Adelaide in South Australia is one of the most beautiful cities in Australia and sees an average of around 4 million tourists each year. Sometimes people from the northern hemisphere forget that June to September is the winter season there, which means a lot of rainy days. But just because there is a little rain doesn't mean you can't find some great things to do.
Adelaide has many festivals and events in the winter months. Some fun events include the Winter Whale Fest in Victor Harbor, swimming with the giant cuttlefish at Whyalla, and the School Holidays Mountain Biking Skills Clinic. Not to mention Adelaide has some of the most beautiful wineries in Australia that are worth paying a visit.
But you don't want to get caught outside in the rain, especially with your luggage or backpacks. So find a place where you can leave your bags and start your indoor adventure in Adelaide, South Australia.
Catch a flick
To some, watching a movie is not that original, but where you watch a movie and what you are watching makes all the difference. You can go to the standard ridiculously priced cinema or do something different, like visiting a classic cinema. In Adelaide, the classic cinema culture is alive and strong, with several cinemas showing classic or cult films.
For a great variety of arthouse and mainstream movies, visit Palace Nova on Rundle Street. It also runs movie festivals, foreign films, and big-screen gaming, and you can hire the cinema for private screenings and parties.
This is a non-profit cinema, yes, you read that right. That means it will not cost you an arm and a leg to get popcorn. Instead, what you can do is grab a nice glass of wine in the old theatre's beautiful lounge area while waiting for your movie. They also put on special events like film festivals and special screenings, and you can rent it out for private functions.
The classic old theatre is one of the most beautiful theatres in Adelaide that runs new movies (just not a hundred at once) and is very cheap, making it a great option on a rainy day. You can also see live shows and talks, and it is also available to be hired out for special events or private screenings.
Relax with a spa day
A rainy day can stress you out: you have to cancel plans, try to make new ones, book something last minute, and so on. So why not take some time out and pamper yourself? Don't you deserve a relaxing day? Adelaide is littered with spa and wellness centres that can take away all that stress. Imagine massages, beauty treatments, mani and pedicures, and a big comfy robe to make you say "Aaaah..."
You don't have to spend a lot on a spa treatment (although you can). Many of the day spas offer specials you can take advantage of and save a few bucks. One of the largest spa companies in Australia, Endota Spa has a location in Rundle Mall, so you can shop and get a spa treatment without having to go outside in the rain.
Sip high tea
High tea is a centuries-old tradition that is well worth partaking in, especially on a cold rainy day in Adelaide. However, high tea is not just about drinking tea. It is a very social occasion that involves enjoying some food too. Finger sandwiches, scones, and other pastries are a part of tea time.
Many restaurants, cafes, hotels, and even the Popeye river cruise offers high tea. When it is winter outside, let a nice cup of tea warm your inside.
If you have kids, you may want to find a sitter for this one. Adelaide sits near several fantastic wine-producing areas like Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, and McLaren Vale. But when it is raining in the Adelaide Hills, it is best to stay in the city to sample the wine.
You will find plenty of wine bars throughout Adelaide, but the National Wine Center is one of the best places to do some wine tasting. Here you will find a fantastic selection from some of the best wineries in South Australia. Not only will you get to learn about the wines themselves but the history of the wine history in Australia.
The Wine Centre also has an excellent restaurant that offers a tasting plate to accompany the wines. Tours of the facility are available twice a day, but only the afternoon tour comes with a tasting. With over 120 wines to choose from, you may need to visit several times.
Explore the Adelaide Central markets
Adelaide has several indoor or covered markets that are worth a visit on a rainy day. Not all are completely enclosed, so you will still need a jacket in the winter, but at least you will stay dry.
Adelaide Central Market
The largest of all the markets is a nice comfy place to peruse shops, listen to some live music, enjoy a huge range of food, or maybe pick up some fresh produce. The 150-year-old market is open year-round from Tuesday to Saturday. And when you are finished shopping in the market, you can grab an umbrella and tour Chinatown.
On Saturdays, there is a great family program that includes face painting, crafts and other workshops. and roving entertainers. And on Tuesdays during the school term, the Market Minis program for ages 2 - 5 gets your little one cooking, doing some fun food activities, and staying active.
Plant 4 Bowden
Plant 4 Bowden is another covered indoor market that is smaller than the Central Market but just as great to visit. There are delicious food stalls and retail shops where you can pick up some artisan products. Friday and Saturday nights they have live and DJ music, or come on a Sunday for some Salsa dancing, lessons provided. And when the rain stops, the alfresco dining area is beautiful.
Gillies at the Grounds
For those that like more of a thrifty and eclectic sort of place, check out Gillies at the Grounds. It is only open once a month on a Sunday, so you need to check their website. The market is set up for aspiring jewelry designers, glassware, pottery and such, and stalls with not second-hand but pre-loved goods.
Gillies at the Grounds is a covered open market, so dress warmly as you can spend a few hours checking out all the cool stuff.
Step outside of reality in a VR Room
Technology is all around you, and you can literally have it all around at one of the many virtual reality rooms in Adelaide. If you have never been to a VR centre before, a rainy day in Adelaide is the perfect time to try one out. You can really have some mind-blowing experiences like very interactive escape rooms or fighting zombies and space invaders. If adrenaline is not your thing, go for a walk on a mountain or create some awesome 3D art.
VR rooms are so much fun, no matter your age. There is one little problem with them though, you will be indoors and out of the wet rain, but you might work up a sweat due to the excitement.
Discover something new at a Museum
Escaping into one of Adelaide's many museums is a great way to avoid the rain, and Adelaide has a huge array of museums to choose from. Whether you like a big sciencey and historical museum or a small quirky one, you will find them in the fourth largest city in Australia.
South Australian Museum
Located on North Terrace, this is the largest and possibly best museum in Adelaide. The South Australian Museum houses an incredible collection of millions of species, objects, and the largest collection of Aboriginal artifacts in the world.
The museum has five floors of wonders that will keep you entertained for hours. Even the kids will have a good time with interactive challenges and digital scavenger hunts. The museum is free to enter but some exhibitions may have a charge.
Ayers House Museum
Former residence of Sir Henry Ayers, a record five times premier of South Australia, this is the last grand mansion of the 19th century still open to the public. Situated on the south side of North Terrace, it is a fascinating look back into the life of an upper-class family in the Victorian era.
State Library of South Australia
Is there anything better than reading a good book when it is raining outside? It's the perfect place for a bookworm to stay warm and dry in a fabulous setting. If you want to learn about the history of South Australia, the State Library has been keeping track of it for almost two centuries.
There is more than reading that goes on here too: video presentations, talks, guided tours and workshops for kids are also part of the tour. Leave it to the Aussies to come up with a library where you can make noise.
Museum of Discovery
The MOD is a really fun museum on a rainy day. The rain might get you down, but this museum will lift your spirits. The MOD is a cross between a museum and a futuristic digital playground. It is not really for younger kids, it is more designed for ages 12 - 25. Full of great interactive things to do, robotic displays, cool workshops, and an exhibition of parachuting cats, now that is something you have to see!
Get some culture at an Art Gallery
For art lovers of every kind, Adelaide offers a fabulous way to avoid a rainy day with a plethora of galleries to choose from. Whether you are into contemporary, modern, or even some of the more "out there" art, Adelaide has around 100 galleries, and you are sure to find one that keeps your interest for a few hours.
Art Gallery of South Australia
Right beside the South Australian Museum on North Terrace, the art gallery is one of the premier galleries in Australia. There are over 38,000 artworks to explore, paintings, sculptures, and special exhibitions. And the first Friday of every month, there is an "After-hours Art and Entertainment" event, which includes music, cocktails, talks, and tours.
Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute
If you want to see the history of Aboriginals through art in Australia, you will find it here. It opened in 1989 and it has been showcasing Aboriginal art, hosting community programs and interactive exhibitions.
Other great galleries to explore are the FELTspace, Samstag Museum of Art, and Jam factory. They will keep you occupied with performances, talks, exhibitions, and an incredible display of talent.
When it is a rainy day outside, you can enjoy some great fun family activities at an indoor adventure park or leisure center. Because Adelaide receives so much rain, these indoor parks have popped up everywhere. And it doesn't matter how old you or your family members are, there is something for every age group.
If you have young kids, a play center like Mega Courts Indoor Sports, Funtopia, or Inflatable World will do the trick. These are great fun for the little ones to safely run around and get their energy out while mom and dad relax a little.
Older kids might prefer more active places, like an indoor mini-golf course, rock climbing gym, or skating rink. For adrenaline junkies, they can visit Mega Fast Karts and race against each other or the clock. In Australia, one of the biggest sports is the Australian Football League, so the kids can test their skills at AFL Max.
Rainy Day Activities
Now when it rains in Adelaide, which is half the time in the winter, you will know exactly where to go have fun and avoid the "liquid sunshine". But if you really want to avoid the rain, visit Adelaide in the Australian summer between December and March.
Looking for even more things to do in Adelaide on a rainy day? Check out these other guides: