Adelaide, South Australia – September 1999
Adelaide’s cosmopolitan Central Market near Victoria Square is huge.
With 250 stalls under one roof it stretches across a city block from
Grote to Gouger Street.
Easily the best in Australia, it sells predominately food – fruits and
vegetables, fresh and smoked fish and meats, gourmet specialties and
exotic game, cheeses and bakery products. But hunt around and you will
find a shop selling anything – secondhand books, crafts, jewellery,
clothes, etc. The market days are Tuesday and Thursday 7am to 5.30pm,
Friday 7am to 9pm and Saturday 7am to 3pm.
First impressions are its popularity and high quality stalls with
excellent presentation of goods. Central markets are often grotty and
unhygienic – but not in Adelaide! Shops range in size from one to a
Most are family businesses run by Aussies of European
and Asian backgrounds, so shoppers experience a chatter in foreign
languages – Italian, Greek, Chinese and Vietnamese etc. It’s a great
place for breakfast and lunch – restaurants offer exotic dishes and
shoppers crowd the coffee bars.
It’s the only market I’ve come across that has an elaborate selection of
guided tours (8 in total) for food-loving tourists and conference
delegates. These give a behind-the-scenes experience where you get to
meet stall owners and learn about the market’s history and modus
operandi, with generous tastings.
Master of the Market is Graeme Andrews and his Food and Wine Tours.
Costs range from $22 per person for “Market Adventure” to the deluxe
$100/person “Food Lovers Dream Tour” which starts with a champagne
brunch at the adjacent Hilton Hotel.
I go to market to buy delicacies not often found in the local
supermarket, e.g., Stilton cheese, black pudding, smoked swordfish,
smoked eel, chorizo, chilies etc – you name it and they’ve got it!
And the free samples are so tempting!
The Adelaide Hills
If you want to get away from the bustle of the city and sit on a tussock
to contemplate Nature, then a hike in the Adelaide Hills is for you.
The outer southern suburbs of Blackwood and Belair are actually on top
of the hills at 300 metres altitude. Around the city are a dozen
Conservation Parks and Reserves set aside for people to relax, hike,
and view the flora and fauna.
A “no hassles” approach that I recommend to get the feel of the
countryside is as follows:
At the Central Railway Station buy a DayTrip metro ticket (good for trains and buses) and pile aboard the Belair train, which goes every half hour, or every hour at the weekends. You don’t have to worry where to get off, because after a 35 minute scenic trip winding around a great loop and through several tunnels you arrive at the end of the line, or Belair (= good air, like Buenos Aires).
The Belair station is a well preserved historical building (1883),
important when interstate trains stopped here. No longer do they stop.
While admiring the scenery, watch out you don’t get run over by a freight train on the standard gauge track that follows the Metro broad gauge line into the city. It was quite an engineering feat to get the railway through the hills to Adelaide.
Having sniffed the good air, where to now?
At the south end of the station platform is an entrance to the Belair National Park, the first in South Australia (1891) with 850 hectares of natural bushland. A map at the entrance shows all the walking trails.
Further south is the main entrance off Upper Sturt Road. At the Park
Headquarters here, you can get maps and pamphlets about all the Parks
and recreational areas of South Australia. Close by is Old Government
House, built in 1861, set in wonderful surroundings. It was the first
hills residence for South Australia’s Governors.
After communing with Nature you may end up on Upper Sturt Road, which is
a bus route (#193 and 194) and an escape back to civilization. Going
eastward will take you to Stirling, a beautiful hills village, worth a
roam around the craft shops. I like the Lion’s Club secondhand book shop
here (The Tin Shed) and regularly stock up with old treasures for a few
dollars. The adjacent village is Aldgate noted for its Aldgate Pump
Hotel, a favorite of mine in the winter for its open fires and good pub meals. Bus back to the city.
An alternative way out from Upper Sturt Rd is to head westward along
Laffers Rd to the main Belair Rd and follow it south (all hikers must have a compass!) to the Glenalta railway station.
Next to the station
is the very popular Belair Hotel, excellent for lunches and dinners –
don’t miss this watering hole! Worth a look across the road is the huge
“Goodwill” Op-Shop (clothes, books and bric-a-brac etc). From here you
can take a train back into the city.
One of my secret places for hiking is the trail around the Sleeps Hill
Quarries. You can walk there (southwest) from Belair station but it is
difficult to find coming from up top because of the maze of suburban
streets. Easier it is to take the train to Lynton station (on the Belair
line) and get off there before the train winds up the hill and
disappears into the first tunnel. Follow the railway track for a few
hundred metres and to the left (east) there opens up a forested valley
containing many disused quarries in quartzite, formerly used for road
and concrete aggregate (ca. 1925). Local fauna includes foxes and
snakes, plus umpteen parrots.
The quarries, labelled A,B,C,D, etc are well signposted by the Mines
and Energy Dept, with detailed geological and historical information.
The really fantastic quarry is G, having a whole cliff face covered in
fossil ripple marks made on a silty beach some 750 million years ago!
Climb out of the quarry on a steep trail above this cliff face, past
quarry #L1 and so up to Mead Street (opposite house #32). Once in
suburbia, follow Mead St to Gloucester St and to a bus stop (1km), or
further on to the Belair railway station. Happy hiking!
Adelaide public transport system is top-notch. The inner city has free
buses identified by their jazzy yellow color. The Beeline bus goes
between the Central Railway Station and Victoria Square via King William
St. It links up with the vintage tram terminal where you can catch a
tram to the beach resort of Glenelg.
The Loop Bus is for east/west travel and follows along North, East and
West Terraces, clockwise and anticlockwise. Convenient stops are the
Central Railway Station, Hindmarsh Square, Victoria Square and the
The MetroGuide book contains ALL the info for public transport in
Adelaide, complete with maps, and is available from the Passenger
Transport Centre, corner of King William and Currie Sts, Adelaide. This
is a handy booklet to carry with you.
Also, TransAdelaide have an
excellent website and you can check bus and train timetables on the
Net. Alternatively use TransAdelaide’s InfoLine phone, 8210-1000 , from
7am to 8pm, 7 days per week. Plan your day’s outing with TransAdelaide.
Note: a ticket is good for multiple use on trains and buses and tram within a 2 hour time slot. Tourists find the DayTrip ticket economical for roaming all day.
What’s on in Adelaide?
The latest news?
What functions are on this month?
Check out the City of Adelaide
For South Australia in general try the South Australian Travel Centre
Heading for the Adelaide Hills?
What’s going on in this region is listed in the free magazine, “This
Month in the Adelaide Hills” available at the SA Travel Centre, corner
of North Terrace and King William St.
An abbreviation of Opportunity Shop which deals in secondhand goods,
particularly clothes, and run by charitable organizations, such as
churches, SPCA, Lion’s Club etc. with voluntary staff. Many pensioners
and backpackers are well dressed by buying here. Every suburb and
village has its Op-Shop. Explore them – often they are a gold mine.
They are living proof of Milton Friedman’s economic “Trickle Down
Theory” i.e., benefit the rich and eventually the poor will thank you.
The exchange rate today is 1 Oz dollar = US 65 cents.
ATMs are everywhere in the city but rare in country towns.
Before leaving home, sign up for web based email, and arrange
internet access to your bank and credit card accounts so that you can
see what’s what by computer from anywhere.
In the CBD there are 2 main public access points viz., Ngapartji
Multimedia Centre at 211 Rundle St and Talking Cents at 53 Hindley St.
Ngapartji has 4 old computers set up on the sidewalk for free internet
access but inside are dozens of top-notch computers for hire. Standard
rate is $4 to $5 per half hour.
Some backpacker hostels have a computer. All suburban libraries have 1 or 2 computers and allow free internet access but you may have to book a time. Ngapartji has the most modern equipment.
You can visit Allano’s web site by clicking here.