Why Brisbane is Better Than Adelaide

By Daniel Colasimone
16th Nov 2013

The mullet Mecca of Australia, Adelaide, has just been named in the Lonely Planet's top ten cities in the world to visit. Though the South Australian capital only just scraped into the ten, placing ninth behind the likes of Paris, Riga (?) and Chicago, eyebrows were raised in Sydney and Melbourne at which Australian city was chosen as our flag bearer.

Well, Sydney and Melbourne, you need to get off your high horses. When it comes to the great cities of Australia, you both trail Brisbane by a considerable margin, as evidenced by this think piece, which coincidentally also appeared on The Urban List and was written by me.

The true test of any city's magnificence is, obviously, how it stacks up against Brisbane. And frankly, 'Radelaide' fails the ultimate litmus test as well. Lonely Planet have botched this. Big time.

Don't get me wrong, I love Adelaide. There is something about a community of uncomplicated, amiable townsfolk living within a solemn terrain of nostalgic beauty that gives the city its mysterious allure. Not that I've ever been there, but my mate Robbo went and said that's what it's like.

For some, like author Salman Rushdie, that arcane quality is more creepy than charming. The Booker Prize winner described Adelaide (and this was years before the Snowtown murders came to light) as, 'a perfect setting for a Stephen King novel or horror film, sleepy conservative towns are where those things happen.' 

Salman is entitled to his opinion (except in South Australia, where a fatwa was declared against him in 1989 by Supreme Leader John Bannon), but really, the place is cool.

Just not as cool as Brisbane. 

Let's have a look at the reasons Adelaide was recommended by Lonely Planet above every other Australian city, and mercilessly shoot them down one by one:

Adelaide has a strong foodie culture built around its abundant and high-quality local produce.

Pfff. Have you even looked at The Urban List lately? Brisbane has like a million brilliant restaurants. Not only that, a research trip to my local Woolies revealed a massive amount of food available, some of it fresh. I counted over 380 apples (remember, this is just one store) before I was asked to move along, and there were at least six kinds of other fruits and veggies too. 

Adelaide has put out this fancy ad campaign, featuring a DJ and everything, to show what a cutting-edge funky town it is.

Pfff. Brisbane is way ahead of the game. Check out this advertisement, released for Summer 2013 by Tourism Queensland, that promotes the modern, cosmopolitan, urbane vibe of the River City.

Adelaide is famous for Mad March, a month in which the city celebrates a number of high-profile events, headlined by the Fringe Festival.

Pfff. Valley Fiesta. Containerval Festival. Brisbane Lights Festival (frickin' lasers), Expo '88, St. Patrick's Day. The EKKA, for crying out loud! Life in Brisneyland is basically an unremitting pleasure carnival all year round, like Imperial Rome during its really decadent phase, or a Gatsby party that just rolls on forever. If you asked Brisbanites to pick their clothes off the ground, stop quaffing wine and dancing luridly after just one month, you'd probably get hog tied and sacrificed to Bacchus. 

Adelaide is the gateway to South Australia's celebrated wine region.

Pfff. Anyone who is impressed by the Barossa Valley has obviously never done a tour of the Castlemaine Brewery. 

Adelaide is 'effortlessly chic.' That's a direct quote from the Lonely Planet people.

Pfff. Please. Effortless chic is when you go to Westfield Chermside for a few hours without any shoes, or don't feel the need to put on a shirt to drive to Domino's, or when the same unwashed pair of trackie dacks serves as both your pyjamas and 'casual' pants for the entirety of winter. Brisbane has lack of effort nailed. 

Adelaide has refurbished the Adelaide Oval and developed many of its urban spaces and parklands. This is the factor that swung the vote in the city's favour, according to the LP folk.

Pfff. If you want to talk sporting fortresses, the last time Australia lost a Test Match at the Gabba was 25 years ago and the last time Queensland lost an Origin at Suncorp was back in, like, 1812. Australia loses at Adelaide Oval regularly, and we got spanked by England last time we played them there in 2010. Putting some nicer seats in there won't fix such fundamental flaws. As for these much-vaunted urban developments, have these heard people of a few little places called Eagle Street Pier, Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Southbank, GOMA, the Gasworks and The Powerhouse?! You have to go back to Versailles in her pomp to find anything this pretty.

Adelaide has churches. Lots and lots of churches.

Pfff. How many churches is one Wally Lewis statue worth? Definitely thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands. Brisbane wins again. 

So, there we have it. Apologies to the good people at LP for making them look a bit silly, but the results here are plain to see. Good effort, though, Adelaide. 

If you've actually been to the South Australian capital and have a more worthwhile opinion on how the two cities compare, let us know your thoughts below.

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