It’s that time again...the air smells sweeter, the days are longer, the festive (and festival) season is upon us and Adelaide is alive with activity. So get out there and make the most of it. Here are some of our top picks for big and little kids over the summer.
1. Hit the beach
It seems an obvious pick for summer, but many of us head for the same favourite beach as soon as the weather gets warm. This sunny season, try a few new beaches you’ve never been to - they might just become your new favourite. Bordered by some of the most stunning coastlines in the country, we’re spoilt for choice in South Australia when it comes to beach options.
Visit Port Willunga to see the old jetty ruins, shipwreck and fishermen’s caves, or head down to Second Valley to some of the most secluded pockets of pristine crystal water and towering cliff faces.
Further North, try Grange or Semaphore on those warm days when Henley and Glenelg are packed to the brim.
Feeling adventurous? Try a surf lesson with Surf & Sun or Surfing South Australia.
2. Browse the breweries
While we’re known for our beautiful wineries in South Australia, boutique breweries are on the rise in our foodie state. Let’s face it; there’s nothing quite like a cold brew on a hot summer’s day. Not only can you sample some fantastic local beers, but breweries are more often than not a very family-friendly option.
Goodieson Brewery in McLaren Vale is a popular local haunt for families, the property backing vineyards with plenty of space for little ones to roam and explore while you taste a few of their ales on the deck.
In the Barossa, Barossa Valley Brewing offers tastings and food in their casual beer garden space. Bring the kids and share a pizza.
Likewise, the Hills has their fair share, including Lobethal Bierhaus with plenty of outdoor space to relax and enjoy the summer sun.
3. Talk to the animals
On those really hot days, Adelaide Zoo can be a beautiful place to visit to escape the heat. With all those leafy boulevards and rainforest enclosures to wander through, you can cool off with the animals. Watch the hippos have their teeth cleaned with the hose, or head to the children’s zoo with the little ones to pat the deer. Taking a slow wander through the bird and rainforest enclosures is a great activity for families to cool down. Our tip? Give the kids a task to spot the birds and see how many they can find. It’s educational, fun and can be a great way to while away the hours on those hot afternoons.
4. Immerse yourself in the Tour Down Under
One of the top events of the summer season for South Australia, the Santos Tour Down Under is a great way to get out and see our beautiful state. Why not choose a stage and town you’ve never been to, or somewhere you don’t get to often, and see how they decorate the streets for the big day. Willunga and Aldinga in the state’s south can be popular picks for crowds, while Hahndorf and Stirling are always beautiful and family-friendly too. The opening weekend party in Adelaide’s CBD is a great way to get the whole family involved - Sunday, January 14th is a family day with an all-in family ride too. Get the kids active and involved in this wonderful South Aussie event.
5. Pick your own fruit
Summer means berries, and pick-your-own is a favourite activity for little and big kids alike. Not only is it a great way to get more healthy snacks into your kids, but it also teaches them the importance of farming and where real food comes from. Harvest the Fleurieu in Mount Compass have a pick-your-own facility, and new providore shed to browse, and Beerenberg in the Hills remains a favourite with locals and tourists alike. You won’t be able to resist taking home some of their jams and relishes home for stocking fillers or summer snacks. Strawberries aside, there’s an abundance of pick-your-own farms in SA over summer, including cherries and stone fruit. Why not take a drive in the regions - Hills, Fleurieu, Barossa - and see what you find.
6. Get wild at SA’s wildlife parks
For something a little bit different from our beautiful Zoo, try out some of our open wildlife parks. Cleland Wildlife Park in the Hills offers a variety of experiences like the popular Koala feeding and holding and their reptile experiences. They also offer night walks and tours too.
Urimbirra in Victor Harbour is not only a great native animal experience, but they also encourage visitors to bring picnics and linger a while longer and enjoy the grounds.
After something a little more wild? Try Monarto Zoo’s latest ‘Lions 360’ experience where you enter a cage these big cats can climb, jump and crawl all over.
7. Jump around at Bounce
An entire building made of trampolines - it’s a dream come true for most kids (and many big kids too). A great way to get some more exercise into the day, Bounce keeps your little ones out of the sun too, so it’s a win-win. You can free jump or participate in one of the activities or classes like slam dunk, dodge ball or bounce fit for parents.
Don't forget, Health Partners members get $53.50 Family Passes during the school holidays! Click here for more information.
8. Head to the theatre
For something different for the whole family this summer, why not go to the theatre. A fantastic, fun way to bring cultural interaction into kids holidays, it’s also a great alternative to the movies for adults. Adelaide Festival Centre has some fantastic family-friendly shows or speciality kids activities on during the school holidays. Operation Ouch brings two of the UK’s top television twins to stage to perform their popular medical stunts. For all those budding chefs, Festival Centre offers a Junior Sous Chef workshop in collaboration with Le Cordon Bleu. Don’t have kids? The Festival Centre program is jam-packed with incredible theatre shows and events for adults too. Check out the online guide for details.
9. Grab your goodies at the market
It’s easy to spend the day at Adelaide Central Market - tasting, trying, eating, buying. You’ll while away the hours in no time. Kids or no kids, this is a great activity for everyone. If you’re a solo traveller or holidaymaker, the markets are a great place to immerse yourself.. Make sure you stop by and chat with the producers, you’re sure to learn a thing or two along the way. Be warned - you won’t leave empty handed so make sure to pack your green bags and possibly a trolley (or even a small semi-trailer might sometimes suffice).
On weekends, the Adelaide Showground Farmer’s Market is great, as well as Plant 4 Bowden, Market on Holland street and our collection of fabulous regional markets (Willunga, Adelaide Hills, Barossa etc.).
10. Let the music play
Whether it’s a Sunday session, a mini-festival, a weeknight gig or dusk soiree, music is popping up everywhere over summer in Adelaide. Keep your eye out for regular music nights at pubs like The Grace Emily or The Wheatsheaf, or make a day of it and attend The Porch Sessions - Sunday afternoon music concerts on a porch somewhere in Adelaide (to-be-announced the week prior). Rugs, cushions, festoon lighting, food, wine, beer and tunes - what more could you want?
There’s also a collection of live acts at some of the summer markets about town like the Friday’s After Five markets in Aldinga and the Feel Good Friday’s at Newenham in Mount Barker.
11. Watch a movie under the stars
Another favourite summer past-time, Moonlight Cinema brings the best of two worlds together - fabulous flicks and our beautiful parklands. The program runs from December 1st to February 18th in Botanic Park. Pack a picnic, gather your rugs and settle onto the grass for a night under the stars. You can sit where you choose, hire a beanbed or choose from a special Gold Grass ticket (exceptional location, beanbed, food and drinks service) or the Connoisseur Lounge (beanbed and reserved location).