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Getting around Adelaide

According to road fatality statistics, motor vehicle, pedestrian and cycling accidents are the leading cause of death in Australia for international visitors.

Road safety should always be a priority, however you are getting around Adelaide.

  • Pedestrians

    Adelaide is sometimes called a ‘20 minute city’: you can walk almost anywhere in the CBD in less than 20 minutes. Walking is great exercise—plus, it’s free. But walking can also be dangerous. Some important points for pedestrians to remember:

    • Look towards oncoming traffic.
    • Walk with care.
    • Never assume a driver has seen you.
    • Always walk on the footpath (sidewalk). If there is no footpath and you have to walk on the road, always walk facing traffic, so you can see any approaching cars.
    • Look for turning vehicles. Turning motorists should give way to pedestrians but don’t just assume they will.
    • Avoid crossing between parked cars. If a car is parked where you are crossing, make sure there is no driver in the car. Walk behind the car, then go to the edge of the car and look right-left-right until no cars are coming. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing, and remember: walk, don’t run.
    • Always walk behind the bus and check for oncoming traffic before crossing, or wait for the bus to drive away before crossing the road.
    • Use pedestrian crossings and other road safety facilities such as refuges, traffic calming humps and walkthroughs.
    • Take extra care if you have to cross the road on or near a hill or curve.
    • Never assume a driver will stop.
    • If there is a pedestrian crossing or lights nearby, use it. Under road rules it is an offence to cross a road within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing or against a red light, and doing so may result in being fined by Police.
    • Avoid crossing where drivers may not be able to see you.
    • Wait for a suitable gap in the traffic flow before crossing the road. If there is no refuge on a multi-lane road wait until it is clear on both sides of the road before crossing.
    • Dress for visibility—wear light coloured clothes and at night wear special reflective material on your shoes, cap or jacket to reflect the headlights of cars.
    • If you often walk at night it is worthwhile investing in Velcro reflective strips (available from bike stores).
  • Cyclists

    Adelaide is a great city for cyclists. You can cycle from the coast to the hills along Linear Park and the River Torrens, passing straight through the centre of Adelaide without ever going onto a road.

    ‘Bikedirect’ is a network of bicycle routes that has been developed to encourage cycling by providing a variety of options for cyclists with different needs and abilities. The network identifies main roads, bicycle lanes, local streets and off-road paths within the Adelaide metropolitan area. You can buy maps from

    Choose Cycling

    Commuting to university by bicycle (bike) only requires a bicycle, helmet and a good bike lock (a U-lock). There are numerous reasons to cycle to university, including:

    • it's good exercise
    • it saves money (petrol/car depreciation, cost of public transport)
    • it's faster than walking
    • bikes don’t pollute the environment

    Some Useful Links

    • Get tips on bike safety and University of Adelaide cycling events and services through Ecoversity
    • Download cycling maps from Bike Direct
    • Plan your cycling journey with Journey Planner
    • Learn about local cycling events and bike maintenance courses at Bike SA
  • Buying a Bike

    In Adelaide, bike stores sell specialist cycling equipment that can be expensive. Bike stores normally have mid-year (June) and end of year (December) sales - you can save a lot during these sales.

    Cheap bikes

    Basic cheap bikes may be available from large retailers such as Rebel Sport in the Myer Centre, Target, Kmart or Big W. Reids is a small, local bike store with a range of bikes. They often also have discounted bikes for sale.

    • The ‘Classifieds’ and ‘For Sale’ sections of the local paper
    • The ‘Adelaide Shopper’ section in Friday’s edition of The Advertiser.
    • The Trading Post newspaper in which people advertise second hand items for sale.
    • Second-hand and charity stores such as the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul. Or check the student notice boards around the University.
    • Ebay
    • Gumtree
    • Cash Converters
    • Bike Exchange

    Bicycle SA

    Bicycle SA is the peak recreational and educational cycling organisation in South Australia. Events include a daily rides program, bicycle education in schools, and a range of on road and off road cycling opportunities. They also run an online trading section on bikes and bike parts.

    • Driving a Car

      If you want to drive in Australia, you must hold a current and valid licence. You can use your overseas driver’s licence in Adelaide on the following conditions:

      • you must carry your licence with you when you are driving
      • the licence must be current
      • if the licence expires, you have to obtain a South Australian driver’s licence to drive legally
      • if the licence is not in English, you will need to get an official English translation of it
      • you must carry the licence and the translation with you when you are driving
      • you will need to produce both documents to police on request
      • you may also need to produce your temporary visa as evidence of your residential status.

      More information can be found at Government of South Australia web, and more specifically on the page for ‘international motorists’.

      If you do not have a driver’s licence and want to apply for a South Australian licence:

      • you will have to sit a written test on SA road rules
      • when you pass the test, you can purchase a Learner’s Permit. Depending on your age, you may be required to hold the Learner’s Permit for a period of six to twelve months before you are eligible to apply for a Provisional Licence. For comprehensive information on South Australian licences visit

      Buying a car

      You will need to:

      • transfer the registration into your name at Transport SA—you must do this within 14 days
      • pay for ‘Third Party Person’ insurance—it is compulsory in South Australia and is included in the registration fee. You can buy this at Transport SA. It covers you for bodily injury in the case of an accident but does not cover vehicle damage or damage to property.
      • We strongly recommend students to obtain insurance cover to the minimum level of Third Party Property Fire and Theft (see Car Accidents under the Insurance section below).

      There are three ways to buy a car:

      • privately, from the current owner
      • from a car dealer
      • at an auction.

      Buying privately or through an auction may provide you with greater bargaining power, but you will not receive a warranty. If you purchase from a dealer, a warranty may apply.

      Research prices and find out what is a reasonable price to pay. The Red Book web is a reliable place to check prices.

      The RAA has an online list of car dealers who sell cars that have been inspected and approved as roadworthy.

      The RAA also recommends you consider the following when buying a second hand car:

      • Take your time when looking at cars.
      • Never inspect a car at night or in the rain as paint and body faults may be difficult to detect.
      • Minor rust spots can quickly become serious.
      • Ask to see the service record to ensure the vehicle has been regularly maintained.
      • Unevenly worn tyres can indicate faulty brakes, suspension or steering.
      • Abnormal free movement when the steering is rocked from side to side indicates wear in the steering components.

      When you have found a car you like, you should test drive it to check its condition. You should also get it checked by an independent expert, such as the RAA who offer this service for a fee.

      Hiring a car or truck

      If you are planning to hire a car or truck in Australia we advise you to only hire vehicles from reputable, well-known hire car companies—even if it costs a little more. Please make sure that you understand the terms and conditions under which you are hiring the vehicle—read the fine print before agreeing to anything! For example, you may elect to pay a little extra money for insurance when you hire the vehicle, but make sure that you understand exactly what the insurance covers. It might only cover damage to the other vehicle (third party property) and not to the vehicle you have hired. This means that you could be liable for thousands of dollars to cover the cost of the damage to the hire vehicle in the event of an accident.

      Also, even if the insurance you pay covers the cost of damage to the hire vehicle, please be aware that there may be a very high ‘excess’ charge. That means that if you have an accident and damage the hire vehicle, even though it is covered by insurance, the excess charge could be more than $2,000. This means that you would have to pay the excess charge and the rest of the repair costs would be the responsibility of the insurance company.

      Finally, be aware that when you hire a car, the company asks you to provide your credit card details. If you have an accident, they may access your credit card without asking permission to access funds to cover the damage to the vehicle. So try to avoid paying by credit card!

      Road safety and driving laws

      In Australia there are harsh penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

      • All people travelling in a car must wear a seatbelt.
      • It is illegal for the driver of a car to text message or use a hand held mobile phone/portable device while driving.
      • It is illegal to smoke in a motor vehicle when children under the age of 18 are passengers.
      • Speed restrictions are enforced (often by hidden cameras) and there are expensive fines; do not be tempted to speed. Before driving you need to read The Driver’s Handbook, which you can purchase from any Transport SA Customer Service Centre or selected newsagencies for $10.00.

      You can view and download The Driver’s Handbook and the Australian Road Rules online.

    • Insurance

      Car accidents

      Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for international students to have car accidents in Australia and this can result in them having to pay large sums of money to the other driver for the cost of repairs, if the student is at fault.

      For this reason, we strongly advise students who have cars to purchase ‘Third Party Property Insurance’. This is not very expensive but could save you thousands of dollars as it covers the cost of repairs to the other driver’s vehicle. Even better is ‘Comprehensive Insurance’ which covers the cost to both vehicles if you are at fault.

      Some examples of insurance providers include:

      The University does not recommend one company over another. But we do strongly recommend that you obtain a minimum cover of third party property, fire and theft. If you do have an accident, come and see an International Student Advisor to get assistance and information.

      We also recommend you review the Legal services Commission of SA’s Law Handbook Online, and download The Motor Vehicle Accident Kit—go to Legal Services Commission web and follow the links to Accidents and Injuries >Motor Vehicle Accidents.

    • Public Transport

      Adelaide has a large public transport system, which includes buses, trains, trams, and O-bahns. Holders of a University of Adelaide student card are entitled to a concession fare on public transport in Adelaide. However, you will have to pay full fare until you receive your student card, which will be issued after enrolment.

      You need to purchase a ticket to travel on public transport (with the exception of the free buses within the city. For information about fees and charges, timetabling and transport options available, please refer to the Adelaide Metro web site.

      How to use public transport in Adelaide: You can visit either the Adelaide Metro website or the Passenger Transport InfoCentre on the corner of King William and Currie Streets once you arrive in Adelaide for information on how to use public transport in Adelaide. The InfoCentre is open 8am - 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am - 5.30pm Sunday.

      Free bus services in Adelaide

      City Loop - 99C (FREE)
      You can catch this bus on North Terrace in front of the University. This service takes you on a loop around the City, taking in the Museum, State Library, Art Gallery, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Botanic Gardens (five-minute walk to National Wine Centre), Rundle Street (East End), Tandanya, Central Market, the Hindley Street precinct and the University. This bus connects with services for the O-Bahn, the Glenelg Tram and the Adelaide Railway Station.

      Bee Line - 99B (FREE).
      The Bee Line takes you through the centre of the City via North Terrace, King William Street and Victoria Square, stopping at Rundle Mall, the Town Hall and the Central Markets. The bus connects with services for the O-Bahn, the Glenelg Tram and the Adelaide Railway Station.

      Adelaide Free (Bee Line and City Loop services) operates seven days a week. The Beeline runs every 5 minutes. Monday to Thursday 7.40am - 6.00pm, Fridays 7.40am - 8.45pm, Saturdays 8.30am - 5.30pm, and Sundays 10.00am - 5.30pm. The City Loop runs every 15 minutes Monday to Thursday 8.00am - 6.00pm, Fridays 8.00am - 8.45pm, Saturdays 8.15am - 5.15pm and Sundays 10.00am - 5.15pm.

      Adelaide City Connector bus (FREE).
      This bus is a convenient link between North Adelaide and the city area. It operates between 9.00am - 5.30pm. A timetable can be obtained from the Adelaide City Council Customer Centre: 25 Pirie Street, Adelaide.

      Airport JetBus (ticket required)
      JetBus runs regularly from the Adelaide Airport terminal into the City. Tickets can be purchased on board.

      Also known as "cabs". Taxis operate all over Adelaide and are available 24 hours per day. They are all metered: fares are automatically calculated by computer and displayed on a small screen near the driver. The fare is not negotiable. Tipping is not expected in Australia.

      • Although taxis are convenient to use they are expensive.
      • Taxi Company phone numbers are:
        • Suburban 131 008
        • Adelaide Independent 13 22 11
        • Yellow Cabs 13 2227

International Student Support (Kenneth Wills Building)

Call us +61 8 8313 4828
Opening Hours: Monday 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Friday 9am-5pm
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