South Australia was the first state to legalize gay sex and remains one of the most tolerant of lesbian and gay lifestyles, although Adelaide’s gay scene remains more modest than Sydney’s or Melbourne’s. The beach suburb of Semaphore is also a hub of activity for the gay and lesbian community. To find out where the action is, pick up a copy of Blaze.
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Apart from the city’s more mainstream annual festivals, there are a few strictly gay and lesbian fiestas.
Feast feast.org.au. The biggest and best gay and lesbian festival is Feast, which runs for two weeks in November. Events include theatre, music, visual art, literature, dance cabaret and historical walks, plus a Gay and Lesbian Film Festival at the Mercury Cinema. The festival culminates in Picnic in the Park, an outdoor celebration in the parklands that surround central Adelaide that includes a very camp dog-show.
Useful organizations and publications
Blaze gaynewsnetwork.com.au. Fortnightly gay and lesbian newspaper with news, features and listings. Free from venues and bookshops. Blaze also publishes the handy free Lesbian & Gay Adelaide Map.
Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia galta.com.au. Provides listings for tourism operators in Australia where gay and lesbian travellers are specifically welcomed.
SameSame.com.au Australia’s leading gay and lesbian community and lifestyle website with up-to-date forums and notice boards.
Gay and lesbian bars
Mars Bar themarsbar.com.au. This Adelaide institution has been around for years and hosts drag acts for a big, friendly mixed crowd. The musical focus is on pop and dance tunes, and the inexpensive drinks ensure a raucous atmosphere.
The Hampshire Hotel The Hampy, as the locals know it, is a laid-back gay-friendly pub with two bar areas, a beer garden and big tasty, good value meals.