An Essential Adelaide Travel Guide

Adelaide might be one of the most underrated cities in Australia. In fact, coming from Melbourne there’s often a lot of shade thrown on Adelaide, that there’s not much going on there and nothing to do.

But Adelaide has a personality all of it’s own. One that is a little bit more laid back, calmer than the bigger cities around the countries, like a big quiet country town running by it’s own rules.

glenelg beach

Where is Adelaide?

As the capital city of South Australia, Adelaide sits in the southern part of the state, along St Vincent Gulf.

Adelaide follows the Australian Central Daylight Time UTC +9:30, with daylight savings time (UTC +10:30) in effect from around October to April. Adelaide is half an hour behind Melbourne and Sydney.

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Getting to Adelaide

The main airport in Adelaide is Adelaide Airport (ADL), which is both a domestic and international airport for South Australia. You can fly into Adelaide from capital cities around the country daily, with regular international flights scheduled as well. The airport is only a 15 minute drive from the city centre.

To get from the airport to the city there are a few different options. The Adelaide Metro Bus service offers an express doubledecker bus called JetExpress between the airport and the city, or a service called JetBus to Glenelg, West Beach and the city, stopping at all stops along the way.

For either bus option you only need a Metro ticket, with single trip and day trip tickets available to be purchased from the bus driver. A single trip ticket costs $5.60 per person, or a day trip ticket costs just $10.60 per person and can be used all day and night, until 4am the day after it was validated.

Alternatively, you can catch a taxi or an Uber right from the airport, for as little as $20 into the city.

rent a scooter in adelaide

Getting around Adelaide

Adelaide is a relatively small city and it’s pretty easy to get around. There are buses, trains and trams in the city of Adelaide, connecting together to get you anywhere you need to go. They all run on the Metro service, so one ticket will allow you to use any form of transport.

A great option for using the Metro is to purchase a Metro Visitor Pass which will give you three days of unlimited travel on any transport around the city for just $25 AUD. This gives you a little bit of a discount on purchasing three day passes, and means you don’t have to pay for the initial Metro card charge.

Once the three days are up you can reload it in the same way as a regular Metro card, if you’re staying in the city for a little longer.

But without a doubt the most fun way to get around the city is to rent an electric scooter and scoot yourself around the street. You’re sure to see these scooters all over the city, and you can just pick one up from wherever it is, download the app and get going in just a few minutes.

We rented the Beam scooters while we were there and had a great time! Beam also offers $5 credit for you AND a friend when they use your referral code – which means we both got $5 off our first ride. For about 20 minutes or so we both paid less than $2 for our trip! Make sure you check the app to find out the restricted zones that might be near you though, the scooters are SO ANNOYING if they are taken outside their zone.

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Adelaide laneways

Best time to visit Adelaide

For the best weather in Adelaide, visit during the summer months from December to March. During this time the city comes to life with street parties in the beach towns, festivals all around the state, and sunny weather to give you the best South Australian experience.

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Where to stay in Adelaide

When you’re visiting Adelaide where to stay will really depend on what kind of trip you want to have.

If you’re looking for a city stay, book yourself into accommodation within walking distance of Rundle Mall, to give yourself easy access to shopping, restaurants and bars, without need to worry about getting a ride home.

If you’re after more of a beach stay, Glenelg is definitely the place to be, with one of the best beaches in close proximity to the city of Adelaide. They have a great street leading up to the beach, full of shopping, cute cafes and great places to eat and drink during your stay.

Find the best deals for hotels in Adelaide

the moseley glenelg

Can’t miss in Adelaide

+ Check out the Adelaide Central Markets for heaps of fresh local produce – including meat, seafood, organic fruits and vegetables, cheese, flowers, and all kinds of foodie delicacies. Right next door you can also check out Chinatown for some great Asian foods.

+ Rent an electronic scooter and ride your way around the city on wheels. It’s a great way to explore and so much fun to ride around on! If you’re using a BEAM scooter use our referral code nT4Dpbv (it’s case-sensitive) for $5 credit.

+ Take a walk down the pedestrian mall Rundle Mall, and make sure you check out the Adelaide Arcade, it’s so pretty.

+ Visit between the middle of February and middle of March each year for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. A month long arts festival (the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere these days), full of comedy, art, drama, music, theatre, cinema and more. This year the Fringe festival is on from the 14th of February until the 15th of March.

+ Road trip out to one of South Australia’s world renowned wine regions, with the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale both within an hour drive of the city.

+ Head to Glenelg to check out one of Adelaide’s favourite beaches, and enjoy a cocktail on the sand at The Mosely Beach Club.

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adelaide central market

Good to know for your visit to Adelaide

If you’re coming from a big city, make sure you’re aware that Adelaide is not one. Things seem to run on country time in Adelaide. The whole city is closed by about 5pm each day. Nothing is open on Sundays, Saturday afternoons or public holidays. You can often drive down the middle of the city in the middle of the day and be the only car on the road.

If there’s anywhere you’re coming to visit in particular double check their opening/trading hours, to make sure you don’t miss them during your visit. If you’re only coming for a short stay, and that stay happens to be on the weekend, you might find that most of the city is closed during your visit.

Check out more of our adventures around South Australia

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Emma is a travel writer, photographer and blogger, currently living on the road full time and chasing the sun around Australia. Travelling in her recently renovated vintage Viscount caravan, along with her husband Thom, she's sharing the very best experiences from around her beloved sunburnt country.

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We're travelling around Australia in our vintage Viscount caravan, exploring all the best destinations and experiences our beautiful country has to offer.

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