West Lakes

The reason we started our trip in Adelaide is because Scott’s cousin Dan, and his beautiful now wife Talia, were getting married here at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. We flew out a couple of weeks later than most of the family and we were staying on for longer afterwards to travel around the rest of the country. We absolutely fell in love with the place, and I subsequently spent the rest of the holiday trying to convince Scott that we should move out there. I don’t think it’s completely off the table yet….. (wishful thinking I’m sure).


The public transport in Adelaide isn’t great – it’s quite in-frequent and can sometimes require changes to get to where you need to be! The whole time we were there we used Uber to get around which was really handy as they never took long to arrive and didn’t actually cost us too much. They do have trams, trains and buses in different places which all seem to take you into the centre of Adelaide but if you’re looking at going elsewhere, I’d recommend getting an Uber for ease! We spent a lot of the time in the Semaphore area and only really needed to travel around a couple of times. The rest of the family were all in Semaphore as well, and they had hired cars for their time in Adelaide so we either shared cars or walked around the corner to visit them most of the time. If we were to go again, we would definitely hire a car as we really regret not having one to explore more.

What to do

Cleland Wildlife Park – Our day out to Cleland Wildlife Park was one of our favourite days in Australia. It costs $30AUD per adult for entry and then it costs $3AUD for a bag of animal feed (I 100% recommend buying one per person). It’s not a particularly large park, but once you’re in, there are kangaroos and wallabies hopping freely all around you for you to stroke and feed. When we first walked in we couldn’t believe how relaxed they are around people as a mother came up to us and her joey jumped out of her pouch to eat some food, then hopped right back in again. Cleland is also THE place to go in Adelaide if you want the chance to hold a Koala. We were told the queue for koala cuddles gets long and so luckily we got there around an hour early and we are so grateful we did; we were numbers five and six in the queue out of around 30 people, and they only allowed eight people in to hold them. The rest still had the chance to stroke one and have a picture though! You do have to pay for the photos but if you go for the more expensive option then you get loads of photos taken and it all goes onto a memory stick – I think this was around $40AUD per person.

Us and Murray the koala, having a family photo

Semaphore Beach – One of the big culture shocks that we noticed with Australia compared to the UK is their attitude towards beaches. In the UK, when we get one remotely sunny/warm day, the whole country rushes to the nearest beach. Because Australia is sunny and warm 90% of the time from Spring-Autumn, and good weather is almost guaranteed, they don’t have quite the same need to cover every square inch in towels and people, which is why it was such a shock to us when we went for a walk along Semaphore beach and didn’t see a soul! I suppose it might also be because you’re not advised to swim in the sea because of the dangerous jellyfish and sharks… but still.

Botanic Gardens – We sadly didn’t get to explore the Botanic Gardens as much as we would’ve liked, but this was the stunning setting for Dan and Talia’s wedding, and it was truly beautiful! They got married on a little patch outside, completely off the beaten track and surrounded by flowers and trees, which made it a quiet and private little spot. The gardens are perfectly located just a short walk from lots of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, making it a great day out for everyone.

Fringe Fest –We were lucky that the wedding was deliberately timed around the Fringe Fest, and we got the opportunity to visit the city’s most popular annual event! Adelaide Fringe Fest is essentially a month long festival in the centre of the city, with two large fields with tents, caravans, pop-up bars, food stalls and fairground rides. There’s a huge variety of acts to see such as musicians and comedians, and it’s a great event to go and just have a wonder around as there is SO much to see; our favourite part was a dwarf man in a tiny man-made ‘theatre’ which seats 19 people (it sort of looked just like a caravan), performing stand up comedy.

Morialta Conservation Park and Falls – We had such a beautiful day at Morialta Falls. We went on a nature walk with the whole family, through the park to the ‘falls’ (which after a long time with minimal rain, was just a dry cliff face with the odd drop of water). The walk from the car park to the waterfall is just under an hour at a slow stroll with stops as we had a few little ones with us; it was an easy walk getting there and was very do-able with pushchairs. On the way back to the car, we played ‘spot the koala’ as the eucalyptus trees that line the paths house many of them, which makes the place even more special. Just next to the car park is a huge children’s play park, as well as outdoor BBQ areas – the perfect place for a day out with the whole family!

Where to eat

Because we were staying in Semaphore, a lot of our meals in Adelaide were on Semaphore road and we frequently found ourselves in either Swedish Tarts or Mr Pilgrims Cafe for an amazing brunch. Both have options like avocado smash, chilli scrambled eggs, smoothie bowls, eggs Benedict and granola, as well as their own twists on a ‘full English’. If we went back to Semaphore, I would definitely head back to one of these two places as the food was memorably good! Another place we ate (and drank) at in Semaphore was Palais Hotel and Beach Bar. Situated right on the end of Semaphore road almost on the beach front, this was the perfect little spot for sitting in the sunshine and watching people walk past along the beach path. The food selection here was fairly simple – pizza, bugers, salads, fish and chips and ‘share plates’ of things like wings, oysters, fries and antipasti, but it was still tasty and the location was perfect for us to pop down to when we fancied a drink!

Avocado smash at Mr Pilgrom’s

On our first day in Australia, as soon as we landed and unpacked, it was around 3pm and so we head out to try and meet up with the family and go for some food. Scott insisted he knew where we were going, and said it was “only 15 minutes around the corner and we should come to a road with loads of cafes and restaurants on”. Over 30 minutes into our journey, and with no sign of ANY shops or restaurants so far, I looked at Google maps and realised Scott had taken us in the opposite direction. At this point, we could either turn around to walk the 45 minute journey back to the intended eatery, or carry on for a further half hour and go to a different destination. It was our first day in Australia and we were soaking up the sun, so decided to carry on. After an hour and 15 minutes (a whole hour longer than we had planned), we arrived at Westfield shopping centre which sits right next to West Lakes. It wasn’t quite what we had planned for the second time either, but we were starving and needed a drink so found a lovely little place called Sportivo Pizzeria and Cafe where we sat outside, overlooking the sparkling lakes, to eat and drink the day away. They have a great selection of pizzas, pastas, burgers and seafood, and the view definitely made up for the long trip that we endured to get there.

The views from our table at Sportivo Pizzeria and Cafe

Adelaide was an amazing memory for us as we got to spend the week relaxing in a beautiful country with our family, and I definitely hope to visit again some day!