Top 6 free things to do in Adelaide

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While not as expensive as some of Australia’s other famous capital cities, Adelaide is still a relatively pricey city to holiday in. Luckily there are a few ways to cut down your travel costs in South Australia’s capital, from taking free transport to visiting one of the many fantastic free attractions which call Adelaide home.

Here are our tips for the best free things to do in Adelaide:

Visit the Art Gallery of South Australia

Open daily from 10am to 5pm, the Art Gallery of South Australia houses over 38,000 works in the stunning building which dates back to 1881. This art gallery is huge and best of all it’s free, meaning it’s one of the best ways to spend your afternoon if you’re looking to not spend a cent.

With dozens of limited season exhibitions as well as plenty of permanent exhibitions, the Art Gallery of South Australia’s collection of art from Australia, Europe, North America and Asia spans from ancient Rome to contemporary art showcasing a number of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings and photographs.

art gallery of south australia
Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide. Source: Cimexus.

Spend the day at one of Adelaide’s great beaches

Glenelg is one of the city’s most popular seaside spots, attracting Adelaide locals and out-of-towners due to it being only 10 km from the centre of Adelaide. Also home to The Beachouse, a theme park with waterslides, dodgem cars, mini golf, bumper boats and more, it’s no wonder why Glenelg has been a family favourite spot for years.

Henley Beach is another great spot with a grassy foreshore perfect for picnics or relaxing out of the water, as well as a jetty and popular cafe and dining precinct.

Glenelg Beach Adelaide
Glenelg Beach, Adelaide.

Take a self-guided walking tour through historic Port Adelaide

Spot dozens of 19th century buildings which tell a story of the early days of Adelaide including the customs house, telegraph office and chandlery, and visit the South Australian Maritime Museum which is housed in a historic warehouse on Lipton Street. Walking maps of Port Adelaide, which is South Australia’s first spot to be declared a historic precinct, are available from local tourist offices.

sawtooth roof in historic port adelaide
Sawtooth roof in historic Port Adelaide. Source: Michael Coghlan.

Visit Adelaide Hills and explore its celebrated wineries

One of Australia’s most acclaimed cool-climate wine regions and home to more than 60 wineries and cellar doors, visit Adelaide Hills and enjoy tastings and take-home purchase wines including Pinot Noirs, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blancs.

If you don’t have a taste for wine, there’s still plenty of things to enjoy in Adelaide Hills. Indulge in the region’s fantastic local produce, particularly the delicious olives, cheeses, cured meats and organic greens, or treat yourself to a hearty meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the scenic surrounds of Adelaide Hills, including The Lane Vineyard and Bird in Hand.

adelaide hills adelaide
Adelaide Hills, Adelaide. Source: Juan Alberto Garcia Rivera.

Explore Adelaide Botanic Gardens  

Although not as flashy as the botanic gardens of some of Australia’s other capital cities, Adelaide Botanic Garden still packs a lovely native display and plenty of manicured gardens to explore. Along the way visit the beautifully restored Palm Lake, which lies to the west of the main lake, or stop by the Santos Museum of Economic Botany to learn more about Adelaide Botanic Gardens’ fabulous arrangement of plants, as well as a display of many stunning aboriginal artefacts.

adelaide botanic gardens
Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Source: Jocelyn Kinghorn.

Head up Mount Lofty

Located in Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty is the highest point in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and offers a range of hikes of varying difficulty. The Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike is a popular walk, known for being short and sweet and attracting a big weekend crowd, while more advanced hikers can enjoy a number of other trails which weave their way up the mountain.

mount lofty adelaide
Views from Mount Lofty in Adelaide. Source: Graeme Churchard.

Other tips to save money

    • There’s a joint initiative by the Adelaide City Council and Bike SA, called Adelaide Free Bikes, which offers free bike hire across the city. All you’ll need is a valid driver’s licence, passport or an Australian proof of age card.
    • There’s a free tram service which runs around the city, stopping at many of Adelaide’s main attractions, shopping precincts and popular dining hubs. Board the free City tram, which goes between the South Terrace tram stop and the Entertainment Centre, and get around Adelaide for free.
  • If you’re staying in Adelaide or South Australia for a longer period, it’s the only state in Australia which provides refunds for recycling empty cans and bottles. If you return them to your local depot you’ll receive 10c for every can and bottle marked with ‘10c deposit’ on them.

Travelling to South Australia’s capital? Webjet can help you get to Adelaide. Take a look at our cheap flights to Adelaide, book hotels and accommodation or combine your flights and hotel booking in one with a cheap Adelaide holiday package.

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