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The 7 Best Things to do in Adelaide This Winter

This article is sponsored by Illuminate Adelaide

Adelaide doesn’t hibernate in winter! The city comes alive with a plethora of exciting activities and events.

From dazzling festivals to hidden cultural gems, Adelaide invites you to embrace the chilly season and explore all the city has to offer.  So, rug up and get ready to make some memories with the seven best things to do in Adelaide this winter.

1. Light up your winter nights at Illuminate Adelaide

Illuminate Adelaide is a remarkable festival that illuminates (😉) the city’s streets, laneways and architectural landmarks, celebrating the convergence of art, light, music and technology. As a major winter event, this captivating festival transforms Adelaide into a radiant wonderland throughout July. Take a break from your studies and enjoy the diverse program of free and ticketed events. Local, national and international artists contribute to the festival’s innovative installations and performances. Key attractions include Resonate, an immersive light experience at Adelaide Botanic Garden, and Mirror Mirror, a mind-bending display in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. The festival also showcases an eclectic mix of music events, such as KLASSIK underground, Unsound Adelaide and concerts featuring artists like Yothu Yindi and Tourist. If you’re hungry, head to Base Camp, a food and drinks hub showcasing the best of local SA producers. Grab a glass of wine, a hot meal and some fairy floss, and enjoy them by any of the roaring outdoor fireplaces. 

Illuminate Adelaide offers international students an unforgettable winter experience, allowing attendees to see the city in a new light. Gather your friends, peers and housemates and don’t miss the chance to attend this exciting winter festival!

Pictured: Mirror Mirror, Resonate, Light Creatures, Architects of Air: Arborialis, Base Camp

2. Discover Adelaide’s cozy coffee corners

Adelaide’s thriving coffee scene is home to numerous cosy cafés perfect for warming up on a cold winter day. Find a quiet corner at Mister Sunshine’s, a beloved local spot known for its delicious coffee and wholesome dishes. Visit La Moka, a small Italian-inspired cafe offering a range of espresso-based drinks and delectable sweets in the heart of the city. 

Take a short drive to the coast and sip on a hot coffee while watching the waves roll in from Joe’s Henley Beach, which boasts panoramic ocean views. A bit further south at Brighton, you’ll find C.R.E.A.M, a favourite for locals and tourists. If you’re looking for something quieter, there are plenty of cafés that are perfect to study in around the city!

3. Experience the thrill of an AFL game

Australian Rules Football, commonly known as AFL, is a quintessential part of Australian culture and an experience not to be missed during your time in Adelaide. Winter is the prime season for AFL, with games taking place from March to September. International students can join the passionate local fans at the iconic Adelaide Oval, home to both the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power. Attending an AFL game offers an exciting introduction to the fast-paced, high-energy sport and a unique insight into Australian culture and camaraderie. Be sure to arrive early to soak up the lively pre-game atmosphere and indulge in some classic Aussie treats, like a hot meat pie, as you cheer on your chosen team. 

Check out the upcoming games at Adelaide Oval!

4. Uncover hidden cultural treasures

Adelaide’s dynamic arts scene boasts a blend of well-known institutions and hidden gems waiting to be uncovered. Explore the Migration Museum to delve into the history and narratives of South Australia’s diverse migrant communities. Alternatively, venture to MOD., a cutting-edge museum melding art, science and innovation for immersive and thought-provoking exhibits. Film enthusiasts can also visit the Mercury Cinema, an enchanting independent theatre featuring local and international films, while art lovers may appreciate the JamFactory, a hub for contemporary craft and design with captivating exhibitions and studios.

5. Explore Adelaide’s foodie scene

Adelaide’s culinary landscape is diverse and ever-evolving, with an array of eateries showcasing flavours from across the globe, offering international students a chance to explore various cuisines during the winter season. For a taste of authentic Afghan cuisine, visit Parwana Kitchen, a family-owned establishment known for its rich, fragrant dishes and warm hospitality. If you’re craving Italian comfort food, Lucia’s Pizza and Spaghetti Bar in the Adelaide Central Market is a local favourite, serving mouthwatering pasta dishes perfect for a chilly winter day.

Check out our article, the 10 best cheap eats in Adelaide for more tasty suggestions!

6. Enjoy a theatre or comedy show

Adelaide’s vibrant arts scene offers diverse live performances during winter, catering to a wide range of interests. The Adelaide Festival Centre and Her Majesty’s Theatre showcase theatre, comedy and music shows, while the Rhino Room hosts stand-up performances and open-mic nights. For alternative experiences, explore the lineup of Nexus Arts Centre, which features experimental productions that push creative boundaries. Attending live performances allows international students to connect with Adelaide’s rich cultural landscape, create memorable experiences, and further immerse themselves in the local arts community.

7. Go whale watching

Winter in Adelaide welcomes Southern Right Whales to the Great Australian Bight, where they migrate between May and October to birth and nurture their calves. The Head of the Bight provides a prime vantage point to witness these majestic creatures, with adults and calves visible throughout the season. If you can’t make it to the Head of the Bight, Victor Harbor – just an hour from Adelaide – offers excellent whale-watching spots, such as The Bluff, Encounter Bay and Freeman Lookout in Port Elliot. Even if you don’t manage to spot any whales, the scenic drive and local cafes are well worth the trip! Bundle up and enjoy this unforgettable wildlife experience.