Up until October last year, I had spent 24 years of my life, living in a somewhat big city. Adelaide, Australia was my home (well, it still is my home!) There’s not a whole lot to do if you are someone who enjoys theme parks and adventurous days out; but it’s comfortable, familiar and will always be the city I’m proud to call home.
Towards the end of last year, my boyfriend was offered a temporary Assistant Manager job in Alice Springs. Here is a map of Australia, if you’re unsure where Alice Springs is. If you look at the very centre of my beautiful country, there’s a little red dot. That’s Alice Springs. We are now smack bang in the centre of the country. Now, if you look down the map to the very bottom, right above where it says Melbourne, you’ll see Adelaide. That’s where I used to live. I moved from a bustling city of 1,34 million people (as of 2016), to the Australian Outback with a measly 28,000 residents (give or take a human or two).
Check out the map below for a less detailed version!
If you’ve never had a chance to visit Australia, but it is on your Travel Bucket List, I’m here to give you the rundown on what it’s like living in and visiting both a bustling big city, and the hot, dusty Australian Outback.
ADELAIDE: THE CITY OF CHURCHES AND BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
I’m sure you’re wondering what’s so great about Adelaide. Am I right? It’s definitely no Melbourne, Sydney or Queensland. We don’t have theme parks, and you won’t find any snow resorts. But if someone was to ask me where I think the best city to live in, without hesitation I would say Adelaide. It takes all of forty five minutes to drive from the Northern Suburbs to any one of Adelaide’s beautiful beaches. The City Centre is less than half an hour away from most directions. The housing and cost of living is one of the cheapest across Australia. Basically, if you want a chilled, friendly and happy city to set your life up, I would recommend Adelaide. Easily.
Here are some things about Adelaide that you should know.
There are a TON of events that happen annually around the city. These include, but definitely are not limited to:
- Cricket One Day International Series – A day where two teams play Cricket in super hot weather, for an entire day. If you enjoy the sport, but aren’t too keen on sitting out in the heat all day, check out the much more enjoyable Big Bash matches that are occasionally held at Adelaide Oval. Even I enjoy these, and I was strictly anti-cricket for 24 years of my life.
- The Adelaide Fringe Festival – An annual arts festival showcasing comedy, cabaret, circus, physical theatre, dance, film, music, visual art and design. This festival runs for a month every year, usually beginning in the middle of February.
- Clipsal 500 – Australia’s largest motorsport event, running for 3 days at the start of March. Basically it’s a lot of loud cars and even louder people, getting drunk and yelling at people who can’t hear them. But hey, if you’re into that sort of thing…(I’m kidding. It’s pretty cool that we host such a well known car racing event).
- WOMADelaide – A festival held in the beautiful Adelaide Botanic Gardens, celebrating music and dance from all around the world. WOMADelaide is held from the 10th to the 13of of March.
- Adelaide Cup – Horse racing, betting, alcohol, pretty dresses and strange hair pieces. Be apart of it all on March 13th.
- AFL (Australian Football League) – Known as ‘Footy’ to us Aussies, the season runs from the end of March to the end of August, with the Grand Final usually being held at the start of September.
- Royal Adelaide Show – If you like carnival rides, show bags that are overpriced but thrilling all the same, fireworks and random farm animals, then you’ll love the Royal Show. A great place to take the kids, if you happen to be in Adelaide during the first 10 days of September!
- Adelaide Fashion Festival– Not personally my taste, as I’m not fashionable in the slightest. However, if you’re into fashion and wanna check out all the up-and-coming and established designers across Adelaide, you’ll have a blast.
- Ashes Test Cricket Series 2017 – Watch as Australia versus England in the first ever day-night Ashes Series, held at Adelaide Oval. Bring the kids and get into the cricket spirit.
- Carols by Candlelight – Ahh, the Christmas Season. This is definitely one to take the kids along to. Arrive at Elder Park early to claim your place on the grass. I suggest bringing plenty of water and snacks, a comfy blanket to sit on, and some warm clothes. Although The Carols are held in December (Summer in Australia), it can still get cold at night!
It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit, Adelaide always has something new and exciting for you to check out.
If you aren’t keen on spending your time at events, but instead want to learn all the tricks to becoming an Adelaide local, here are some wonderfully weird quirks that you’ll learn during your stay in the city.
- Fruchocs are one of the best things that has ever happened to this beautiful city of mine. If you love apricots and chocolate, you’ll love Fruchocs.
- Shopping bags cost 15 cents in Adelaide (and a lot of other cities across Australia). We’re stingy like that. You’ll learn to keep them and bring them with you each time you shop. Sometimes. I always forget, though.
- Shopping centres aren’t open for as long as they are in other countries (particularly the USA). Most ‘malls’ tend to open at 9am, and close at 5pm. The only exception is Thursday, where the hours extend to 9pm!
- The beaches around Adelaide that you need to visit are Glenelg, Semaphore and Henley. There are great things about all of Adelaide’s beaches, but if you want busy and bustling, hit up Glenelg. If you want a more chilled beach experience, spend a day at Semaphore.
You now know quite a bit about Adelaide and all the cool things you can do around the city, no matter what time of year you’re visiting. Next, I’m going to tell you all about the things I’ve learnt about Alice Springs, during my (so far) three month stay!
ALICE SPRINGS – WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE CENTRE OF AUSTRALIA
If someone had told me I’d be living in the Outback for almost a year, I would have laughed in their face. Here is why: I hate anything that crawls, slithers, jumps or flies, that I can fit in the palm of my hand – and me tell ya, there’s a lot of that in Alice Springs. Although we are still in Australia, moving or even visiting Alice Springs, can be quite a culture shock. I did my research before moving here, thinking I had learnt everything there is to know about this small town in the centre of Australia. Boy was I wrong.
Here are some things you should know before visiting or moving to Alice Springs:
THE DISTANCE FROM CIVILISED LIFE
I knew it would feel like we were far, far away from the rest of the country, but actually arriving here and seeing just how far away the rest of the world is, was a weird feeling. The next town is 200 kilometres away. The closest beach, is around 1,500 kilometres away in Darwin. Due to the fact that everything is soooo far away, you’re limited when it comes to airlines too. The only two companies that fly here (and rip us all off in the process) are Qantas and Virgin. The cost of flying home to Adelaide, would get my partner and I to Thailand. Ridiculous, I know.
I’m not a fan of the heat. In fact, anything above 30 degrees celcius (86 fahrenheit), makes me cringe. In Summer, you can expect temperatures of between 40 to 44 degrees (104 to 111) for days on end ☀️
As I’m typing, the rest of this week will be 40 degrees. Not exactly pleasant weather if you enjoy getting outside making the most of your day. I haven’t experienced Winter in Alice yet, but I’ve heard that it gets below zero. Which is pretty cool, and I won’t lie, I’m excited to experience living in such varied temperatures!
The people here are extremely laid back and friendly – most of the time. There are around 5,000 Aboriginal people who live in Alice Springs. A large percentage of the local Aborignals cause no problems whatsoever. More often than not, they’re some of the friendliest people you’ll meet around town. Whether you get the chance to interact with Aboriginals or non Aboriginals, either way you’ll be getting the true Australian experience. If you’re here for longer than a few days, head out and chat to some of the locals. Even walking down the street will open your eyes to the Australian way of living, and I can guarantee you’ll walk away from more than one person who makes you giggle. Especially if you’re not used to the Aussie slang.
IT’S A RELAXING LIFESTYLE
There’s no traffic, the people are friendly, the pace of every day life is much slower and you can drive from one side of the town to the other in under ten minutes. You’ll see more people walking around in shorts and a t-shirt, than you will in suits and dress clothes. (In fact, in the three months I’ve been here, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in a suit!).
Like Adelaide, there are also a ton of festivals and events that happen around town. Click here for a list of them all!
THE COST OF LVING IS EXTREMELY HIGH
Rent, utilities and almost everything else that is required to live and survive in Alice Springs, can be quite expensive. You will pay the same amount of money for a 2 bedroom house here, for a 4 bedroom house almost anywhere else across Australia. This is to be expected. Being located in the centre of Australia, added expenses are understandable. If you’re coming here to live, I would suggest looking into buying a house as opposed to renting.
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO LIVE OR VISIT
It might get unbearably hot, and there isn’t a ton of stuff to do, but I can’t deny the fact that Alice Springs is a beautiful place to live or visit. The MacDonnell Ranges are gorgeous, and you’re given endless choice when it comes to exploring the Australian Outback. Driving in any direction out of town, you’ll see tons of cool scenery and things you wouldn’t see anywhere else in Australia.
Whether you’re heading to Adelaide, Alice Springs or even Queensland, Australia is one of the best places in the world to visit or live. Moving from a big city to the Australian Outback has opened my eyes to so many things, that I wouldn’t have known if I wasn’t given this opportunity.
If you’re looking for a unique but oh-so-Aussie place to visit, add Alice Springs to your list. You’ll leave with a vocabulary you didn’t even notice you picked up, a tan so amazing your friends and family will think you fell asleep under the sun for 8 hours, and a better understanding of what living in Australia is really like.
I love my country, and I am so thankful that I get to call Australia home! 🇦🇺
Have you visited Australia before? Where did you visit?
Or, if you live here, what’s your favourite part about being Australian? Tell me in the comments below! 💭