Adelaide: 9 Reasons to Wander the Cultural Boulevard of North Terrace!

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In our Adelaide Guide, it would be remiss of us not to mention the tree-lined thoroughfare of North Terrace. With its architectural beauty, this cultural boulevard reveals much of Adelaide’s history. Are you ready for more of Adelaide’s charm?

#1 Adelaide Railway Station:

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
Adelaide Railway Station. 2017.

Where better to begin our North Terrace wander than the Railway Station. Opened in 1856, Adelaide Railway Station heard the whistle of its passenger Steam Train’s inaugural journey to Port Adelaide on April 19th.

On board, the 6th Governor of South Australia, Sir Richard Graves McDonnell was off to lunch.

The first government owned & operated Steam Train in the British Empire, made three stops on the way, at Bowden, Woodville and Alberton before dropping the passengers at the, now closed, Port Dock Station.

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
Have a quick bite or linger over lunch @ Madam Hanoi.

Fast forward to today and Adelaide Railway Station, while still very much in use, houses restaurants, bars and the Adelaide Casino. Being heritage-listed, the architectural details and well-maintained interiors provide for Instagram-worthy pics.

Before continuing your North Terrace meander, grab a quick bite or linger over lunch at Madam Hanoi. For some tantalising tidbits, take a look at our previous post, Grazing at Madam Hanoi.

#2 Parliament House:

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
Parliament House.

Would you believe this imposing building on the corner of North Terrace and King William Road took 65 years to complete?

Winners of a design competition, Edmond Wright and Lloyd Taylor from Melbourne, went for Greek Revival as the aesthetic. Ornate columns, towers and a grand dome featured in the design only to be discarded later due to a lack of funds.

Inside, it’s possible to access question time and observe Parliament sitting. Entrance is free but bookings are essential. A wonderful opportunity to witness firsthand the goings on of the House of Assembly and the Legislative council. Perhaps rivalling the entertainment at the Festival Centre next door.

#3 Government House:

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
Government House 1870.
(pic courtesy of GH Wikipedia page)

Home to the Governor of South Australia, the Honourable Hieu Van Le, Government House is Adelaide’s second incarnation, but still the oldest in Australia.

The first, “Government Hut”, with a thatched roof, calico ceiling and walls of timber, wattle and daub stood between the Railway Station and River Torrens before burning down in 1841.

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
Government House today.
(pic courtesy of GH FB page)

Aside from receiving a state dinner invitation, your best bet to see inside is by visiting on a biannual open day. View where the Governor presides over Executive Council, the State Dining Room set for a formal dinner or take a guided tour of the grounds with Friends of The Botanic Gardens.

The next open day is Sunday, May 21st, 2017 from 10:00 – 16:00.

#4 National War Memorial:

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
National War Memorial.

At the memorial’s unveiling on Anzac Day 1931, Governor Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven addressed a crowd of almost 75,000 with these wise words.

“It is not only for ourselves that we have erected this visible remembrance of great deeds, but rather that those who come after us and have not experienced the horrors of war, or realised the wanton destruction and utter futility of it all, may be inspired to devise some better means to settle international disputes other than by international slaughter. This memorial is the seal of South Australia’s homage to her sons, who in the ranks of brave company from all parts of the Empire, gave their lives during the Great War.” (quoted from

Anzac Centenary Memorial Garden Walk follows Kintore Avenue and commemorates 100 years of Anzac. The walk pays homage to 102,000 Australian women and men who have given their lives in conflict.

#5 State Library of South Australia:

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
State Library of South Australia.

Documenting South Australia from pre-European settlement to today, the state’s largest public research library can also be accessed from home. If you’re a South Australian resident with a State Library card, simply register for Home Access and start browsing.

Of course, this won’t replace the joy of getting your hands on old journals and newspapers or playing with, dare I say it, microfiche but if South Aussies need some info quickly, it’s a great resource.

#6 Art Gallery of South Australia:

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
Art Gallery of South Australia.

The Art Gallery began its life in 2 rooms of the state library and stayed there for 20 years only moving to its current location in 1900. With some 38,000 pieces, AGSA has the 2nd largest collection in Australia behind the National Gallery of Victoria.

Indigenous Australian art is well represented, the Australian collection dates back to 1800 while pieces in the European collection come from the 1500’s. Asian art has a strong presence along with significant works from the Americas.

Every first Friday of the month the gallery is open after hours (5 pm – 9 pm) for “First Friday”. Expect live music, guest speakers and a chance to view current exhibitions. Entrance is free, and Art Gallery Food & Wine stay open with their South Australian produce-driven menu and wine list. Grab your friends for Friday night drinks with a difference.

#7 South Australian Museum:

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
South Australian Museum.

Flanked by the Library to the west and Art Gallery to the east, the South Australian Museum is no slouch in the grand architecture stakes. This building blending the past and present is the custodian for State and National collections of cultural and natural heritage.

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
Yidaki, Didjeridu & the Sound of Australia. (Promo shot courtesy of South Australian Museum)

With the world’s largest collection of Indigenous Australia, it stands to reason; Yidaki is on the list of current exhibitions. Yidaki, or didjeridu, signifies the sound of Australia.

Rarely seen treasures from the museum’s collection are on display with sound, story and moving image exploring the cultural importance of Yidaki. Curated in collaboration with the Yolngu First People, the exhibition runs until July 16th, 2017.

#8 The University of Adelaide:

North Terrace. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
North Terrace entrance to the University of Adelaide.

Bustling with students of all ages and ethnicity, Adelaide Uni’s campus offers more than education. Its architecture, proximity to the leafy banks of the River Torrens and drinks and eats at student prices make it an attractive hangout.

The iconic Adelaide Uni Bar is an institution in this city. Promoting local, national and international artists, it’s a prominent music venue with low-priced drinks, happy hours and good pub food.

Download their app or check their Facebook page for gig guides and specials or even better, SMS your email address to 0421 267 698 to become a member and receive VIP specials.

#9 Adelaide Botanic Gardens:

Botanic Gardens. Adelaide. South Australia. Australia.
My favourite place in Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Nothing beats the Botanic Gardens for finding serenity in a city. Surrounded by nature and having options for wining and dining, Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens are up there with the best. Find out more from our recent post, Adelaide: The Botanic Gardens and the Pleasures Within!

Appreciating North Terrace, Adelaide’s cultural boulevard: it’s a thing we love….

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