Founded in 1836, Adelaide is the smallest state capital in Australia and one of the prettiest, with tree-lined boulevards, elegant buildings, manicured gardens and a pleasant Mediterranean climate. Thanks to its compact size, lack of congestion and ample public transport Adelaide is often called ‘the 20-minute city’ – locals say you should be able to reach any part of the metropolis within this timeframe. Wedged between the Mount Lofty Ranges and the St Vincent Gulf, Adelaide provides easy access to national parks, vineyards, ocean beaches and historic settlements in the Adelaide Hills. Highlights include the Central Market, Adelaide Oval, Botanic Garden, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Glenelg and the Adelaide Zoo, home to celebrity pandas Wang Wang and Fu Ni.

Who goes there: Princess Cruises, Holland America, Silver Seas, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, The World, Hapag-Lloyd, P&O Cruises.

Cruisers like: With some 80 vineyards within driving distance of Adelaide, wine-tasting is one of a major drawcards. Apart from some of Australia’s most celebrated names, such as Penfolds, Yalumba and Wolf Blass, wine lovers will be able to discover many boutique producers in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa and McLaren Vale. Adelaide itself is a very pleasant city to explore, offering wide streets, neo-classical buildings and fine city squares. Despite its compact size, Adelaide has some impressive museums, art galleries and other cultural spaces, plus a vibrant culinary scene – the West End is now packed with small bars, laneway restaurants, tiny music venues.

Best for: Gourmets and cricket fans. Sporting types who can try their hand at kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, kite surfing and many other outdoor activities.

Getting around: Adelaide is easily accessible by taxi from the cruise ship terminal at Port Adelaide but cruisers should join a guided tour if they want to explore surrounding regions such as McLaren Vale, the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa. A free bus service operates in the city circle.