Far from Paris but perfectly at home in Adelaide, the blockbuster Colours of Impressionism show is a great excuse to visit the Art Gallery of South Australia. The new show features 65 masterpieces on loan from Musee d’Orsay until July 29.
These colourful paintings reach across the centuries and represent one of the most popular and influential artistic movements. As the only place in Australia to host the show, the gallery has pulled off a coup with these top-notch works by Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro and others. Interestingly, the paintings are on display in the Elder Wing (a brave move replacing its classic Australian works). The show is organised through the use of colour, creating a fascinating understanding of the artists.
Lunch at the gallery’s AGF + W cafe is recommended as is a stroll along the Adelaide riverbank. Finish off with an early dinner at the top-rated Peel Street restaurant.
Why not extend an arty day trip to a weekend? Breakfast at the iconic Lucia’s at Adelaide Central Market (where I spot ex-premier Jay Weatherill having a coffee) and then check out the quality regional produce.
Cheryl Turner of Aus Food Tours knows all the best spots: try Jamu (vegan fare has rarely tasted so good); Providore for sweet treats; or Something Wild for the best native ingredients. SA is famous for its German sausages with none better than those at the Mettwurst Shop. Pull up a chair at the Latvian Lunchroom for a Kvass drink and rye sandwiches.
Nearby the Jam Factory trains 10 artists a year and has the busiest hot glass-blowing factory in the country. Wander through the open studios and admire the range of handcrafted goods in the front store.
The Hennessy rooftop bar at the Mayfair Hotel offers a great view of the city and indulge at top-ranked Orana restaurant or its little sister Bistro Blackwood downstairs.
Strike out to the Barossa Valley, a short 1.5-hour drive from Adelaide. Yalumba, the oldest family-owned winery in Australia, has a busy cooperage on site where one-third of its wine barrels are made. A tour of the cellars is a fascinating stroll through the history of Yalumba. Afterwards sample a tasting at the Wine Room, consider a picnic in the grounds or book into Vintners Bar and Grill in Angaston for a fine-dining lunch.
Tanunda Bakery is a popular local hangout and Seppeltsfield’s Fino restaurant and Jam Factory artisan outpost are definitely worth a visit. Explore the German heritage of Krondorf and next day visit Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, where artist Hans Heysen lived.
Of course, everyone is talking about McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg Cube, a mind-bending winery, tasting rooms, art gallery and restaurant. Back in Adelaide, don’t miss the Museum of Economic Botany, where curator Tony Kanellos presides over a fascinating collection. Next door, the Botanic Gardens Restaurant is wowing visitors with seasonal dishes using produce grown in the gardens.
The writer was a guest of the Art Gallery of South Australia.