Adelaide… Why Not?


Today I heard that Adelaide has made Lonely Planet’s list of Top Ten Cities to visit.

Initial reaction: astonishment. With all the wonderful, history-rich cities out there, I would never have imagined that Adelaide would arrive in the top ten. In fact, I would have bet one of my lovely bags (see previous post) on it.

Yet so it has.

London didn’t even make the list. Or New York. Adelaide isn’t even comparable to those two cities. Or is it? Apparently so. Better even, given their absence.

So I’ve been sitting here, racking my brains, trying to think what makes Adelaide so apparently fabulous.

We’ve got good beaches, I suppose, though I myself am not a beach person. I can’t imagine anyone making the long trip here just for some sun and sand. And yes, sun – we have a lot of. And heat. I suppose people like heat, particularly when they’re on holidays.

It’s an easy drive to the hills, full of little gems that I am yet to discover. And it is lovely, driving through there, windows down, the heavy scent of eucalyptus in the air. But still. It’s not that great.

Adelaide also has a number of wine destinations within close distance: the Adelaide Hills, the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale. A little further on there’s the Coonawarra. Which is great, but only if you’re into your wine. Which I’m not. I certainly wouldn’t travel half way around the world for it.

Interestingly, Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher stated that the Adelaide Oval redevelopment was one of the reasons our city made the list. Right, so turning a picturesque cricket ground into a steel-laden sports stadium with no aesthetic appeal is reason to come to Adelaide? Really?

LP said the food was good here. Yes it is. The coffee, too. But these days, isn’t the food good everywhere? Doesn’t every city now have a multicultural flavour to it now?

Adelaide has often been the butt of jokes here in Australia. We’re seen by the eastern states as boring and dull. A guy Mr Thomas works with moved here from overseas, and is frequently asked by friends and family why he chose Adelaide. His simple response is, ‘why not?’ joking that this should become Adelaide’s tourism slogan. He obviously sees something in this city that I don’t.

To be honest, I’m flummoxed. I can’t see it. Lovely place to live, yes (if you don’t mind high cost of living and being robbed blind by every utility companies) but visit? But then, I’m no expert.

My only hope is that the government of South Australia sees this as an incentive to start investing in tourism – something they’ve been needing to do, in my opinion, for a while.

Here is Lonely Planet’s full list of Top Ten Cities to Visit:

  1. Paris, France
  2. Trinidad, Cuba
  3. Cape Town, South Africa
  4. Riga, Latvia
  5. Zurich, Switzerland
  6. Shanghai, China
  7. Vancouver, Canada
  8. Chicago, USA
  9. Adelaide, Australia
  10. Auckland, New Zealand

11 thoughts on “Adelaide… Why Not?

  1. I find this very interesting too. My uncle stays in Adelaide and my brother visited there two years ago on his honeymoon. From the photos he brought back, I could see that it is flat and hot! He thought it was fab, but I couldn’t see the ‘must see’ appeal.
    I live in South Africa, and find it amazing that Cape Town is the third most desirable city in the world to visit. Alas, I have never been there myself – yet! My mom and sister are flying there at the end of November and coming back on a cruise ship!
    Thanks for the post!


    1. Adelaide IS flat! We call it the Adelaide Plains. I live near the hills which is up a bit higher and has more trees. It takes ten minutes to walk to the hills from my front door. Which is great; at times we have the odd Kangaroo or Koala pop down to say g’day but I’m not sure I’d enjoy it so much if we have a major bushfire.

      Your poor brother – coming here on his honeymoon!

      I’ve not been there, but Cape Town makes me think of Adelaide with its city on the flat, next to the ocean, and surrounded by hills.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Very valid points made. My thoughts are that Adelaide is certainly much more affordable to live in than Sydney, Melbourne, and now possibly Perth, which is a big factor for many people. There are plenty of interesting places to go if you search around and find what you like.
    In the end though, it’s just an annual list based on changing around where they recommend based on a bunch of arbitrary opinions.


  3. I’m from the US and wondering the same thing about Chicago. It’s a great city, but top ten of all the cities in the world? Hmmm. Chicago had Carl Sandberg rhapsodizing on it’s magnificence–if only there was a young poet from Adelaide to laud it’s unique glories….hmmmm?


  4. A lot of good cities in our world. San Francisco, Ca and Austin, Texas are party cities with colleges. I like Basel, Switzerland and Florence, Italy a lot. New York is still a cool place. A lot of history. You have a good list. I believe the more we travel. The more we want to see.


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