DriveLife headed across the ditch in January to the South Australian city of Adelaide. Heading to Adelaide in October for a wedding is a great idea; not too hot, not too cold. Just right, you could say. Well, that was the original plan but changes in a friend’s wedding dates meant that we’d be heading there in mid-January instead, with expected temperatures of 35 degrees. Oh, joy (sarcasm).

MG organised an HS +EV for us to use while in Adelaide. Having a plug-in hybrid is going to save us some gas, as long as we can plug it in somewhere at our Air BNB. That will be the tricky part. Regardless, if needed we can simply drive the HS +EV around the city and let the car’s petrol engine charge the battery as needed.


After a 4am start from Wellington, we landed in Adelaide and Uber to the pickup point for the MG at midday on a Wednesday. Still bleary-eyed, I was thankful for the large boot in the car that easily took our suitcases and other bags. We may only be away for 5 days, but my wife has taken the biggest possible suitcase she could find, for some reason. 

The car is showing 61km of range in EV mode, and 480km range of fuel. We’ll be doing a reasonable number of miles in the car, so it will be interesting to see how close we get to that 480km.

We headed out on the road to find somewhere for lunch and ended up at Salisbury Shopping Centre. I think the first sign we were no longer in New Zealand was when I ordered a single-shot Americano at a cafe, and got blank looks. “I’ve never heard of that before” was the response. Switching to a Long Black fixed that issue, and then I ordered a Trim Flat White for my wife, to be met with more blank looks. Some explanation got us to the point of asking for a Skim Flat White. Problem solved and noted for future use.

Time to grab some food for our stay from the Woolworths in the same shopping centre, and we are shocked at just how much cheaper ALL the food is. Fruit is half the price of what we pay at home. Everything is cheaper, so we end up buying too much, just because it is.

Post food shopping, we attempted to find the Air BNB on our own and ended up on some freeway heading in totally the wrong direction. Time to use the HS +EV’s built-in SatNav to get us going the right way. Back on the freeway and now heading in the right direction, I felt like this model was a good choice for us; great visibility out, and the ivory-coloured headlining and pillars along with that massive panoramic sunroof means the interior is welcoming and light inside. It’s already feeling like a very pleasant place to spend the next 5 days.

Making it to the suburb of Bharma Lodge, we found our Air BNB and unloaded the car. Digging through the cupboard revealed an extension lead, so I plugged the MG in and let it charge. Who said it was hard to charge a hybrid?

ADELAIDE TRAVEL BLOG: DAY TWO – Rundle Mall, Blanche Point, Port Wilunga, Maslin Beach

It would be my wife’s choice of touristy this morning, so we’re off to Rundle Mall for a look around. When I say, “mall’, well, it’s a mail on another level. An entire street, closed off to traffic, with what I can only guess as hundreds of shops on the street or inside of malls on the street. Each mall seems to be interlinked and multi-level. I have to say most of the people I saw walking about were female, so that’s giving you an idea of what shops are there. It’s an experience to just walk around Rundle Mall, and likely get lost in the process. It’s huge, but don’t expect to find a Supercheap or Repco anywhere near.

We did find the Dymocks that my wife especially wanted to go to, and according to Dymocks’ TikTok account, their store in Rundle Mall is the biggest in South Australia. I’m really thankful we have a 23kg weight limit on our suitcases, otherwise, my wife would go book-buying crazy.

Rundle Mall

Post lunch, we hit the road south to go for a drive to Port Willunga and its beach. Driving through Adelaide city, I’m stunned by the amount of red-light cameras. They seem to be at almost every intersection. Not that I’d ever run a red light but it’s nice that the MG HS +EV gives you a warning every time you approach an intersection with a red light camera. I know Wellington has a total of 1 red-light camera, but we need so many more. It’s the wild west in New Zealand with the number of drivers who consider it their right to run the red.

Even though I charged the MG up last night – it shows about 61km of EV-only range – I switch the car off EV mode and into Automatic mode. There’s no way 61km is going to be enough range for us, so decide to let the car choose when it needs to start the petrol engine up.

Using the car’s GPS, we head out of the city and at last see the ocean. It’s only been days but I’m already feeling withdrawal symptoms. We pull off before Port Willunga at Blanche Point for a few photos. I’m carefully stepping around in the grass and near bushes, keeping my eyes open for snakes. They are not my friend and I happily report I saw none.

View from Blanche Point, looking down to Port Willunga

The views from Blanche Point are stunning, and although the beach must be 100 metres below our viewing point, the water looks amazing. It’s so clear, it’s almost tropical. We continued on down the road for five minutes to Port Wilunga and headed around the ‘beachfront’. There are rows of extremely expensive houses facing out to the ocean, for some reason reminding me of Orewa, north of Auckland. It’s got that retired-in-luxury feel to it. Like Blanche Point, this part of Port Wilunga is very high up from the ocean. We see some people walking towards the steps down to the beach, hardy souls. The walk back up the hill would do me in.

A small selection of the rather nice homes at Port Willunga

We grabbed an ice cream and coffee in Port Wilunga and hit the road back to the city. Taking a wrong turn, we ended up at Maslin Beach, which just happens to be the first beach in Australia to be ‘unclad’. I kid you not, that’s what the sign says. We didn’t get out of the car though and instead got back on the road. What has been seen cannot be unseen; I’m not keen to burn my retinas with overweight elderly men walking about, tackle hanging out.

Naturally, heading back into Adelaide the timing was just perfect for rush hour. Two things came of this; having adaptive cruise control in rush hour is utterly fantastic, and the MG’s is excellent. It brings the car to a stop, you get a little ‘bing’ if the car in front moves off and you haven’t noticed, and lastly a tap of the gas pedal will see the car move off and back into adaptive cruise control mode. It’s so much safer and basically stops rear-end collisions. 

The second thing is the traffic. It was horrendous. We spent almost an hour on a single 20km stretch of road that was littered with traffic lights. The GPS time to destination simply kept going up, while the time remaining stayed the same. At this time of the day, we just wanted to get back to our BNB, so we’ll avoid that road from now on.

One of the big revelations for me today is the driving standard in Adelaide. It’s a world away from anything in New Zealand. Adelaide drivers are not rushing up to intersections and then just running through red lights and stop signs. They aren’t aggressive or as crazy as New Zealand drivers. It’s an absolute joy to be driving around without the stress levels of any place in New Zealand. As a country, we need to get to this level. Just focusing on speeding drivers is not working, and Adelaide is an example of how people should drive. I bet Australians will say that I’m wrong and their drivers are terrible, but then need to experience driving in New Zealand to compare. 

ADELAIDE TRAVEL BLOG: DAY THREE – Hahndorf and Beerenberg Family Farm

I charged the MG up overnight, so we had 63km of EV range, and although we had already driven 200km in the car, our petrol range was still 420km. 

After visiting some friends in Evanston, 30 minutes north of Adelaide, we’d be doing a roadie down to Hahndorf, an early German settlement that is now a thriving theme town. I’m happy to report that we were finally off expressways and other boring roads as we headed inland and then down towards Hahndorf.

A common style of road for today’s travels

The roads on this day’s drive are much more of we had expected to see; plenty of gum trees, not much traffic and an easy drive.

Well, that was until we ran into Santos Tour Down Under, an international bike race on the roads and apparently “Australia’s greatest cycling race”. Our first hold-up was when a traffic cop coned the road off, and we sat there for twenty minutes. Most cars did a U-turn, as did we eventually. We didn’t know what was happening at the time, but it seemed like a good idea to head back and cut over towards Lobethal from a different direction. With SatNav leading the way, we turned down a dusty, metal road (sorry, MG). Narrow as hell, we eventually came to a T intersection, and another cop with his hand up. We were told to wait “around ten minutes” for all the bikes to go past, and then once the tail car had gone past, we could go on.

Santos Tour Down Under in action

We could see helicopters approaching slowly, so knew they were on their way. While waiting, countless numbers of cops on motorbikes went past, I think more than the total number of motorbike cops we have in New Zealand. It felt like they were all making the most of the closed road and hooning it a little, and who can blame them.

The main front group of bikes past us ten minutes later, and the wind from the (pedal) bikes was incredible, almost spooky. They were all going for it and using up all the road. Still, we waited some more as more groups came with their support vehicles in hot pursuit, and yet more helicopters. 

At long last, the tail car came past and we were off, heading again to Hahndorf. In Lobethal, we spotted this ominous sign, one that gave me goosebumps.

We’ve seen far too many of these signs, a little scary

I think the best way to describe Hahndorf is a german version of Arrowtown. They’ve grabbed hold of a theme, and everyone is milking it. The main street is littered with loads of cafes and restaurants, most of them serving some sort of german food. The atmosphere is great and there’s a good vibe here. I think if they shut the street off to traffic, to make would be an even better experience. 


After grabbing some lunch at Bikkie & Bean Cafe, we take a wander through the shops, and into the museum. It was incredible to read about the early german settlers in the town in the mid-1800s, especially the german women who had to walk to Adelaide carrying their produce to sell and then walk back. They’d start walking the night before, walk through the night trying to avoid any bandits, and then get to the city to sell everything they could – and then walk back. My legs got sore just walking about the township. If you’re in Adelaide and have a vehicle, put Hahndorf on your list of must-see places, as it’s well worth it.

Just out of the township, 1km up the road is Berrenberg Family Farm where you can pick your own strawberries. The farm has been operating since 1975 and judging by the number of people in the strawberry fields or in the cafe, it’s a pretty popular tourist attraction. After paying $5 each, we head out to the patch and sample a few and pick a kilo’s worth for $11.95. The strawberries at this farm are huge and delicious. 

Time to ‘pick’ some strawberries

Now the end of the day, we headed back to Adelaide, letting GPS guide us along through the rush-hour traffic. Remind me again, what did we do before GPS?

The results of our labour. Not all made it back to the BNB

ADELAIDE TRAVEL BLOG: DAY FIVE: Adelaide Gaol and National Motor Museum

Another hot day today, it should hit 30 degrees. Still, that’s better than the 35 it hit the day before we landed.

Our first stop today is the old Adelaide Gaol. Built in 1840, lots of it is still original and it has been preserved well with lots of information as you move about all the different buildings. We moved quickly between the buildings as the heat seemed to try and cook us when outside in the sun. 

Want to climb the wall? Go for it, but watch the carefully placed glass

There is a lot to look at here, and we joined in on a free guided tour to make sure we got the most of our entry fee. I noticed that the tops of the walls seem to have bricks on top – perhaps to aid in a prisoner escaping? But no, they don’t. In a brilliant move of simplicity, the bricks just sit there so if a prisoner does try to get over the wall, the guards should hear the bricks falling. Such a great idea in the days before CCTV.

A cheap and simple escape deterrent – loose bricks!

We hear sad stories about the hangings in the prison – there’s a gallows tower, a portable gallows and a permanent gallows in the ‘new’ prison. I had to chuckle at this, as it was called the ‘new’ prison building because it was built in 1870, and not 1840 like the rest of the complex. I guess after 30 years it would have been new. Out of the 66 people known to be hanged in South Australia, 45 of those were hanged at this prison.

The gallows tower at the end, with the hanged people’s graves on the right-hand side of the footpath

Adelaide Gaol had a mixed prison population, although they never intermingled. Sad stories covered the wall, like the woman who tried to commit suicide but failed, so they imprisoned her for a year. One woman made a false declaration on a document, that gained her 3 months in Adelaide prison. 

Inside of the ‘new’ prison block – built in 1870

Nearly every person described with a story has a photo of them to help you connect. It’s sobering stuff. You can walk past the grave sites of the prisoners who were hanged at the site, and this is between two prison walls. If a prisoner managed to somehow get over the first wall – no easy feat – they’d still have to find a way to scale the second, higher wall, again with loose bricks on top.

Totally worth a visit

If you are heading to Adelaide and have a good couple of hours to spare, I highly recommend the Adelaide Gaol. 

After the Gaol visit, we were planning to do a round trip today east to go to Mannum, on the Murray River, south to Murray Bridge, and then back to our BNB. But at the wedding yesterday, someone mentioned the National Motor Museum in Birdwood. Since my wife got to go to the biggest bookstore in South Australia the other day, I applied to be able to go to the National Motor Museum and won my case. She’d sit in the car with a book while I went through the museum, so really it’s a win-win.

We didn’t arrive at the museum until mid-afternoon, so after paying the $21.50 entry fee, I’d only get a couple of hours to look around before they shut for the day. The museum is impressively done and while I was there they had a current focus on ‘Holden Heroes’, with many exhibits relating to Holden and its decades in Australia. 

Life-size Camry made of Lego in the foyer

One of the highlights of the museum was the display of Holden concept cars, some of which I had never even heard of. It was such a shame some of them made it to production, as they are stunning in design. Alongside the concept cars, are each of the ‘million’ cars. This means that on display is Holden’s one-millionth car (EJ Premier), 2-millionth car (HK Brougham), etc, right up to the 7-millionth car (VE Commodore).

The last Holden Commodore off the Elizabeth production line

Upstairs was a huge selection of British and Euro cars, along with a hundred or so motorbikes. There are some oddities as well, like the car that looks like a telephone. With over 400 vehicles on display, it takes a while to get to see it all.

I wish I had more time to look at the museum and was definitely missing my Wellington car buddy to go through it with. Car museums are much more fun with two people. Only a 45-minute drive from Adelaide city, the National Motor Museum is a must-see for any car buffs, Holden or not.


Was the HS +EV our ideal travelling companion? It was, and much more than I thought it would be. For two people, it’s just the right size to punt around Adelaide city and yet when we had four people on board (which was more often than I had expected), there was plenty of room for all and road and engine noise is suppressed enough that conversation is easy. Performance is very good, and I didn’t have the engine noise or issues with the car ‘doing its thing’ with regard to optimising hybrid mode, as Alistair did in his review of the car. Mind you, Adelaide is a lot flatter than Wellington and this would contribute to higher engine noise up hills, and correspondingly higher fuel consumption.

Using the car as a plug-in hybrid was too easy; we plugged it in each night at our BNB, and that was it. Driving the car was simple, too. Yes, I did push the EV button sometimes to force the car into EV-only mode, but you don’t have to do that; if you want to just drive the car, then drive it and let the electronics work out the best way for the engine and battery to work together.

We covered 450km in total, and our fuel consumption was 4.5L/00km. We did a reasonable amount of open-road driving, where we weren’t using the battery as often as we could. City driving or lots of driving close to your home is where a plug-in hybrid shines, as you can make the most of the 63km EV-only range. Energy consumption for our 5 days was an excellent 9.8kWh/100km. While our total range with a full tank of gas on pickup was 480km, after driving 450km we still had 200km of range left. It’s difficult to deny that’s an impressive result.

Faults with the car? The blind spot monitoring is a tiny light on the inside body of the exterior mirror. It’s really small and doesn’t catch your eye and on Adelaide’s busy expressways, they weren’t that much use. The infotainment is a bit slow and had its moments, sometimes locking up on the SatNav screen and nothing we could do would get it to switch to another screen, without turning the car off and on again. The MG HS +EV only does AC charging, so you can’t plug it into a fast charger to top the battery up during the day. Most plug-in hybrids are like this, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Other than those few things, the MG HS +EV was a great car for what we wanted. Perfect size, so easy to drive, and fuel efficient. All the things you need in a holiday car.

Read DriveLife’s full review of the 2022 MG HS EV+ here.

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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