Peaceful River Torrens

It’s tempting to check the real estate section in Adelaide. The sunny, beautiful city, which suffers from a little gridlock born of rapid growth and narrow roads, is nothing if not friendly. The River Torrens runs just north of the CBD; lined with walking and bicycle paths, it is an amazing intersection of tourism and local use. A new stadium, art museum and entertainment center line one end, a 20-minute walk gets you to the Botanical garden and Zoo.


Divine picnic from the lovely Adelaide Central Market

The city shuts down for Easter; we arrived the Thursday before and were advised to forage for supplies as most shops would be closed the weekend. Adelaide Central Market is a charming collection of traders hawking staples such as produce and cheese, gourmet items -check out the Charcuterie Traiteur, or the Smelly Cheese Shop – and cafe foods. Begun as a farmer’s market on this spot in 1869, the facade is the same as when erected in 1900, and its reputation as food mecca deserved. No fancy displays or expensive trappings, just organic, homespun coffee, cheese and sweets made with purest ingredients, interpersed with stalls selling spices, kitchen supplies and flowers. Divine.

Puppies play

To work off lunch, check out the free bike scheme Adelaide offers. Pick up some standard cruisers at one of many local locations and take off down the riverwalk, bomb through the gardens, and roll through the streets – obligingly lined with bike lanes. The river Torrens paths go up river miles out of downtown, with bridges and parks installed with art and landscaped to captivate, and the city is ringed with parks crisscrossed with paths past cricket pitches and ponds.

For a bit of shopping and cafe culture in the CBD, wander Rundle Mall. Lined with international chains, there’s literally almost everything available here, including the chic John Lewis and uberpopular Lululemon. Buskers fill the air with song – stop for the lyric electronic dulcimer of Lindsay Buckland, hauting and evocative of his native land.

Adelaide arcade

Outside Adelaide arcade

A little further along Rundle Mall gives way to Rundle Street, with more local shops and cafes, bikers mingling with girls walking puppies on the cobblestoned side streets. Leafy brick alleys host jolly outdoor cafes and brunch (and beer!) is available round the clock. For a taste of Paris in this city with like cafe culture, imbibe in the crepes at Le Carpe Diem. The good sirs at East End Cellars will give you a thorough oenophilic tour of the local wine scene, and even prepare a case for shipping or taking home. {Tip: Keep receipts and get tax back at the airport; our returned tax was more than the duty we paid taking the case of wine into Singapore, bonus!}

If you go ..

Hotel Adina is housed in an old treasury building on Victoria Square, just blocks from the Adelaide Central Market but a fair walk to the river. It’s leafy open air courtyard bar and restaurant are popular with locals and serve excellent fare and convival atmosphere. Closer to museums and tourist spots is the Sebel Playford, a fabulous grand dame of art nouveau design. Its bar calls more for that little black dress than jeans and boots.

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