An Insight into Adelaide | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

An Insight into Adelaide

Travel writer Phoebe Christofi reminds us to reconsider 'Australia's best-kept secret', Adelaide

It’s that time of year where those of you considering taking up an exchange must finalise your applications. While you’re in this process, may I give you a recommendation? “The City of Churches”, “The 20 Minute City”, “Convict Free Provence”; home. When you think of Australia, the capital cities which I’m sure spring to your mind are Sydney and Melbourne. I, however, urge you to consider something a little more down south. Adelaide is a real beauty. If you’re kind to her, she’ll treat you right. She understands that she’s not as popular as some of the other cities, but she doesn’t mind. That’s what makes her thrive. Only people that go and get to know her really appreciate her for what she is; Australia’s best-kept secret.

One of only three places in the world where another drink (the delectable Farmers Union Iced Coffee) will outsell Coca-Cola and the third most expensive building in the world exists (Royal Adelaide Hospital). Furthermore, in the Southern Hemisphere alone, Adelaide possesses the largest Christmas pageant, largest cinema complex, largest fresh produce market under a roof (Adelaide Central Markets), largest glasshouse (Botanical Gardens) and, don’t want to brag, but we have two giant pandas in the Adelaide Zoo. The only city in Australia colonised by free-settlers and not convicts, the first place to abolish both racial and sexual discrimination, the first city to recognise the land rights of the Indigenous Australians and the first to give women the right to vote in 1894 (twenty-four years before Britain in 1918).

With the facts aside (which may or may not have convinced you already to add this gem of a city to your “next to travel” list), Adelaide is the absolute best place to live. According to Lonely Planet, it is currently ranked number five in the world (tied with Calgary) for Most Liveable City. Also, as previously mentioned, it’s known as the 20 Minute City; the definition of convenience. She understands that you’re a busy person, and she wants to make life as easy for you as possible. She doesn’t really understand what a traffic jam is, but she’s heard horror stories from other cities. At worst you’ll have to wait an hour before you get home; but on that rare occasion, you know that she didn’t really mean it. From where I live, it takes me five minutes by car to get to the city (where I study at the University of Adelaide), fifteen minutes to get into the Adelaide Hills and twenty minutes to get to the beach. If that’s not good enough for you, the student accommodation is in the city; a hop, skip and a jump later and you’re at the front doors of Bonython Hall –  the Old Joe equivalent for the University of Adelaide.

Adelaide loves her music, sports and arts festivals. It’s what she’s known best for and she doesn’t disappoint. Known as Mad March in the Adelaide calendar, the city showcases the Adelaide Fringe (many Edinburgh acts travel the twenty-four hours for the occasion), WOMADelaide which is a cultural music festival to highlight the potential of a multicultural society and the Adelaide Festival. If you’re worried about every other month of the year, you don’t have to worry about there being a shortage of activities; she has plenty in store for you. Arguably one of the best wine regions in the world (sixteen regions in total) the well-known Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Maclaren Vale are less than an hour from the centre of the city. Grab your friends for an impromptu weekend wine tour and taste the wines and cheeses that are world famous. She’s proud of them, and when you taste them, you’ll know exactly why. If the countryside and greenery don't appeal to you though (and you’re coming from the UK, so you may be sick of it already), then there are endless beaches at your disposal. But which beach? There are too many to choose from. Unlike Sydney with its bustling sand dunes where you’re limited to less than a square metre to relax and tan, Adelaide has nothing but space; and that’s not because they’re unpopular. The beaches stretch so far that you’re guaranteed a place on that white-hot sand for your all year-round picnic. At Glenelg you can waltz up and down Jetty Road and explore the countless boutiques and cafes before taking a dip in the water, go to Semaphore and treat yourself to an ice-cream from Copenhagen, venture to Henley Beach and indulge in an abundance of Greek food at Estias whilst looking at a view of the sea which is so good it should be illegal.

When you’re planning your trip to Australia (save your pennies kids), don’t overlook little old Adelaide. She may be quaint, but she is anything but average.


13th November 2017 at 10:05 am

Images from

Les Haines