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Colourful, creative and cosmopolitan South Australia’s capital has experienced a culinary and cultural revolution in recent times and is celebrated on an international scale for its avant-garde arts scene and scores of bars and restaurants – but delivered in as easy-going a way as possible. And for a country that is famously casual, the fifth largest city in the land also does first-class dining with finesse.

Adelaide, South AustraliaAdelaide City, a big country town in spirit, is the kind of destination where everything is easily accessible and you can gorge on an eclectic array of art and inspiring food in a few short hours. Since the Adelaide Hills, 30 minutes from the city centre, is Australia’s fruit and vegetable basket, you can expect the produce in these parts to be as fresh as can be.

The celebrated Australian cook from the Barossa, Maggie Beer has an appetite for the Art Gallery of South Australia. Not only a beautiful building that houses a spectacular collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewellery and furniture from Australia, Europe, North America, and Asia, but from 10am until 4.30pm, it is also a great place to eat…

“If it’s lunchtime I meet friends at the Art Gallery Restaurant, which is a must for great, simple food. If I have time to catch whatever exhibition is on, or just quietly contemplate one part of the gallery, I feel so spoilt. To top my day off, I like to while away some time until my husband Colin joins me at Michael Treloar Antiquarian Booksellers across the road. Then I’ll flip back through Rundle Street to have coffee at Cibo, which is fantastic for someone like me who takes coffee so seriously.”

Where to stay?

Clarion Hotel Soho Set in Adelaide’s East End, this designer 30-room den is a bijoux boutique hotel with excellently appointed rooms. The very cool city-view heated jet pool on its roof is in itself a good enough reason to stay here. As for the eye candy inside, the hotel’s own art collection showcasing up-and-coming South Australian artists is on display throughout the hotel.

Insider tips  If it’s Asian flavours you crave, there are dozens of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and Malay restaurants on Gouger Street, close to Chinatown and the Adelaide Central Market. Dim sum lovers can get their fix at lots of spots (left) for next to nothing; meat fans will love Gaucho’s, Australia’s first Argentinean Restaurant – the zingy chimmi churri sauce there is sure to give your tastebuds a thrill. Closer to the Clarion Hotel is the award-winning restaurant, Chianti Classico, which wows with delicious flavours from Tuscany and Northern Italy at 160 Hutt Street.

Adelaide’s international airport is serviced by many international and domestic flights from all over. Interstate trains come into the Adelaide Parklands Terminal (13 21 47;, while its local train network (+61 (0)8 8218 2362; comprises five suburban lines. It is fun to hop onto the tram that runs from the city to beachside Glenelg. You won’t need wheels to explore the walkable downtown area, but to discover beaches beyond, hire a car; a plus is that parking is cheap and easy.

Discover more boutique hotels in Adelaide.

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