Rundle Street is Adelaide’s main shopping street, the western and longer part of which is pedestrianised and forms Rundle Mall. It runs parallel to North Terrace where museums, universities, etc are located.
There are number of arcades on the mall and all the major Aussie stores can be found there – David Jones, Myers, Harvey Norman, etc – along with smaller local shops and eateries. About half way along the mall you should visit Regent Arcade – named after an old ex theatre on the corner – a beautiful heritage style interior, with over 30 specialty shops including a good selection of cafe’s and a couple of small antique shops. Next to Regent Arcade is the beautiful Victorian Adelaide Arcade. See my separate review on each of these arcades.
For those with a sweet tooth visit Haigh’s chocolate store at the West (Hindley Street) end of the mall on the intersection with King William Street (Beehive Corner). This is the oldest family-owned chocolate manufacturing retailer in Australia and the chocolates are great. Short guided tours of the factory, situated about 5-10mins drive from the shop, are available – see Haigh’s website for details http://www.haighschocolates.com.au/.
You don’t need to be into shopping to come here. Not being fond of shopping I rarely visit the mall to buy anything. It is very popular at weekends when lots of good buskers descend on it. Half way up, every Christmas, you will find a merry-go-round – always popular with kids.
Rundle Mall is famous for its street architecture which began with what is known locally as the Mall’s Balls.
The 4m tall structure, erected in 1977 and officially entitled ‘The Spheres’ by Bert Flugelman, consists of two large stainless steel spheres with a diameter of 2.15 metres, balanced one on top of the other. This is a popular meeting space so if someone tells you to meet them at the Balls in the Mall you will know what they mean.
Other street adornments include:
A bronze sculpture of a group of life-sized pigs, officially known as ‘A Day Out’ by Marguerite Derricourt. The four pigs – Truffles (the standing pig), Horatio (the sitting pig), Oliver (the pig at the bin) and Augusta (the trotting pig) – are depicted in lively poses as if they were walking in the street, greeting shoppers, and sniffing out a bargain – be careful you don’t trip over the bloody things! The pigs arrived in 1999 and I can’t help suspecting that they were inspired by a set of sheep (Ainslie’s sheep) in altogether more compromising positions located in the centre of Canberra and which have been around somewhat longer.
The ‘Girl on a Slide’ sculpture by John Dowie. A much smaller sculpture of exactly as the title suggests. Installed in 1997 as a small discovery piece – the idea being that you come across it by accident. Hmmmm.
About half way along the mall you will come across an ornate fountain.
This beautiful piece of Victorian street architecture, one of a two, was cast by Handyside and Co in the UK in the late 1800s and was originally located in front of the Jubilee Exhibition Building on North Terrace. The artistry is first class so do have a close look.
In 1908 the fountains were given to the Adelaide City Council by the South Australian Government. One, the larger of the two, is now situated in Creswell Gardens adjacent to the Adelaide Oval. This one, the smaller and better known of the two, was moved around various times until it settled in its present location adjacent to the entrance of the Adelaide Arcade on Rundle Mall, in 1976 when the Mall was officially opened. The Victorian arcade should not be missed – have a look at my separate review – The Adelaide Arcade.
The water flows solely from the top of the fountain in a cascade effect to the central bowl and thence to the ground level basin. Interestingly when the then Premier Don Dunstan officially opened Rundle Mall at this fountain it flowed with champagne.
As you pass by have a look but more importantly have a taste. You never know your luck!
I should warn you though that if you are unlucky and its water that’s flowing, Adelaide’s hard water has a reputation for being the least tasty in Australia though I have never had any problems with it.
While I do not have a photo of it, the fountain looks especially good when lit up at night so if you are staying in the local area do pop into the mall for a look after dark.
A tourist office is located on the mall – a handy spot to find out whats on in town and around Adelaide.
Adornments aside the mall is a top place to go for people into people watching.
Address: Rundle Mall