Adelaide Introduction Walking Tour, Adelaide

Adelaide Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Adelaide

Adelaide, Australia is the fifth most popular city in the country. It is also the capital of the state of Southern Australia. It was settled by the British in 1836 and named after Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV.

The settlement of Adelaide was inspired by the need for a city made for free colonists rather than convicts. Edward Gibbon Wakefield led this plan. Settlers were given transport to the city in exchange for the purchase of property. They had to prove that they were healthy and hard working before any land purchases were approved.

The University of Adelaide was founded in 1874. Visitors to the city will see such historic university buildings as Boynthon Hall and the Mitchell Building when they see the city. Much of the university is well preserved even after the massive earthquake of 1954 that caused widespread panic and damage.

More immigrants began moving into the city after World War II. This led to a boom in the population, increased manufacturing and a second university. Cultural awareness also increased during the second half of the 20th century. Museums were expanded once the Adelaide art scene became important to daily life. Many of these museums and galleries are along North Terrace.

Prior to British colonization, the area around Adelaide was inhabited by the Aboriginal Kaurna people. Sadly, Kaurna culture was all but wiped out of the area within only a few decades of British arrival. In order to bring back some Kaurna culture, government officials have renamed many places in Adelaide after their native Kaurna roots. Likewise, Kaurna culture is celebrated at locations like the South Australian Museum, South Australian Art Gallery and even the Adelaide State Library, which features the Kaurna Greeting Stone.

Take this self-guided walking tour to enjoy the beauty and history of Adelaide.
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Adelaide Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Adelaide Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Australia » Adelaide (See other walking tours in Adelaide)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Author: australia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Victoria Square
  • Adelaide Central Market
  • Adelaide Town Hall
  • Leigh Street
  • Adelaide Parliament House
  • Adelaide State Library
  • South Australian Museum
  • South Australia Art Gallery
  • North Terrace
  • Bonython Hall
  • Rundle Mall
  • Gawler Place
  • St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral
Victoria Square

1) Victoria Square

Victoria Square is the central square of Adelaide's five public squares. Also known as Tarntanyangga, the 5.9-acre square was created in 1837 by Adelaide founder, Colonel William Light. It was named by the Street Naming Committee after Princess Victoria. The name Tarntanyangga comes from the aboriginal language of Kaurna. It means "red kangaroo."

The square was originally a simple field with four pedestrian paths. Landscaping was added in the mid-19th century, but it remained mostly unchanged until 1894. At this time, a statue of Queen Victoria was added - the princess had become queen by now. Eventually, a statue of Colonel Light, the Three Rivers Fountain and the Aboriginal Flag were all added.

Victoria Square is surrounded by many of Adelaide's most important public buildings. Some of these include the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Federal Court of South Australia and the Adelaide Magistrates' Court. Historic buildings like the former post office, the Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St. Francis Xavier and the historic treasury building are also nearby.

One of the most popular traditions in Victoria Square is the installation of an 80-foot Christmas tree each holiday season. It is also a regular spot for political gatherings and community events.
Adelaide Central Market

2) Adelaide Central Market (must see)

The Adelaide Central Market is known as one of the largest fresh produce markets in the southern hemisphere. At more than 150 years old, it is also one of the oldest under-cover markets in Australia. The land was purchased in 1869 where a wood and iron-sheet building was constructed. It was expanded in 1900 and electricity was added in 1902.

Visitors to the market can purchase fruits, vegetables, cheeses, baked goods, health foods, meat and seafood. There are also a large number of cafes for sit-down dining within the market. On the east side of the Central Market is the Central Market Arcade and on its west side is the Market Plaza. The arcade offers more than 60 specialty shops while the plaza has specialty shops, cafes and a food court.

The Central Market is a popular tourist attraction which sees more than 9.5 million visitors every year. Go there to try the sample treats, local fruits, cheese, sweets, and fresh juice. You will have an amazing time.

The market is open from Tuesday through Saturday. Hours are 7 AM to 5:30 PM Tuesdays, 9 AM to 5:30 PM Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7 AM to 9 PM Fridays and 7 AM to 3 PM Saturdays.
Adelaide Town Hall

3) Adelaide Town Hall

Adelaide Town Hall is city landmark and today serves as a venue for private events like weddings and celebrations. It is also regularly used for performances by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian String Quartet.

The Adelaide Town Hall was constructed from 1863 through 1866. It was designed by Edmund Write and E.J. Woods. In 1865, American photographer Townsend Duryea took a series photographs from the Town Hall's clock tower. The photographs, known as Panorama of Adelaide, provided a birds-eye view of colonial Adelaide in the mid-19th century.

One of the most notable events that took place at the Adelaide Town Hall was an appearance by the Beatles in 1964. A crowd of about 300,000, the Beatles' largest, amassed to get a look at the Fab Four. It was also the location of the inaugural meeting of the Australasian Federation League of South Australia.

Visitors can tour the Adelaide Town Hall at any time between 9 AM and 5 PM from Monday to Friday. They will see the beautifully preserved historical rooms, admire the 1989 pipe organ, and stand on the same balcony that once stood by the Beatles.
Leigh Street

4) Leigh Street

Leigh Street is a small street in the midst of the central business district. The street runs north to south from Hindley Street to Currie Street. The pedestrian-only street is a narrow, cobblestone walk that is flanked by historic buildings, eateries and boutiques.

Visitors to Leigh Street will find themselves in the midst of a hip neighborhood with plenty of traffic during the day and at night. It is a great place to go to see Adelaide locals who know where the hottest trends are in both dining and nightlife. Many tourists visit the street during the day as part of a city tour, and then return at night for a relaxing break from sightseeing.

Visitors will see plenty of unique, locally-owned restaurants that serve everything from sushi to baked goods. Those walking through the street in the morning can choose from a variety of coffee places while those traveling in the evening can stop for a cocktail.

The cobbled street and the canopied buildings show a piece of old Adelaide that is not often detected in the midst of a bustling city. It is a short street, but well worth checking out when you in a Adelaide.
Adelaide Parliament House

5) Adelaide Parliament House

The Adelaide Parliament House is located at the corner of North Terrace and King William Road. This parliament house replaced the Old Parliament House, which no longer had space for Adelaide's needs by the late-19th century.

The Old Parliament House is situated near the Adelaide Parliament House. It was completed in 1843. The building was constructed by Jacob Pitman with the plan to hold up to 200 people. In the end, the small, one-room building could hold no more than 50. While additions were made to this old building over the years, it was still not enough to hold the ever-growing needs of the city.

Construction on the Adelaide Parliament House began in 1883. The building is built entirely from materials sourced from southern Australia. In particular, Kapunda marble was used for a strong, long-lasting structure that was also beautiful. Unfortunately, due to lack of funds and contract disputes, it took 50 years to complete the west wing. The east wing wasn't started until 1934.

Visitors can tour the Adelaide Parliament House from 10 AM to 2 PM on weekdays. They can also walk by the Old Parliament House, which is now used as government offices.
Adelaide State Library

6) Adelaide State Library

The Adelaide State Library, also known as the State Library of South Australia or the Public Library of South Australia, is the largest public research library in the state. Construction of the building began in 1866 but wasn't completed until 1884. It was designed by the Brown and Thompson architectural firm in a French Renaissance style with a mansard roof.

The interior of the Mortlock Chamber of the library has two galleries. One is supported by masonry columns and the other by cast iron brackets. The interior is also adorned with wrought iron and gold that is lit by natural light by the glass-domed roof. The exterior walls are made from brick and Manoora stone. The Mortlock Wing is often considered one of the world's most beautiful libraries.

The library offers a gallery that has permanent exhibitions both inside and out. This includes the Story Wall, numerous memorials, Ernabella rugs and the Kaurna Greeting Stone.

Visitors may explore the library, including the gallery and the Mortlock Chamber on Monday and Tuesday from 8 AM to 7 PM, Wednesday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM or weekends from noon to 5 PM.
South Australian Museum

7) South Australian Museum (must see)

The South Australian Museum is a natural history museum that was established in 1856. The museum holds an exhibit that has more than 4.5 million objects. It sees more than 1.1 million patrons per year.

The museum has a large number of permanent galleries. Among these are galleries featuring ancient Egypt, Australian Aboriginal cultures, megafauna, opal fossils, South Australian biodiversity and indigenous artefacts. The museum is said to contain the largest number of Aboriginal artefacts in the world with more than 30,000 objects. It also has the largest collection of Erlikilyika carvings in the world.

The Aboriginal art and culture is slated to split from the natural history exhibits in the near future. The new Aboriginal cultural center will be held in the old Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Visitors to the museum will find the exhibits spread across five floors. They will also have access to a cafe, coffee hut and museum shop. The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. It is open on all public holidays except Christmas and Good Friday.
South Australia Art Gallery

8) South Australia Art Gallery (must see)

The South Australia Art Gallery is a visual arts museum with over 45,000 works of art. It is the second largest art collection in Australia after the National Gallery of Victoria. The South Australia Art Gallery was established in 1881 with purchased items as well as a number of pieces lent by Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales.

Though the museum was founded in 1881, the building didn't open until 1900. It was designed by C.E. Owen Smyth in the Classical Revival architectural style. The open Doric portico was added in 1936 when the building was expanded. Other extensions were added in 1962, 1979, 1981 and 1996.

The permanent collection consists of Australian art that includes indigenous and colonial artwork, silverware, furniture and photography. It also holds works by European artists like Goya, Francesco Gaudi, Camille Pissarro, Anthony van Dyck and Thomas Gainsborough.

Sculptures from the likes of Barbara Hepworth and Rodin are also included. As part of its revolving exhibits, the museum hosts the annual Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Art.

The South Australia Art Gallery is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. It is closed on Christmas day. Entry is free for all patrons though some special exhibits may have fees.
North Terrace

9) North Terrace

North Terrace is a road in Adelaide that runs east to west along the northern portion of the square mile. North Terrace is known for being part of the Adelaide Parklands with access to many museums, galleries and the University of Adelaide.

Visitors to Adelaide will use North Terrace to reach such spots as the Old Parliament House, the Adelaide Festival Center, Adelaide Casino, the South Australian Museum, the Mortlock Wing of the Adelaide State Library, the Adelaide Convention Centre and Exhibition Halls, the Adelaide railway station building, the Art Gallery of South Australia and Bonython Hall.

North Terrace also offers easy access to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, the South African War Memorial and the Yerrakartarta art installation. Along with these important and historic buildings, visitors to Adelaide will see a number of bronze busts and statues of notable South Australians. It is well worth taking a walk down North Terrace and inspecting the monuments.

As in any popular street, there are also shopping boutiques, restaurants and cafes along North Terrace. Due to its access to so many important places, this street is a well-trafficked walkway for all visitors to the city.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Bonython Hall

10) Bonython Hall

Bonython Hall is the University of Adelaide's main ceremonial hall. It was constructed in 1936 from a design by architect Woods Bagot in the Gothic architectural style. The beautiful and imposing building is used for graduation events, puclic lectures and special ceremonies.

Bonython Hall was made to look as though it had been in place for many years. To acquire this feat, Bagot used Murray Bridge limestone and slate roof that was quarried from Willunga.

The building was named in honor of Sir John Langdon Bonython who donated the funds to construct the building. Bonython was a member of the Australian Parliament and a well-known journalist and editor. It is said that Bonython donated the funds on the condition that it be built opposite Pulteney Street in order to prevent a thoroughfare from being built that might divide the university campus.

It is also rumored that Bonython required the building be constructed with a sloping floor in order to avoid any dancing. The Bonython family were very conservative and did not want the building used as a dance hall.
Rundle Mall

11) Rundle Mall (must see)

Rundle Mall is a street mall located between King William Street and Pulteney Street. The pedestrian mall, in constant operation since 1976, offers a lovely collection of over 1,000 different stores and services. The mall is named after the street that it occupies. In turn, Rundle Street was named after the original director of the South Australia Company, John Randall.

Shops include large Australian retailers, smaller chains and independent boutiques. There are also many places to eat and a large number of services like watch repair, banking and hairstyling. Those looking for entertainment at Rundle Mall can find escape rooms, craft shops and a ballet studio.

Aside from shopping and dining, the mall is known for its public art pieces. The Spheres, also known as "The Mall's Balls," were designed by Bert Flugelman in 1977. A giant cockroach statue was salvaged from a junk yard and placed in the mall in 2013. Similarly, a 6-foot pigeon statue was placed in the mall in 2020. There are also four life-sized pig statues seen digging through garbage.
Gawler Place

12) Gawler Place

Gawler Place is a charming single-lane road located in the heart of Adelaide's city center. Running from North Terrace to Wakefield Street, this street is home to several historic buildings that are worth exploring. Some of these buildings include Gawler Chambers, the Oriental Hotel, the former Claridge House, and the Allan's Building.

In January 2019, the Adelaide City Council initiated an upgrade plan for Gawler Place, which was completed in 2020. The upgrade aimed to create a people-focused street that connected to Adelaide's premier shopping destination. The result of the upgrade is a low-speed shared-use environment that accommodates pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles.

One of the key features of the upgraded Gawler Place is the wider footpaths and new road surfaces, which enhance the street's appeal and make it more inviting for visitors. The improved lighting, innovative shade structure, and large trees and understorey plants further ensure that Gawler Place is a cool, shady, and attractive place to visit.

Moreover, the street's dining areas have been revamped, making it an attractive destination for outdoor dining. This enhancement invites visitors to relax and enjoy their meals in a comfortable and inviting environment. Additionally, public art has been included in the upgrade to transform the street into a space that draws people in to stop, connect, and discover.

The public art installations aim to tell stories, surprise, delight and inspire visitors. One of the innovative and bold installations is "Flow" by Laura Wills and Will Cheesman in collaboration with Exhibition Studios. The stainless steel installation was commissioned by the City of Adelaide as part of the Gawler Place upgrade.

Gawler Place is now an excellent place to dine, shop, and explore while enjoying the public art installations and the street's historic buildings.
St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral

13) St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral

St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral. Construction of the building began in 1856. It was consecrated two years later, but it was not fully completed until 1996. The Early English, Gothic Revival style cathedral has had a series of architects over the years. These include original architect Richard Lambeth, followed by Charles Hansom, Peter Paul Pugin and finally Lynton Jury.

The last component of the cathedral was the bell tower. Though construction of the tower started in the 1800s, it took 109 years for it to reach its final height. The main bell is the Murphy Bell of 1867, which is surrounded by 13 bells. Seven of the 13 accompanying bells once hung in Sydney's St. Mary's Cathedral.

Those visiting St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral should note some of the church's special features. These include bronze statues of Joseph and Jesus, a statue of St. Patrick and a statue of St. John the Baptist, which was created in Tuscany in 1925. The cathedral also features stained glass lancet windows with images of St. Patrick, St. Lawrence, Mary and Jesus.

The cathedral has a daily mass at 5:45 PM. It is open throughout the day for those who would like to visit.

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