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A Tour of Adelaide’s Hidden Gems

This article is sponsored by University of South Australia

Adelaide is packed with hidden gems that most guidebooks miss. Whether you’re hunting for the cosiest spots to study, peaceful gardens for a quiet afternoon, or local hangouts, there’s always something new to discover.

We asked Ding, a Master of Engineering student from China at the University of South Australia, to tell you about some of these hidden gems. Join us as we explore some of Adelaide’s lesser-known locales—perfect for international students wanting to dig a little deeper into this charming city.

Himeji Gardens

Tucked away in Adelaide’s South Parklands, Himeji Gardens reflects the friendship between Adelaide and its sister city, Himeji, Japan. With its blend of ‘senzui’ (lake and mountain garden) and ‘kare senzui’ (dry garden), the gardens provide a peaceful escape from bustling city life.

Ding loves the calming atmosphere. “The flowers and animals in it make people feel very peaceful,” he shares. It’s clear why students find this spot so relaxing—it’s perfect for a quiet stroll or a moment of reflection beside the koi ponds. Whether you’re looking to unwind after class, meditate or enjoy a picnic, Himeji Gardens is a favourite for students wanting to reconnect with nature and enjoy some quiet time.

Hallett Cove

Hallett Cove is a natural gallery of geological history with rugged cliffs and ancient formations. Ding appreciates its peacefulness, saying, “It’s a calm seaside where you can hike and watch stunning sunsets on the grass.” This makes it perfect for students needing a break from the city.

The cove features a 5km boardwalk trail following the cliff’s edge, so it is easy to navigate. For those seeking refreshments or a bite to eat along the way, there are cafes like the Boatshed Café at the southern end, and The Rocks Restaurant Marino near the northern end of the trail. 

Whether you’re there to explore the trails, snap some photos, or just enjoy a quiet sunset, Hallett Cove provides a convenient and serene escape close to Adelaide.

Photos taken by Ding

Murray River

Located about an hour’s drive from Adelaide, the Murray River is known for its natural beauty and Australian wildlife. It’s also excellent for stargazing, with the area’s low light pollution enabling clear views of the cosmos. “Here I saw the most spectacular starry sky,” Ding shares. 

Photo taken by Ding

The river is also popular for camping. Whether you’re after a basic setup or something a bit more comfortable with all the amenities, there’s a campground for you. It’s the perfect place to relax by the water and soak up the nature.


Did you know Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement? Established back in 1839 by Lutheran migrants, this quaint town offers a genuine slice of German culture just outside of Adelaide. Ding perfectly captures its seasonal charm, saying, “Hahndorf in autumn is a very beautiful place, where you can experience food and culture with German characteristics.” 

For international students craving authentic German cuisine, the Hahndorf Inn is a must-visit for hearty dishes. If you’re a beer fan, check out the Hahndorf Brewing Co for some excellent local craft brews. A stroll down the tree-lined main street will lead you to traditions bakeries and shops filled with handmade goods and artisan cheeses—great for a relaxed weekend exploration.

Carrick Hill

Just southeast of the city, Carrick Hill gives you a taste of South Australia’s rich cultural and architectural heritage. Ding explains its appeal: “Carrick Hill is a British-style manor where you can learn about the culture and history of architecture.” This site, once home to Sir Edward Hayward, a prolific businessman, known for starting Adelaide’s first annual Christmas pageant in 1933 and his first wife, Lady Ursula, now serves as a significant cultural attraction, featuring internationally valued art collections and changing exhibitions.

Spread over 40 hectares, it boasts well-maintained heritage gardens and native bushland. Visitors can tour the manor, enjoy a picnic or get a bite to eat at the café, which provides stunning views over Adelaide. It’s a fantastic destination for students interested in architecture and history.