What You Need To Know about Adelaide

Adelaide is the capital city of the state of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. The demonym “Adelaidean” is used in reference to the city and its residents. Adelaide is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges which surround the city. Adelaide stretches 20 km (12 mi) from the coast to the foothills, and 94 to 104 km (58 to 65 mi) from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south.

Its ring of parkland on the River Torrens is home to renowned museums such as the Art Gallery of South Australia, displaying expansive collections including noted Indigenous art, and the South Australian Museum, devoted to natural history. The city’s Adelaide Festival is an annual international arts gathering with spin-offs including fringe and film events.

Population: 1.251 million (2012)
Area: 705 mi²


Australia’s national currency is the Australian dollar which comes in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Coins come in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and one and two dollar denominations.


Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with warm to hot dry summers and mild short winters, with most precipitation falling in the winter months. Adelaide receives enough annual precipitation to avoid Köppen’s BSh (semi-arid climate) classification. Rainfall is unreliable, light and infrequent throughout summer. In contrast, the winter has fairly reliable rainfall with June being the wettest month of the year, averaging around 80 mm. Frosts are occasional, with the most notable occurrences in July 1908 and July 1982. Hail is also common in winter. Adelaide is a windy city—it experiences wind chill in winter, which makes the temperature seem colder than it actually is. Snowfall in the metropolitan area is extremely uncommon, except for very light and sporadic falls in the hills and at Mount Lofty—with the most recent occurrence being on 11 July 2015. Dewpoints in the summer typically range from 8 °C (46 °F) to 10 °C (50 °F).


Australia has no official language, but is largely monolingual with English being the de facto national language. Australian English has a distinctive accent and vocabulary. According to the 2011 census, 76.8% of people spoke only English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 1.6%, Italian 1.4%, Arabic 1.3%, Cantonese 1.2% and Greek 1.2%.


As with any city, people should exercise personal safety, particularly at night. The city park lands are poorly lit and are best avoided after dark due to the presence of intoxicated people. Robberies have known to occur in these areas. If you need to cross the park lands to reach the suburbs, stay near the road. Catching a taxi or public transport is recommended at night.

When catching a train at a suburban station, it is best to arrive at the station within 1-2 min of the scheduled arrival time. Trains in Adelaide are generally reliable and arrive and depart on schedule. There are security guards on all trains after 7PM and many rail services have bus connections available. Exercise personal safety in and around train stations. Remember to lock your car and avoid leaving valuables in view in unattended vehicles.

Pickpockets are rare and there are no “hotspots”, but opportunistic theft does happen. Do not leave valuables unattended. When swimming at the beach leave one person on shore to look after your things. Avoid walking at night in outer suburbs known for having higher crime rates.


South Australia’s largest employment sector is health care and social assistance, surpassing manufacturing in SA as the largest employer since 2006–07. In 2009–10, manufacturing in SA had average annual employment of 83,700 persons compared with 103,300 for health care and social assistance. Health care and social assistance represented nearly 13% of the state average annual employment.

The retail trade is the second largest employer in SA (2009–10), with 91,900 jobs, and 12 per cent of the state workforce. Manufacturing, defence technology, high tech electronic systems and research, commodity export and corresponding service industries all play a role in the SA economy. Almost half of all cars produced in Australia are made in Adelaide at the General Motors Holden plant in Elizabeth.

Getting Around

Metropolitan train, tram and bus services are contracted out by the State Government under the unified brand name Adelaide Metro and use a unified ticketing system, “Metroticket”. A key point for ticketing in Adelaide is that the vast majority of tickets and fares allow the passenger to move freely around the transport network for at least 2 hours. No validations are permitted after 2 hours but the passenger is allowed to remain on the current vehicle if their ticket has already been validated before the 2 hour limit. Single Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines on board trains (coins only), trams (coins or card), or from conductors on the tram or bus drivers.

The Adelaide Metro bus system is quite comprehensive, and extends out to the Adelaide Hills in the east, down to Maclaren Vale in the south and as far as Gawler in the north. It does not cover the Barossa Valley.

The Adelaide Metro bus system is quite comprehensive, and extends out to the Adelaide Hills in the east, down to Maclaren Vale in the south (although buses there are infrequent) and as far as Gawler in the north. It does not cover the Barossa Valley.

A tram service runs from the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Hindmarsh, an inner north-western suburb, to the Adelaide CBD, travelling along North Terrace and King William Street, through the city and then onward to the south west terminating at the popular seaside suburb of Glenelg. You can park in the Entertainment Centre carpark and take the tram into the city, which is more convenient than finding parking within the city itself. Stops within the city centre include Adelaide Railway Station, Rundle Mall and Victoria Square. Tram travel from South Terrace, through the CBD to the Northern Terminus of the line is free, as is travel confined to Jetty Road in Glenelg. Otherwise the standard ticket system applies and the whole trip takes about 30 min. Tickets may be bought in advance or purchased from a ticket machine on the tram (card or coins). There are helpful conductors on board.

The Adelaide Metro train system has four main lines. Taxis are provided by several companies and can be hailed on the street or arranged by phone. There is a common rate of flagfall and a per-distance/time charge, both of which are increased at night and on weekends.