Port Willunga, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia © Che Chorley
Abbey Holmes’ guide to Adelaide
Australian rules footballer Abbey Holmes reveals the top venues and attractions in her beloved Adelaide.
Interviewed by Dan F Stapleton
Abbey Holmes won Australia’s heart with her formidable presence on the field as an Australian Rules footballer and her unfailing positivity. She played for both the Waratah Football Club in the Northern Territory and for the Adelaide Crows in the Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) competition, and competed on the TV reality show Australian Survivor in 2019.
Abbey and her family moved to Adelaide when she was 10, and she says the South Australian capital soon felt like home. She loves Adelaide’s relaxed pace, walkable city centre and thriving food and drink scene. Here, she lists the locales she finds herself returning to again and again.
Outdoor secret spot: Onkaparinga River National Park
“There are so many incredible places to explore in and around Adelaide – it really is hard to choose just one. However, one of my favourite hikes is definitely the four-hour hike through the Onkaparinga Gorge in the Onkaparinga River National Park, on the Fleurieu Peninsula about a 45-minute drive south of the city. There’s beautiful scenery everywhere you turn and vast amounts of wildlife. The entire park is a great place to explore and I am forever finding hidden gems and secret spots to bring my friends and family back to. The Punchbowl Link Trail, which is about 6 kilometres (4 miles, and takes three hours), is a personal favourite. There is a beautiful lookout with views over the gorge and it’s a great walk to do to kick-start your weekend.”
Lesser known suburb: Port Willunga
“A number of suburbs along the south coast of Adelaide are making a big push in the popularity stakes [the historic town of Aldinga in particular has become trendy, with great shopping].
The stretch of coast from Port Willunga to Sellicks Beach is buzzing, and people from all over Adelaide are heading down there during the warm days for the amazing food, beaches and good vibes. I love nothing more than grabbing some fish and chips from Star of Greece in Port Willunga and driving over to Silver Sands Beach. It’s a beautiful stretch with crystal-clear water, and you can drive your vehicle onto the sand, which makes carrying beach gear much easier.”
Eat Street: Adelaide Central Market
“For an abundance of food and drink from all over the world, head to the markets in the centre of town. Adelaide Central Market was established in 1869 and has been the place to go for food and culture ever since. [It’s open from 7am from Tuesday to Saturday each week – 9am on Wednesdays and Thursdays.] It’s one of the largest under-roof markets in the Southern Hemisphere, with more than 70 traders.
And it’s not just about fresh produce: the market also houses popular cafés and a wide range of stalls offering multicultural cuisine. One of my most frequently visited stalls is the Kangaroo Island Stall, which stocks a large range of Kangaroo Island’s best produce, wine and spirits. I highly recommend the raw organic honey - it’s delish!”
Favourite bar: Bank Street Social
“Bank Street Social is hands-down one of the best bars in Adelaide, and an absolute must if you are looking for a place to meet the locals. It’s an underground bar in the city centre with an amazing atmosphere and industrial decor.
One of the many things I love about this place is that while it has a pretty enviable collection of gin and whisky from around the world, it also has a really big focus on local goods, sourcing the very best in South Australian beer and wine and using regional produce on its pizzas.”
Destination shopping experience: Hahndorf
“From clothes to candles, opals to cheese, the small town of Hahndorf, an hour’s drive south-east of Adelaide, has an abundance of local shops and retail experiences to explore. I personally have the biggest sweet tooth, so I have always known Hahndorf for its lollies (sweets), chocolate and fudge.
I also love the German Village Shop, which stocks specialty products such as cuckoo clocks, alpine cow bells, beer steins – you name it, they have it. After spending a few hours walking around, checking out the sights, the German Arms Hotel is a great place to stop for lunch or dinner.”
Only in Adelaide: The North Terrace Cultural Precinct
“I love the North Terrace Cultural Precinct in the centre of town, where you can spend hours wandering around the South Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the State Library of South Australia. The buildings are all next to each other so you can hop from one to the other. These grand venues offer an excellent opportunity to learn all about Australian culture – including Aboriginal culture dating back thousands and thousands of years.”
Favourite hotel: CABN
“If you’re looking to escape the hustle-and-bustle of city life, I can highly recommend booking a night or two with CABN, a collection of cabins scattered throughout the Australian bush (including several near Adelaide, including the McLaren Vale wine region; a 45-minute drive south of the city).
I love the concept behind the company: to provide people with a means to disconnect from their everyday busy lifestyles and get completely off the grid, while still being within easy reach of civilisation. Each CABN is a unique place to really recharge your batteries and reconnect with nature.
I love waking up to the sounds of the birds and having kangaroos as your only neighbours. It really is truly a unique experience and one that I can’t wait to go back and visit again.”