Adelaide is known as the city of churches – but there aren’t any of those in this article. There are however 20 other quirky, fun and unusual things to do in Adelaide that you might want to try.
1. Hire a BBQ Buoy
These floating round boats are available to hire at Pinky Flat, close to Adelaide Oval. They are no normal boat though, they also have a space in the middle for a picnic table – or a gas BBQ. Pack your food of choice, pick up some beverages from the BBQ Buoys team and off you go. It costs from $140 for a boat for two for two hours.
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We took our BBQ Buoy out at sunset which was fantastic – the river was super quiet and watching the sunset all around us as we floated past was amazing.
Check out their website for all the details you need – or read our full review to discover exactly why we loved it so much and also to find some other cool ways to get out on the River Torrens. You’ll find it here.
2. Find a Furby
Artist Laura Lamington has been adding paste up pictures of the tiny talking creatures all over Adelaide since late last year for no reason other than to make people happy. Well, it worked for me.
Exactly how many are out there no-one knows, but I found over 20 in the few days I was in town – top tip, wander up and down side streets and alleys, particularly those off the main Rundle Mall thoroughfare. Check flowerpots and utility boxes – I admit, I did go back to Adelaide again recently and lots of the original furbies I found have disappeared, but there’s still some out there!
If you find one, you can upload it to @find_a_furby on Instagram who are curating quite the collection of images.
3. Visit Adelaide Gaol
I wasn’t sure about this originally, but I had a spare couple of hours one afternoon and so popped along – only to discover the most fascinating eerie place that begged to be added to my list of unusual things to do.
Forty-five people were hanged behind the walls of the jail and you can enter the areas in which it happened – and visit their graves just outside the prison walls which makes the place super creepy.
Also, don’t miss the collection of old adverts on the wall of the old canteen, it’s a proper trip down memory lane for those of ahem, a certain age!
Adelaide Goal is open 7 days a week, 10 am – 4 pm. It costs $12.50 for normal admission. But you can also book a heap of specialist tours – including ghost tours if you weren’t finding it spooky enough.
4. Eat a Frog Cake
These are a unique Adelaide thing to do – a real tradition – but I warn you, you’re going to need a sweet tooth to get through one.
Frog Cakes are effectively a square lump of sponge, topped with a cream filling then covered with icing. The finishing touch, two eyes and a cut where a mouth would go that makes it look like a frog.
Thankfully, they are quite small. You’ll find them at the Balfours cafe in City Cross, 32 Grenfell Street.
The other unusual thing to eat in Adelaide is the pie floater – a pie floating on a pile of liquid mushy peas. I missed out on that one personally. It seems your best chance of finding one is the food carts that turn up in the city on football days as they aren’t as common as they used to be.
5. Go Dolphin Hunting
Lots of places have dolphins so this might not seem like much of an unusual thing to do. In Adelaide, though you don’t have to go out on a boat to see the dolphins, you can see them from dry land.
Specifically, you have to head to Port Adelaide, an area about 30 minutes drive or 40 minutes on a train from Adelaide CBD. It’s a quaint old town with museums, street art, a cool old lighthouse – and a pod of dolphins that live in the Port River that runs through the town.
We’d seen boats offering dolphin tours when we visited the town but hadn’t realised you can actually see the dolphins from shore – until about 60 minutes before sunset on our last night in Adelaide. Cue a mad scramble as we jumped straight in the car to try and spot them.
There are about six vantage points along the river where they like to hang out (a route called the Dolphin Trail) but we weren’t lucky enough to see any the night we went. There was a pretty sunset and a pelican though.
I was also really upset that we didn’t find out about the kayak trips you can do to meet the dolphins and see the Ship’s Graveyard, the remains of around 40 ships scuttled off nearby Garden Island until it was too late either – weeks I spent researching this trip and it didn’t come up once or I’d have booked a trip immediately!
Don’t make my mistake, check out the tours here. Yes, I know I should probably have looked at Get Your Guide myself!
6. Climb to the Top of the Oval
You can do this – not me. I’m scared of heights – but, if you’re braver than me, don’t miss the chance to scale the top of Adelaide Oval, the major sporting ground in the city.
At the top, you’ll get 360-degree views across the city and all the way out to the Adelaide Hills – and the chance to test your bravery at a special lean out point 50 metres above the ground.
Sydney has the Bridge Climb, this is Adelaide’s equivalent (and it’s a bit cheaper too!)
Click here to check out the tour options – they do a sunset tour, which if our experience of Adelaide sunsets was anything to go by would be seriously pretty, or day time tours.
If you’re more into sports than heights, you can also take a straightforward ‘[backstage’ tour of the oval hearing about its history and seeing areas people don’t normally get to check out.
If you’re a cricket fan it’s a must-do as you’ll get to go into the Bradman collection dedicated to the career of Sir Donald Bradman, possibly Australia’s most celebrated cricketer.
If you’re going to an event at the Oval, you can also stay at the new Oval Hotel which looks pretty swish! Check the rates here.
Okay, enough talk of the Oval… let’s get strange!
7. Rub a Pig for Luck
A Day Out is the name of the statues of four pigs toward the west end of Rundle Mall shopping precinct. Each of the four pigs has a name – Horatio, Oliver, Truffles and Augusta – and rubbing either their nose, neck or their back (look for the shiniest place on each pig) is supposed to bring good luck.
While you’re in the area also check out Rundle Mall’s other super-sculpture the Malls Balls – two giant shiny spheres balanced on top of each other.
Apparently, if you come to the mall about 2 am on a weekend, you’ll see at least one person trying to climb them! This is not suggested on the Differentville tour of unusual things to do in Adelaide!
8. Find the Steve Irwin Mural
There’s a lot of cool street art in Adelaide, but one of my favourite murals was to be found on Tatham Street. It’s of the late naturalist and TV star Steve Irwin and it just made me smile.
If the Steve Irwin mural isn’t to your taste, you’ll find heaps more murals up and down Tatham Street, in nearby Eliza Street and in the laneways off the east end of Rundle Street.
9. Go Ghost Hunting
There seems to be a lot of spooky goings-on in Adelaide.
Adelaide Haunted Horizons offer the biggest selection of ghost tours including the completely terrifying sounding Z Ward (there’s no review of this because I was too scared to go on it).
If you’d rather test your paranormal-seeking powers without a guide however take a trip to the fabulously ornate Adelaide Arcade which runs between Rundle Mall and Grenfell Street.
It’s said to be haunted by the ghost of the old caretaker. One night he went to fix the generator and slipped, accidentally losing his head in the process. He’s now said to haunt the arcade after dark.
10. Try a Cheese Gelato
The Gorgonzola, Pear, Fig and Walnut ice cream from 48 Flavours on Gouger Street tied first place in the 2017 Gelato World Tour, a competition to find the best gelato in the world.
If the idea of cheese gelato is making you queasy it actually tastes more of pear than anything else. I also sampled the peanut butter flavour you can see here, and even though that was dairy-free it was really good.
11. Whizz Round on a Segway
Segways are pretty good fun. And this tour by Segway Sensations SA gives you the chance to try one out along the pretty Adelaide riverfront. Which is preferable to whizzing along the middle of the road in Munich where I once ended up on one – but I digress!
You’ll spend the first part of the hour-long tour learning how to use the machine (I can’t drive anything with wheels and even I can work a Segway) and then head out for the guided part of your experience. Click here to see more details.
They also offer a tour along the seafront at Glenelg if you want to see a different part of the city.
This trip uses offroad Segways so you actually ride on the beach at the end of your tour. Have a look at that one here.
12. Go on a Date With Azou
No, I haven’t started the Differentville Matchmaking Club.
Azou is the charming owner of the Le Souk stall at Adelaide’s Central Market and if you get there when it’s not too busy he’ll offer you free samples of their dates – along with some seriously cheesy date related puns to go with them.
Adelaide Central Market is one of those must-dos that everyone tells you about, and it is worth a trip.
However, having gone twice – once on a Saturday when it was heaving and once about 4 pm on a Tuesday, I can safely say for a more unusual trip, the latter is a better time if you really want to see what’s on offer and chat to the stall owners – and hear Azou’s best date-based puns!
True foodies, however, might want to take one of the early morning tours around the market which also gets you the inside track on the stallholders and their specialities.
13. Wave at The Beatles
The first time I saw it, I couldn’t work out why I could see a window with a picture of a young Paul McCartney in it as I walked down Adelaide’s King William Street.
But then I took the free walking tour organised by Ryan at Tours Around Adelaide and he explained EVERYTHING.
The story goes that after two local radio stations banded together and got a petition of over 80,000 signatures, in June 1964 The Beatles came to Adelaide and made a personal appearance on the balcony of the Town Hall.
At that time, not many big stars went to the city so this was huge news – 300,000 people turned out to see them – the pictures and stories of the day itself are incredible and it must have been amazing to actually be part of it.
In 2016 the image was added to the Town Hall to commemorate this big day in Adelaide history.
14. Drink Fizzy Red Wine
Sparkling Shiraz is something I’d never had before I came to Australia – but it’s sooooo good.
It’s served cold and traditionally drunk here at Christmas – I don’t need the arrival of Santa to have a glass though, any excuse will do. However, the only place I’ve seen it actually served in pubs is Adelaide. I had a glass at the Exeter Hotel on Rundle Street.
Warning – it’s rather moreish and seems to go to your head quick fast – don’t go overboard with this stuff. I might have learned this the hard way in the past – but that’s a story for another day.
Don’t forget, Adelaide is right in the middle of two of Australia’s major wine regions – the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale. We took an interesting wine tasting trip with Trailhopper hop-on, hop-off bus on our trip to McLaren Vale. See our review of the day here.
15. Visit the Chocolate Factory
Haigh’s Chocolate stores can be found all over Australia selling fabulous like treats like their dark chocolate frogs – but one of the unique things to do in Adelaide is visiting the factory where the magic is created.
It’s a short drive outside the city and you will need to make a booking.
16. Count the Polites Signs
These are everywhere and after seeing about the 15th one I had to find out why – it turns out Polites is a local real estate company and if they own a building they like to make it with their sign.
I just thought lots of nice people lived there!
Yes, I know, it’s not the most exciting thing to do in Adelaide, but the signs are everywhere and at some point you will wonder why – so here’s the answer.
17. Hit the Beach
There are two beaches within a short distance of Adelaide CBD, Glenelg which is reachable by tram and Henley Beach which is a short bus ride away and they both offer spectacular sunsets directly over the ocean.
We chose to visit Henley Beach and sat on the balcony of the RSL for an uninterrupted view. It’s a gorgeous spot and the oysters from the menu were pretty good. The Cobb salad not so much.
The easiest way to reach Henley Beach is via the X30 bus which takes about 40 minutes from the centre of town. You can buy your ticket directly from the driver, but don’t forget to then punch it on the machine a bit further down the bus.
18. Try Olive Oil from the Cemetery
The West Terrace Cemetery in Adelaide is a tourist attraction in its own right with both day and night tours offered to explore the site and its history. However, once a year they produce something quite special – an olive oil pressed from the small grove of olive trees in the grounds.
You have to be quick, only a few hundred bottles are produced and they normally come into Jagger Fine Foods in the Central Market around June time.
19. Visit Blakebys
This old-fashioned sweet shop in James Place in Adelaide CBD has the most amazing window displays and outside decor – not to mention all the sweets you remember from your childhood tucked away inside.
And yes, I do admit there’s a lot of sweet stuff in this list of unusual things to do in Adelaide.
That might be because I was there over Easter so a) I had chocolate on my mind and b) half the cool bars I wanted to tell you about were closed on the days I needed to visit them so chocolate took the place of booze!
If you are in a drinky frame of mind though there…
20. Hit Up a Quirky Bar
Had I not been there in the middle of Easter, these fun, quirky bars in Adeliade would have been where I’d have gone.
Have a look at Biblioteque, a bar and book exchange, Happy Sally, the 50s and 60s themed bar on Pirie Street, The Colonist pub is Norwood with its quirky interior and Peter Rabbit cafe and bar which I believe has actual bunnies (three times I went to find out but it was never open!).
I’m also fascinated by Bethnal Green – a newer bar inspired by London’s Bethnal Green Tube Station. Why that one? Anyhoo, I know what’s first on my list to visit on my next trip to Adelaide.
Also, look for The Sorcerers Bar with their wizard themed cocktails, Butterbeer shots – and lots of fire and smoke. Hmm, now we’re torn – tube stations or Wizards! Agggh.
Where to Stay in Adelaide
On our last trip, we found an amazing’ slightly unusual hotel right in the middle of everything. It’s called the Miller Apartment and one of the reasons we loved it was that it was split level – the downstairs had its own kitchen and living room – and then, up a rather fabulous (albeit a bit steep) spiral staircase is a compact bedroom.
Miller Apartment is on Hindley Street which is Adelaide’s party strip – however, this particular room is right at the back so you would be cushioned a bit from the noise. We were there on a Monday night and didn’t hear a peep from anyone. Click here to check out more pictures and room rates (not all the rooms have staircases).
Prefer to stay in an AirBNB?
The first time we went to Adelaide, we went for a week so it was cheaper to stay in an AirBnb.
We picked one on York Street at the other end of town which was also fantastic and would be great if you were looking for something a bit bigger – as it sleeps up to six.
On the site it’s called the York Luxury 2-Bedroom + Free Car Park in the CBD (snappy title, but it describes it well). It’s right in the middle of everything and has a cute balcony that we sat on for lunch more than once.
If you’re keen on finding an AirBNB in Adelaide, you can search on the map below.
So there you have it, my list of 20 fun, quirky and most unusual things to do in Adelaide. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.
Want to Explore Some More?
As part of our trip, we also took a few day trips outside from Adelaide – we swam with some tuna, saw a giant burger and a Big Rocking Horse, and visited a tiny German-style town. If you want to know more, read our post on 12 Easy Day Trips from Adelaide.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.
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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.