Up until October last year, I had spent 24 years of my life living in a somewhat big city. Adelaide, Australia was my home – it still is my home! There isn’t really a whole lot to do if you’re 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 partner 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 the 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 asked me where I think the best city is to live in, without hesitation I would say Adelaide. It takes all of 45 minutes to drive from the Northern Suburbs, to any of Adelaide’s beautiful beaches. You’re never more than half an hour away from the city centre, no matter which direction you live. 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. No matter what your interests are (sport, music festivals, car racing) you’ll always find something enjoyable in Adelaide. Below are some of the most popular events that happen across Adelaide each year!
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.
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).
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.
Horse racing, gambling, 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.
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 to check out.
If you aren’t keen on spending your time at events, but instead want to learn 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. I always forget, though. So if you’re like me, you’ll end up with about 50 of them.
- 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.
- Don’t leave Adelaide without visiting the Barossa Valley. If you’re a supporter of the wine industry (like I am. I basically keep wineries in business, let’s be honest) you’ll have a blast.
ALICE SPRINGS – WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE CENTRE OF AUSTRALIA
If someone had told me I’d be living in the Australian 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 to 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. 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 super 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 (consequently ripping everyone off when it comes to flight costs) 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), could make me cringe. In Summer, you can expect temperatures of between 40 to 44 degrees (104 to 111) for days on end.
We are now at the beginning of winter (June is winter in Australia!) and for the past week or so, the temperature has been below 5 degrees celcius at nighttime. Daytime temperatures have been hovering around the 20 degree mark, which is a lot more enjoyable than the middle of summer!
So essentially, expect summer to be excruciatingly hot, and winter to be extremely cold (at night, anyway!)
The people in Alice Springs are extremely laid back and friendly. If you’re here for longer than a few days, head out and chat to some of the locals and store owners. 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 stressful 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.
Just 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 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 experience anywhere else in Australia.
Moving from a big city to the Australian outback has opened my eyes to so many things. 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 don’t even remember picking up, a tan so great 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.
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! 💭
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