Summer is for dancing to Florence + the Machine at a world-class festival. Winter has your red-wine glass full and the cabaret in full swing. Find out what the rest of the year brings and plan the best time to visit South Australia.


Moseley Beach Club, South Australia

Best for: festivals, world-class events, beach glam

Find out why Adelaide is City of Festivals

A host of events jostle for attention in the hotter months, from the month-long Adelaide Fringe drawing more than a million yearly visitors and bringing an incomparable electricity to every city corner, to WOMADelaide, a celebration of cultural discovery with acts including Bon Iver, Florence + the Machine and the Bangarra Dance Theatre in 2023. 

On 13 January, the Santos Tour Down Under commences and for the first time in its history, the 2023 women’s race is a pro-cycling event. After watching the penultimate stage kick off at Port Willunga, earmark an evening to dine at local hotspot Muni (advance bookings essential) – a 28-seat gem that packs big-city punch with small-town warmth. 

Pack your swimmers

Glenelg’s Moseley Beach Club gives sun-seekers a taste of Europe on one of Australia’s favourite beaches (complete with rentable daybeds and cocktails on the sand), while those who venture offshore are rewarded with the bucket-list-worthy chance to swim with wild dolphins through Temptation Sailing.

See it on two wheels

“There’s something about summer in Adelaide,” says Daniel Young, operations manager at Bike About, an outfit showcasing South Australia’s outstanding food and wine scene by way of electric bikes. 

“The vines are blooming, you can smell fresh-cut grass, and wine just tastes better.” 

Settle into a fine-dining perch

Golding Wine's Nido Experience

Spend an afternoon indulging in a six-course degustation at Golding Wines’ Nido Experience perched inside a hand-woven “nest” (nido in Italian) on the slopes of the Adelaide Hills vineyard. The menu offers a taste of some of the best local seasonal flavours – one course might be ​​sea urchin custard with blood lime; another could involve confit quail and truffle panna cotta. 


Yacca Lookout, South Australia

Best for: wildflowers, stargazing, whale-watching

Springtime events

Looking for city-based activities? The Royal Adelaide Show (2 to 10 September) promises vibrant family fun, while OzAsia Festival, a celebration of Asian culture from arts to food and dance, runs for two weeks over October and November.

Watch nature’s spring performance

Drive 45 minutes south of Adelaide to experience Onkaparinga’s wildflower meadows – happy cacophonies of colour carpeting parts of Thalassa Park and nearby Robert Wright Park

Further afield, the Flinders Ranges are abloom with Sturt’s desert peas, common fringe lilies and guinea flowers adding a rainbow of colour to the usually ochre-coloured desert landscape. 

Visit Kangaroo Island’s newest arrivals

Springtime is when native wildlife comes out to stretch and bask in the sunshine. And for some, it’s their first time. On Kangaroo Island, adorable newborn echidnas, sea lions, koalas and tammar wallabies can be spotted.

Head to the outback

Getting up before the sun at Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park (33 kilometres from Coober Pedy on the lands of the Antakir­in­ja Matun­t­jara Yankun­yt­jat­jara) rewards the early riser. The dawn of the new day turns the surrounding limestone hills into a kaleidoscope of colour.

Take a guided fossil walk in newly-proclaimed Nilpena Ediacara National Park to discover evidence of earth’s earliest animal life, seeing specimens dating back an eye-watering 560 million years. 

Look up at distant galaxies

To really get a sense of the epicness of the universe, the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve (the only one in Australia and one of only 15 in the world) is easily the most breathtaking spot in the country to spot galaxies far, far away. Embark on a Dark Sky Gold Stars Sunset Dinner with Juggle House for a guided tour of the night sky with an astronomer on the Murray River clifftop, a welcome and tour by First Nations custodians of the Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Archaeological Cultural site and dinner at a local pub. Astronomer Joe Grida says in clear sky in spring, it’s possible to see many “water” themed constellations: “Aquarius, the water carrier; Pisces, the fish; Cetus, the whale; and Eridanus, the river are the most obvious,” he says.

Wave off the baby whales

Join a guided kayak tour from Fowlers Bay, one of the largest southern right whale nurseries in South Australia, and paddle into the Great Australian Bight to witness migrating whales ushering their calves back to Antarctica. 


Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens

Best for: gourmet explorations, autumn foliage

Taste the harvest

Keats famously described autumn as a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, and nowhere is his ode more fitting than South Australia from March through to May. Tasting Australia – a 10-day eating and drinking extravaganza that takes the food festival model and elevates it to a gastronomic pilgrimage – will run from 28 April to 7 May across the state. Expect world-class chefs and winemakers paying homage to the incomparable local terroir. Events include chartered flights whisking gourmands to regional gourmet hotspots, and boutique beverages served fireside in Adelaide’s Town Square. 

Celebrate the flavours of Clare Valley

From 19 to 28 May, indulge in cooking masterclasses, meet-the-maker events and art exhibitions at the Clare Valley SCA Gourmet Week where a series of long lunches, backlit by the season’s saffron-toned vines, spotlight the region’s best restaurants and chefs. 

See the changing leaves

The Adelaide Hills offer some of the best autumn foliage in the state. Bring your walking shoes to explore 97 hectares of trails and pathways at the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, as it transforms into a mass of warm-hued leaves. The picturesque towns of Stirling and Hahndorf feature streets lined with trees ablaze with scarlet foliage, while the region’s farm gates offer a bounty of seasonal produce from apples to figs. 


Illuminate Festival

Best for: bright lights, cosy weekends, red wine 

Rug up for winter festivals

The festivities roll on into the cooler months, beginning on 9 to 24 June with the Adelaide Cabaret Festival , now in its 23rd year. This winter, the program includes names such as Kate Ceberano, David Campbell, Eddie Perfect, Ali McGregor and Julia Zemiro. 

From stage lights to street lights, Adelaide comes alive at night for the month of July with Illuminate Adelaide, a festival of light, sound, arts and technology that dazzles from every corner of the city, while the South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival showcases more than 9000 homegrown visual artists across 600 venues statewide. 

Hibernate among the vines

There’s a cinematic aesthetic to the twin garden cottages that comprise the Old Chaff Mill Retreat in McLaren Vale, which is unsurprising given its owners Richard Jasek and Bernice Devereaux met on the set of Neighbours in 2006. With views out to rolling vines and almond groves, surrendering to the hypnotic pull of the pot-belly combustion heater with a site-grown organic shiraz in hand sets just about as picture perfect a scene as you could hope for. 

Find your favourite red

The ruby red jewel in the crown of the Adelaide Hills’ colder months is Winter Reds, a weekend-long exploration of all the regional show stoppers you’d expect (hello, silky pinot noir) and some (nebbiolo, anyone?) that you won’t.

Experience iconic Mexican art

In a coup for the city, Adelaide has the Australian exclusive Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution. The exhibition, running at the Art Gallery of South Australia from 24 June to 17 September 2023, will feature paintings, drawings and photographs by Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera alongside pieces by their contemporaries such as Lola Álvarez Bravo, María Izquierdo and Carlos Mérida to tell a story of love and life amid the cultural milieu of Mexico in the early 20th century. 

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SEE ALSO: Where To Stay On Your Next Wine Getaway in South Australia

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