5 Tips for Travelling Around Adelaide on a Budget

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Adelaide has so much more to offer than what meets the eye (or initial Google search). As the capital city of South Australia, the opal capital of the world, AND one of the world’s distinguished wine capitals, the city is bustling with exquisite flavours and dishes that will leave you on an endless pursuit of trying all the cuisine and well-pairing wines available.

Not only is it a foodie’s dream, but it also has a riveting history, being the first Australian city to extend rights to women and Indigenous landowners, in addition to banning and criminalizing discrimination on the basis of sex and race.

It also was the only capital city to not be settled by convicts – and still remains a very safe city to this day.  

While the city is relatively small compared to Sydney or Melbourne, it has no shortage of activities or cultural muses to revel in.

But, adventuring and trying all of the things does come with a cost, so we have narrowed down a few tips and tricks that we have learned whilst travelling to and within the city. 

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Travel in March, April, or May! 

Adelaide Experiences: A picturesque pond nestled among lush trees and vibrant bushes.

If you are on a budget, but still want breezy, sunny weather conditions, consider travelling to Adelaide in March, April, or May!

These months are going to bring lower prices than summer months, whilst still giving you the Australian sunshine and low chances of rainfall. 

If you do plan on travelling in these months, be sure to pack for the chillier nights, as high temperatures can fall to 61°F (or 16°C) and low temperatures can reach 54°F (or 12°C).

So, it’s probably best to pack that throw-on sweater and a pair of jeans! 

Book Domestic Flights with Low-Cost Carriers 

A grey plane in the sky with the words Jetstar on it

Flights can be expensive, and flights to a lesser-travelled city are even more so. Before booking your flight, check the costs for the following months in the table below.

Do note that because of the advanced booking, some airlines do not yet have their flight rates posted for the month of May – these should become available in the coming weeks on the respective airline websites. 

Melbourne → Adelaide Flight Costs 



Rex Airlines$124$92N/A 
Virgin Australia$110$156N/A 

Brisbane→ Adelaide Flight Costs  



Rex Airlines$321$275N/A 
Jetstar$204 N/AN/A 
Virgin Australia$250$272N/A 

No matter where you are going in Australia, you can find budget-friendly airport parking options with Flyparks.

Whether you need Adelaide Airport Parking, or parking for Melbourne, Perth, or Brisbane Airport, you can find what you are looking for by using their simple search tool for prices and available car parks for the dates and times you need! 

Plan your Mode of Transportation

Looking through a rail tunnel to the trees beyond

Planning your mode of transportation can save you time and money when done in advance. Even if your plans change at the last minute, knowing your options can be useful.

Public transportation in Adelaide is modernized and efficient, with some modes even complimentary when travelling on particular routes. 


Travelling in Adelaide can be quite convenient and affordable. For starters, trams in Adelaide run every 10-15 minutes within the city and out towards the suburb of Glenelg from 7 am – 12, every day!

It is free to use within the city centre along the route between Entertainment Centre Station and South Terrace Station.

Anything outside of this route will require the use of a MetroCard or paying for a tram ticket – with costs around $4.05 during peak travel times (before 9 am, and after 3 pm, Monday – Friday, and all day Saturday), and $2.25 for off-peak travel times (9:01 am – 3 pm Monday to Friday, and all day Sunday). 


If you plan to go a little further distance that Adelaide trams don’t reach, taking a train is a comfortable and convenient option. Adelaide’s trains run towards the outskirts of the city, such as to Port Adelaide and Semaphore.

All trains run to and from Adelaide station and are done consistently throughout the day, but less frequently at night and on weekends. 

A kangaroo laying on the grass


Another free mode of transportation, Adelaide offers complimentary bus services on their “City Connector’ which primarily operates within the city centre. 

If you plan on taking a bus outside of the city centre, such as to Adelaide Airport, you will need to pre-purchase a metro ticket or card at one of the many vending machines available at Adelaide Railway station, Tea Tree Plaza O-Bahn Interchange or Adelaide Airport Bus Interchange, to name a few.

You may also purchase a paper metro ticket on board all trains and trams, but be aware that paper metro tickets will stop being accepted from 1 July 2023 onwards.

After this date, you can either tap and pay with a Visa or Mastercard as soon as you board the bus, or refill your MetroCard at a ticket vending station both onboard or off.

MetroCards are worth investing in if you plan to stay in the city for a few weeks or months and think you will be using Adelaide’s bus, train, or tram services quite frequently.

You will be charged an initial fee of $5 as a starting balance, and after that, you can add any amount needed as you go. 

Check out these Low-cost / Free Activities

If you are on a budget but don’t want to miss out on all Adelaide has to offer, check out activities that are either free or very low-cost. 

  • Adelaide Botanical Garden – Established in 1855, upon arriving at this garden you step into a world of golden flora that will leave you in awe as you wander through the 50 hectares of gardens abloom. Whilst here you can learn about Adelaide’s history, purchase some of the plants you see, visit the Museum of Economic Botany, and indulge in a delicious lunch at Restaurant Botanic or Cafe Fibonacci. The garden is open from 7:15-7 pm Monday – Wednesday and 7:15-9 pm Thursday to Sunday, as well as all public holidays. Don’t worry about paying as admission is free! 
  • State Library of South Australia – Regarded as a repository of culture, if you are a book lover, or simply can appreciate immersing yourself in a world of exploration in subjects and exhibitions that will heighten your knowledge, the State Library of South Australia is perfect for you. There are always new exhibits, with some of the most recent pertaining to Australian history through the eyes of veterans and war widows, and the colonial and scandalous history of the proposed town Port Gawler. Entry is free into the library and for exhibitions. The library is open Monday – Friday from 9-5 pm, with the exception of Tuesday, with the library closing at 7 pm. All other days the library is open from 12-5 pm. 
The inside of a traditional library
  • Henley Beach – Find yourself wanting to soak up the sun for a few hours or enjoy lunch with a breeze at the beach. Visit Henley! Only a 15-minute tram ride outside of the city, you don’t have to worry about large crowds, as most of them frequent Glenelg. There is a mix of restaurants and cafes to choose from for dinner and drinks as well, try Estia for delicious Greek dishes and excellent service. 
Stairs leading down to a beach
  • Adelaide Central Market – A foodie’s paradise – Adelaide Central Market has a plethora of fruits, meat, seafood, wines, and pastries to try, all within a few feet from one another. There are various eateries intermixed amongst the food stalls, offering visitors a chance to try a range of multicultural foods. If you want a more guided experience into the central market, consider booking an Adelaide Central Market Discovery Tour, where you will sample the very best foods, teas, and coffees in the market, as well as gain knowledge into the lifestyles of Australian farmers as you mingle amongst them at their personal vendor stalls. Tours start at $60.07 per person and last approximately 1 ½ hours. 
Adelaide Central Market, an indoor market with people sitting at tables.
  • Morialta Conservation Park / Mount Lofty – If you want to get outside of the city centre for a bit and see some of South Australia’s natural wildlife and views, consider going to Morialta Conservation Park or Mount Lofty. Morialta Conservation Park is located 10 km outside of the city centre and hosts an abundance of Australian wildlife (especially Koalas) as well as different hikes with various levels of intensity to choose from.
    The conservation park is a bit more highly rated than Mount Lofty, as traversing Mount Lofty is not for the faint of heart. With many areas offering hikers steep inclines, if you decide to partake in the hike, you will come across Waterfall Gully, which is great to stop at for a breather as you continue your way up the mountain. You will likely see a plethora of wildlife along your way, and when you get to the top there is a cafe to stop at with a lookout to rest or take an hour for lunch! 
Things to do in Port Lincoln include a koala sitting in a tree eating leaves.

Plan your Accommodation

Adelaide has a range of accommodation options – whether that be hotels, Airbnb’s or hostels. Whatever your budget may be, there is an option to suit it that we have included below.

For reference, Adelaide hotels cost an average of $130 for a night, while staying in full-size vacation homes will cost $300-500 for a night. 

A view of the Adelaide skyline


A few highly-rated hotels are recommended below; they range in their prices and ratings, but overall are great options to consider if you don’t mind spending a little extra on your accommodation, or simply want the luxury for a night or two!

All prices below are in AUD. 

  • Eos by SkyCity, $373.18 per night, 9.3/10
  • The Playford Adelaide – $292.05 per night, 8.7/10 
  • Oval Hotel – $283.94 per night, 9.0/10
  • The Franklin Hotel – $165.50 per night, 8.8/10
  • Lakes Hotel – $163.88 per night, 8.6/10


Airbnb’s or apartments are great for the traveller who wants the luxury of private sleeping, with a cost cheaper than what you would spend for a hotel, but more than a hostel.

Many Airbnb’s in Adelaide only offer rooms available, instead of entire houses or apartments, but that makes the cost that much cheaper! Below are a few highly-rated, reputable Airbnb’s to book with via the official website of Airbnb: 

  • A Room Hosted by Jan: $136.89 per night, 4.98/5
  • Room in Camden Park with Peter and Arron: $100.62 per night, 4.99/5
  • Room in Brompton with Joel: $84.37per night, 4.89/9
  • Room in Rostrevor with Sam: $60.03 per night, 4.78/5
  • Room in Everard Park with Stephanie: $87.62 per night, 4.49/5


If you want to really budget, and meet like-minded travellers, staying in a hostel is a great accommodation choice!

You will likely be sleeping amongst 6 or 10 other travellers but can opt for a private room for a higher cost if you don’t fancy shared living spaces.

Some hostels even include free breakfasts and are conveniently located in the city centre, or by the airport, so you don’t have to travel far to get where you need to!

All the hostels listed below can be found on HostelWorld or through a simple Google search. 

  • Tequila Sunrise Hostel Adelaide – $79.50 for one night, 4.⅘
  • YHA Adelaide Central – $94.11 – 4.⅖
  • Adelaide Travellers Inn Backpackers Hostel – $62.38 for one night, 3.⅖ 
  • Nomads Adelaide Backpackers – $105.46 for one night, 3.8/5 
  • Sunny’s Backpackers Hostels Ltd – $51.92 for one night, 4.0/5 

Whatever your plans may be when travelling to Adelaide, it is best to know what to expect in terms of expenses, weather conditions, and modes of transportation available.

We hope this guide has helped you in some way, and that you enjoy all the beautiful, historic city of Adelaide has to offer! 

More posts to help you plan the perfect Adelaide holiday
Hotels in Adelaide
Adelaide 3 Day Itinerary
100 Adelaide Experiences
Best Adelaide Day Tours

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Josie sitting cross-legged in a garden
About the author

Josie Kelsh is South Australian, born and bred, living here for her whole life. Travelling all over the world has shown her exactly how amazing South Australia is to live and travel in and she uses her passion to show it to you the way a local sees it.