10 reasons to visit Adelaide in autumn
AFTER the brutal heat of the Queensland summer, we need a cool place where food, wine and gentle activities will soothe our heated brows.
Adelaide will do nicely - it has shrugged off its 'second-cousin' mantle and put on its party hat - and autumn is the perfect time to see it at play.
Locals call it Mad March due to the exceptional number of events throughout the month. Just as Adelaide has said goodbye to the Australian Women's Open Golf, it says hello to WOMAD, Adelaide Fringe, Clipsal 500 (street circuit car race), the Adelaide Cup, Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide Writer's Week...madness alright, but what a party! Exhausted? Then go in May for Tasting Australia - it's huge.
Never has a city so fervently embraced food culture over the past few years. Every international cuisine flourishes: in gastro pubs, cafes, high-end restaurants and on the streets. The coffee scene is vibrant...and eat streets are claiming their place in every suburb. This culinary renaissance is omnipresent all over the city and into the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa. Stretchy waistbands a must during a visit.
Adelaide has some of the world's most prestigious golf clubs. The Big Daddy of them all, The Royal Adelaide Golf Club, played host to the world's top female golfers in February at the Australian Women's Open, all players enthusiastic about the quality of the course.
Drive ten 20 minutes out of town to the Stirling Golf Club in the Piccadilly Valley where the birds and kangaroos watch you play in the pretty bush setting. Just moments away from the trendy town of Stirling, the club has modest but good accommodation overlooking the greens and bush - and at a fraction of the cost of B&Bs down the road, it's a popular choice, even for non-golfers.
The Barossa Valley Golf Club is small but attracts visitors from all parts of the globe keen to play in its Aussie bush setting where kangaroo spotting is pretty-much guaranteed. The Tanunda Pines Golf Club adjacent to the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort is the perfect excuse to check into the five-star resort for a long weekend of golf and five-star indulgence.
Let us never again refer to refer to Adelaide as the City of Churches. Sure, churches make their graceful presence known, but Adelaide is more about fun these days...just ask any one of the thousands people who crammed into the Adelaide Oval to watch Gun & Roses perform in February, and then ask some of the thousands of others who went out into the streets to enjoy the Fringe Festival Parade. It's not just in March that the city pumps, there is something exciting going on every weekend of the year.
Locals call Adelaide the 20 Minute City. Just that short time takes you to the beach or the hills and all the good times they offer. The free City Connector bus will take you on an inner city loop and an extended loop around trendy North Adelaide giving you a link to all the popular attractions. That's a lot to love about a bus.
Grant Burge, Peter Lehmann, Penfolds, Jacobs Creek, Seppelts, St. Hallett, Yalumba...all our best-known wine names live in South Australia...plus dozens more we haven't heard of but will want to know after one sip. More than 200 cellar doors are on the city's doorstep which earns Adelaide's wine area the title of Great Wine Capital of the World, alongside Bordeaux and Napa Valley. It doesn't get any more recognised than that.
An easy drive takes you to Hahndorf, the pretty town in the Adelaide Hills where you'll be forgiven for thinking you've landed in a charming slice of Germany. Hahndorf is home to the oldest surviving German settlement built by a group of Prussian settlers in 1839 and in this leafy town you'll eat sublime German smallgoods, beautiful breads and sumptuous cakes and then with satisfied stomach, browse galleries, boutiques and jewellery shops. In the autumn Hahndorf is a blaze of rusty colours adding to its already plentiful charm.
8/ BAROSSA VALLEY
Neat vineyards roll over the landscape and connect graceful hills, all interspersed with charming villages and appealing hamlets. Cycling and walking trails offer gentle exercise after you've visited cellar doors (with around 750 winegrowing families in the Barossa you'll find a cellar door in every nook.) Farming heritage, abundant produce, winemaking expertise, fruit growing, meat smoking, cheese making, flour milling, farmers' markets - you could be Tuscany but Barossa is better.
9/ MAGGIE BEER'S FARM SHOP
A stop at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop gives you a literal taste of all the Barossa. Every one of her many products (apart from ice-creams) is generously offered to taste. From her famous pates through to her relishes, jams, pastes and then to her daughter Sasika's products (beetroot jam...mmmm), you're invited to try them all. If you can walk out without buying something - salted brandy caramel in our case - then your willpower is commendable.
Yes, Adelaide can experience extreme heat, but we are going into autumn and it's time to enjoy crisp mornings and rug-up evenings. Once autumn has gone it is all about gathering around fires in pubs, clubs, B&Bs and in winery restaurants. Sipping some of the Barossa's big reds in front of a fire will make you forget the horrible humidity of a Queensland summer.
The writer was a guest of South Australia Tourism. For more information on Adelaide, go to www.southaustralia.com.