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An unforgettable weekend at Illuminate Adelaide

We were invited to spend last weekend in Adelaide for Illuminate Adelaide, South Australia’s major annual winter event and a city-wide spectacle of art, light, sound and imagination, co-founded by creative directors Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge.

The program runs for the month of July and is a mix of free and ticketed events by local, national and international artists and companies.

Illuminate Adelaide launched in winter 2021 however due to lockdowns across the country, it was really only South Australian residents who got to enjoy the festival.

This year, thankfully the lockdowns are far behind us and we could not get on a plane fast enough and get over to Adelaide!

Our itinerary

The gorgeous Melbourne-based publicity queens, Tatia and Mary from TS Publicity, along with local PR powerhouses Sarah and Daisy from Sassafras PR had curated an amazing itinerary for us with recommendations of how to spend the weekend.

We stayed at Crowne Plaza Adelaide, a stunning new hotel perfectly positioned just off Rundle Street and only a hop, skip and jump away from the Illuminate Adelaide activities.

We received such a warm welcome with treats in our room on arrival, including some Haighs chocolate freckles and an Illuminate Adelaide beanie (which came in handy for the outdoor evening events!)

Crowne Plaza's Luna 10 Rooftop and poolside bar had some delicious cocktail specials to celebrate Illuminate Adelaide.

Our first stop was to Light Cycles which has returned by popular demand to Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

This Australian-first production from Montreal studio Moment Factory transforms the Adelaide Botanic Gardens into a magical after-dark immersive experience.

This incredible event sold out last year in its premiere run and after seeing the crowds on the night we went it looks as though this year will sell out too.

I loved every single second of Light Cycles - Moment Factory’s incredible use of light, lasers, projection and an original soundtrack is so moving and breathtakingly beautiful. I could have spent hours longer in the gardens just soaking it all in.

Tickets for Light Cycles can be purchased here.

Our next stop was to admire the City Lights in the North Precinct.

Illuminate Adelaide has created incredible installations, artworks and activations across the city and has literally transformed it into a light-filled playground.

The ‘I Love Adelaide’ snow dome by Jacques Rival is the true centerpiece of the North Precinct and I also adored the ‘Going Out Bush’ installation by Vincent Namatjira at the Art Gallery of South Australia also.

It was so beautiful to witness the thousands of families out enjoying the magic of the City Lights!

This free light trail runs nightly from 6pm to 11pm and is not to be missed.

For more information on City Lights, click here.

Following a magical couple of light-filled hours we headed to Proof Wine Bar for a glass of wine and then intro Press Wine & Food for a fabulous dinner with the other visiting media and PR teams.

After a delicious dinner matched to stunning local wines we strolled back to Crowne Plaza and watched from up high as the lights were turned off and the city went to sleep after an absolutely magical winter's day.

The following day we started with a visit to Penfolds Magill Estate.

Penfolds Magill Estate is only a short drive away from Adelaide CBD and is a must-visit when you’re traveling to SA.

We started with a tour of the heritage-listed Grange Cottage, the home of Penfolds original owners, and then got to explore the underground drives.

These amazing spaces are 15 - 20 metres underground and are a series of tunnels creating the perfect environment for cellaring wine.

Many of Penfolds wines, including their flagship Grange, are stored and showcased in these spaces, so the temperature is kept cool, year-round.

The underground drives are also used for events and can be booked for private events and celebrations.

It was then time to head to back upstairs to a private tasting room where we got to enjoy a tasting of a 2017 Grange and many other flagship wines, before heading to Magill Estate Bistro for a magnificent lunch.

We headed back to the city and our next stop was to East End Cellars for a laneway cocktail party with the talented founders and partners of Illuminate Adelaide.

We enjoyed paella and tapas and sipped on some stunning wines and then strolled to the purpose-built Illuminate Pavilion for the opening night of Ouchhh Studio’s Wisdom of AI Light.

After taking European audiences by storm, Ouchhh Studio Wisdom of AI Light is at Illuminate Adelaide and is absolutely INCREDIBLE!

Wisdom of AI Light is a collaboration between Istanbul-based visionaries Ouchhh Studio and NASA and CERN and uses groundbreaking technologies of Artificial Intelligence and extraordinary projection techniques matched to music by legendary composer, Ludovico Einaudi.

It is an absolutely breathtaking experience, a journey from the Renaissance masterpieces to the mysteries of the universe and is an absolute must-see when at Illuminate Adelaide.

Tickets can be booked here and sessions are running every 45 minutes for a limited time only.

We then jumped in a taxi and headed off to the Dom Polski Centre for Klassik Underground (below).

Klassik Underground is an immersive concert series combining classical music with live visuals from leading Australian artists.

On the night we visited Australian violist (and founder of KLASSIK underground) Tahlia Petrosian, directed a fabulous ensemble of musicians and Robin Fox designed the incredible visuals. It was an extraordinary experience and the perfect finale to a truly unforgettable day in beautiful Adelaide!

After a blissful sleep-in it was time to check out of Crown Plaza Adelaide and we enjoyed a few hours exploring the city and Illuminate Adelaide by day (below) before heading to the airport.

Our first stop was to Exchange Speciality Coffee for brunch – the Potato & beetroot hash w smoked salmon one of the best brunch dishes I’ve had!

We then did some shopping in the Adelaide Arcade, which has been decked out with a fun and colourful umbrella installation.

The final stop was to the Art Gallery of South Australia where we enjoyed two exhibitions. Firstly, a stroll through the incredible Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize and then to the Robert Wilson: Moving portraits exhibition, which showcases a series of phenomenal video portraits of international celebs, artists, people and animals. Both exhibitions are running until October 3 and you only need one ticket to see both exhibitions. I adored them both.

Tickets can be purchased here.

After a dreamy 48 hours in Adelaide, it was time to head to the airport and get back to Melbourne.

The biggest congratulations to Rachael and Lee and the organisers of Illuminate Adelaide for creating an incredible series of world-class events.

Heartfelt thank you to South Australia Tourism Commission for hosting us this weekend and to Tatia and Mary at TS Publicity and Sarah and Daisy at Sassafras PR for curating the most incredible weekend for us! We are already planning our return visit to Adelaide (but next year with the kids as there is so much for families to explore).

To find out more about Illuminate Adelaide and to plan your trip, visit .


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