The Best Things To Do In Adelaide In Winter

 

In winter, the nights in Adelaide are longer and the air chillier. Yes, it rains a bit more than in the hot, dry summer months. But Adelaide does not go into hibernation waiting out winter at home under their blankets like other places. Instead, people rug up and embrace the colder months by coming together in front of a cosy fire, equipped with a mulled wine. Visiting Adelaide in winter is a special and (heart-) warming experience.

Adelaide in Winter

No need to worry you might be bored when visiting, there are still plenty of things to do in Adelaide in winter, indoors as well as outdoors. You might even think of adding a night or two to your travel itinerary after reading about how cool winter in Adelaide really is.

Common questions about winter in Adelaide

What is the climate in Adelaide?

Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate. In official terms, this means that summers are generally hot and dry while winters are cool and wet.

How long is winter in Adelaide?

Winter officially starts on the 1st of June and ends on the 31st of August. These dates should be taken with a grain of salt, though, as we all know the weather gods don’t really care about dates.

Is Adelaide cold in winter?

Winter in Adelaide is relatively mild. The coldest months (June - August) average at 16°C | 60°F during the day and around 9°C | 48°F at night for the city. The Adelaide Hills tend to be slightly cooler and can experience the occasional frosty night.

The best way to imagine what winter in Adelaide looks and feels like is to compare it with autumn and spring in Central Europe and Northern America. Winter in Adelaide seems to consist of a long autumn, then jumping straight into a long spring, completely missing out on these snowy, wintery conditions you might know from other places. 

What’s the weather like, will it be rainy?

June, July and August are the wettest and coldest months of the year in Adelaide. That being said, Adelaide is the driest of all Australian capitals. So the chances of catching a gloriously sunny winter day are higher in Adelaide than in most Australian cities.

What should I wear?

While Adelaide’s daytime winter temperature tends to average around 16°C | 60°F, it can feel warmer or colder depending on the amount of sun you get that day. You might be warm one minute and feel chilly the next when the wind picks up. 

The best way to prepare for the weather winter in Adelaide might throw at you is by wearing layers. If you wear a T-shirt with a jumper and bring with you a wind jacket, you should be warm enough most of the time.

rugged up Koala in Adelaide

Outdoor things to do in Adelaide in winter

Because Adelaide is relatively dry throughout the year, there’s still plenty of outdoor things to do in Adelaide in winter. Pretty much all the awesome Adelaide activities are also open in winter, although the ocean might be a little too chilly for a swim (but hey, you do you if you’re feeling tough).

Sightseeing

Sightseeing is always a must when visiting a new place, no matter the weather. If it’s cold and nasty, you’ll just have to browse through stores longer and stop for more coffees in some of the many lovely cafes. 

Start your Adelaide sightseeing day by admiring a few of the historic churches that are scattered across the city. Cross the City Bridge over River Torrens (Karrawirra Parri) to the Adelaide Oval, the iconic sports stadium. Round off your day at Rundle Mall. The walking street is packed with shops and cafes, perfect for a little retail therapy. And don’t forget to snap a picture of the adorable Rundle Mall pigs sculpture.

If you don’t feel like walking all over Adelaide, you have plenty of other options. You can hop on one of the free trams and buses to get around faster (and dryer/warmer in winter). Or you can join one of the many guided tours of Adelaide and be chauffeured around town in a rickshaw or be shown around on a Segway. 

Outdoor Festivals

The ‘Festival State’ never hibernates. It seems like Adelaide always finds a reason to celebrate life. No matter the season, you can almost always find an event happening in Adelaide. 

Winter Weekends Festival

The Winter Weekends Festival runs from July to October and warms you, your heart and your belly. Every Friday and Saturday night, six locations all over town provide you with live music, fire twirling shows, fire pits to warm up on, mulled wine and delicious food.

Alpine Winter Festival Glenelg Beach

‘Alpine’ and ‘beach’...You don’t really expect to see these two words in one sentence. The Alpine Winter Festival on Glenelg Beach makes it happen. The festival takes place in June and July and turns Moseley Square into a European winter wonderland (minus the snow).  

Winter markets sell delicious treats, handmade knick-knacks, candles and jewellery. Daring adults can join kids on the big ice rink for a fun and slippery ice skating session… and of course, can reward themselves with a glass of mulled wine afterwards. 

After dark, multiple fireplaces and lights festoon the festival with a warm wintery light. And throughout this wintery fun, you’ll always have the beach and ocean in the background.

Illuminate Adelaide

Every winter in July and August, Illuminate Adelaide lights up the city’s streets, laneways and architecture with a program of free and ticketed events by local, national and international artists and companies.

After dark is when the city switches on the lights of spectacular art installations. Follow the trail of lights to explore temporary sculptures and installations, many light-hearted and fun, while others are more critical and thought-provoking.

Illuminate Adelaide

Dine in an Igloo

Ever dreamt of dining in an igloo? Even without the ice and snow, you can now let this dream come true. Every year from May to August, Moseley Restaurant in Glenelg transforms its outdoor seating area into a winter landscape. Two transparent igloos are equipped with cosy blankets and a dining table or lounge setting, depending on your preference. A fireplace keeps your igloo toasty warm on the cooler days and evenings.

Adelaide Hills Winter Reds Festival - July 

Every year in July, the Adelaide Hills celebrate their red wines in a weekend of indulgence at the Winter Reds Festival. The local wineries open their cellar doors and serve up a range of dishes, perfectly paired to the red wine varietals they grow in their vineyards. Most events are ticketed and need to be pre-booked but there are a few places where you can just rock up for a drink and some food. 

And don’t forget to try the local mulled wine (or Gluehwein, as it’s called here in acknowledgement of the region’s German history).

Indoor activities: Adelaide in winter and/or rain

Most Adelaide indoor activities are open year-round and are worth a visit no matter the weather. If you’re stuck for ideas on things to do in Adelaide on a rainy day, we’ve got some goodies for you. 

Eating and Drinking

Hardly anything is less dependent on the weather than to indulge in good food and matching drinks. In a foodie’s heaven like Adelaide, you’ll always find a cosy corner bistro to warm up your fingers and your tummy. 

Hahndorf Adelaide Hills

Adelaide Central Market

Feast your eyes on a riot of colour at the Adelaide Central Market. Not only is it the largest undercover produce market in the Southern Hemisphere, but the market is also homed in a historic building that was built solely for that purpose. You can find neatly arranged fruit and vegetables in all colours of a healthy rainbow in one corner, freshly baked bread, meat, cheese and charcuterie produce in another, interspersed with cafes and bakeries to quench your hunger after whetting your appetite sampling tasters from the stalls.

Join one of the guided market tours for a glimpse behind the scenes. You’ll see how a typical market day looks for the sellers and of course get to taste their delicious produce.

Adelaide Central Market vendors

Holey Moley Golf Club Adelaide

Did you love mini golf as a kid and do you like going for fancy drinks now that you’re an adult? Holey Moley Golf Club managed to transport a childhood memory into the adult world by creating a bar with an indoor mini-golf course so fantastic and colourful it feels like a cartoon figure’s weirdest dream. Each hole is named in a fun way, like Vincent Van Golf or The Great Hole-Dini and the obstacles are not like any mini-golf course you’ve seen before. Add the most colourful and imaginative cocktails you’ve ever seen to the mix (eg Sugar Caddy Trophy, served in an actual trophy) and you’ve got yourself a fun night out.

High Tea by the Sea

For a more sophisticated way to spend your day eating and drinking, head to the Stamford Grand Hotel on Glenelg Beach for a luxurious High Tea. With the beach in the backdrop, you spend a relaxing afternoon sharing exquisite little finger food sandwiches, scones and delicate sweet treats with your friends or family. Unlimited tea is included and you can order something bubbly to round off the delicacies.

Museums

Museums and galleries are great indoor activities in Adelaide and broaden your mind at the same time. The main exhibits in the following museums can be visited free of charge. 

Art Gallery

If you’re in the mood for world-class art and culture, you can’t miss visiting the Art Gallery. Located in a historic building, the Art Gallery of South Australia houses a huge collection of more than 40,000 artefacts. Immerse yourself in the sculptures, prints, sketches, photographs, textiles and design works from all over the world, attracting almost one million visitors every year. 

South Australian Museum 

The natural history museum holds collections of national and international significance. The museum is home to the world's largest collection of Australian Aboriginal cultural material, with over 3,000 artefacts on display. Exhibits include the Pacific Cultures, Megafauna, Opalised Fossils, Polar, Ediacaran, Minerals and the Ancient Egyptian Room. The ever-popular Discovery Centre on level one contains a wealth of information.

To keep things interesting, the museum keeps coming up with colourful and informative events for families as well as adults-only evening tours.

MOD. - Museum of Discovery

If you prefer a museum with a more hands-on approach where you can interact with the exhibits while learning about a scientific topic, the MOD. (or Museum of Discovery) is for you. Located at the University of South Australia, the museum is all about showcasing modern technology and science in a fun and engaging way. While it’s mainly aimed at people from 15 to 25 years (and built to look beautiful on social media), older and younger humans can still learn a lot as well.

Keen to experience Adelaide's winter magic? We can help with that!

Have a look at our 5-day Adelaide Getaway or the 7-day Adelaide Romantic Getaway! Or include Adelaide in your South Australia self-drive itinerary. Inspired to create your own self-drive itinerary including a range of hikes? Chat to our First Light Travel specialists about our bespoke packages.

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Alexandra Diethelm
By
Alexandra Diethelm
: 26 Aug 2021 (Last updated: 27 Aug 2021)

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