and West that will give you many happy memories.

Adelaide is a small city, of just over one million folk, on the Torrens River. Surrounded by the beautiful hills of the Loftus Range, to the East, Adelaide is as pretty as a picture.  South Australia is one of the more charming places to visit in Australia. Adelaide is a siren sounding your scintillating escape.

Along the Torrens River, Adelaide

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Along the Torrens River, Adelaide

When Should I Visit Adelaide?

During the Adelaide Festival.  Any festival will do as the city bursts into life and the weather is mild.  The Fringe Festival, a sideshow of events, also packs a cultural punch that travellers love.  Visiting Adelaide in May or October, Fall or Spring, is a good time to go. The weather then is also mild. The 2009 Festival is now playing and runs until Monday, March 16th.

Dress for a desert climate. Hot in the days and cold at night. Very light and informal in Summer and rugged-up for Winter.  Summer is very hot all day and all night due to her proximity to the Outback. Usually, though, dress the same as you would for Europe.

Did You Know That Adelaide…

  1. Was named after Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV, the King of England who reigned during the city's birth in 1836?
  2. Was founded as the first free settler city in Australia?
  3. Has a strong liberal democratic history?
  4. Is the home of seven-time champion of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong?

Adelaide – Food and Wine Central

German migrants to South Australia brought with them viticulture skills that started the current craze for Australian wine.  The Barossa Valley, to the North, is where the Germans settled in the 19th Century. It's a wine region without peer.  Yalumba Wines, Australia's oldest vineyard, lives here.

Verdant Barossa Valley; a day away from Adelaide.

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Verdant Barossa Valley; a day away from Adelaide.

Adelaide was first in cuisine and wine that recent times have witnessed. Stephanie Alexander, a leading chef, has her roots in Adelaide's food culture. Adelaide sounded the siren for Australian cuisine.

Getting There

Drive to Adelaide, along The Great Ocean Road, from Melbourne.  This takes you around spectacular coasts home to some cute towns and vistas supreme.  Fly direct into Adelaide from all Australian Capital Cities or travel there by train from Darwin, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.  Trains are a relaxed scenic way to arrive.

“The Ghan,” a classic outback train will bring you South from Darwin into Adelaide. “The Indian Pacific,” train snakes through stunning Adelaide linking the Indian and the Pacific oceans.

Driving to Adelaide is the best way to get to Adelaide, though, as you can take in the beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

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Adelaide Botanical Gardens

The Water…

Adelaide is the only Australian city where the water is not good.  Although clean, it is brackish, and in need of boiling.  Locals drink tea.  Adelaide's water has a high mineral content with an unpleasant taste they name as, “hard.”

The Bigger Picture

Adelaide is off-the-beaten-track for many who come Downunder.  It is for this reason that you should take a big-picture view of Adelaide. Visit her surrounds – the Barossa Valley, Kangaroo Island, the Eyre Peninsular and Lake Eyre. An entire region beckons – you will get bored in town.

Adelaide is also has pretty beaches, so, if you like beach-culture then there is a lot to see.  A trip up to the Adelaide Hills, the Loftus Range, is also a cute day trip out of the city.

Sweeping beaches

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Sweeping beaches

Lake Eyre – Temporary Wonder of the World

Lake Eyre, in the Cooper Basin north of Adelaide, is a sight to behold after rains. Lake Eyre fills only temporarily and when it does it is a natural wonder.  This is the story of an ancient lake and river system few ever get to witness in all its' glory.

Like Eyre is a salty bed of parched earth that has only filled to the brim a few times in the last 150 years.  Also, the lowest point on the continent, the lake lies fifteen meters below sea-level.  The recent rains that flooded the North of Australia ( see Australia Flooding ) have now flowed South. An extraordinary and little known fact is that Australia is, “tilted,” just slightly.  Any rain in the North of the land flows to the South. The Cooper Basin, Lake Eyre's home, is an ancient Gondwanaland River System that drinks up any Northern floods. The long and the short of it is – Lake Eyre is now filling; well worth a visit if you want to witness the spectacular.

The lake can only be accessed with four wheel drive vehicles.  If you are renting a four wheel drive in Australia, read the contract, you may not be allowed to take the 4WD off sealed roads!  Hire from a company that lets you drive it on unsealed roads. Access to Lake Eyre is along dubious tracks.  Alternatively, fly from Adelaide for the day and see this hugh 1.4 million hectare lake from the sky.

The Diamantina River, flowing into Lake Eyre, has reported record flows from the recent ( February, 2009 ) Northern rains.  Witnessing this lake in flood is exceptionally rare.  When it happens, the ecosystem around the lake comes alive with birds, fish and frogs from where no scientist can explain.  Lake Eyre is now coming to life as a temporary wonder of the world!

Lake Eyre, near Adelaide, South AustraliaLake Eyre, near Adelaide, South Australia

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Tags: Australia