Adelaide without a car: your 3 day itinerary
3rd March 2023
Visiting Adelaide without a car? No problem. South Australia might be vast, but with the city’s trams, buses and trains, you’ll have plenty of ways to get around and see the city without a hassle. Plus, no need to worry about parking! In this article we outline a three day itinerary for those coming to Adelaide without a car. Whether you’re flying in from interstate or abroad, or you’re just dropping in from the country for a weekend in the city, you’ll find everything you need for a great Adelaide getaway right here.
Can you visit Adelaide without a car?
Yes, you absolutely can visit Adelaide without a car. The city’s public transport will have you visiting the beach, the hills and the city in no time.
In general, Australians do drive a lot. There’s no doubt about it. Almost all South Australians do have cars, due to the large distances between towns as well as between the city and the state’s many tourists attractions and destinations. Having said this, those looking to enjoy Adelaide, do not need to spend the money on renting a car. A great transport network does exist, and you’ll see everything you want to see with great ease.
How much does Adelaide’s public transport cost?
The cost of public transport in Adelaide is reasonable and when it comes to the difference between hiring a car and taking the bus/train, you’ll definitely be saving a lot of money with the latter!
If you are catching a bus or train in Adelaide, you’ll need to pre-purchase a metroCARD before you travel. This is easily done at corner shops around the city, or at the central train station.
We suggest that by topping up your card with $20-$30, you’ll have plenty of money for all the trips you need in this itinerary! Can’t be bad.
Your 3 day itinerary: Adelaide without a car
On our first day in Adelaide without a car, it’s likely that you’ll want to get a feel for the CBD. A great way to do this, is by exploring the city entirely on foot. The great thing about Adelaide is that the CBD itself is small and it lends itself to wandering. In fact, you’ll be able to see all the best bits of the CBD in one day.
Start your morning at the Adelaide Central Markets, where you can browse local cheese, coffee, fruit, vegetables, eggs, olive oils, meats, sweets, nuts, chocolates, cakes and so much more – all under one roof. In fact, it’s the largest undercover market in the southern hemisphere! Stay for a coffee or even breakfast and take away some goodies.
Following this, take the 30 minute walk through the heart of the CBD to Rundle Mall. Enjoy the shops and the beautiful old arcades. From Rundle Mall, follow the street down to Rundle Street where the shops become more boutiquey, the coffee shops become more hipster and the charity shops are filled with goodies. Stop for a quick tea or coffee on Ebenezer where Laneway Cafe is calling your name!
Gardens and museums
From here, it’s time to visit the Botanic Gardens. Walk through the beautiful greenery and lofty trees here for as long as your heart desires. There’s plenty to see and if it’s sunny you might want to stop for a while and enjoy a break on the flawless green lawns. A free walking tour is provided if you’d like to know more.
Next, head over to the Art Gallery of South Australia where you can find some incredible works of art as well as some excellent exhibitions. Also nearby is the Migration Museum and the beautiful State Library of South Australia. Wander as you please!
Dinner and drinks
Start your evening with a drink at a rooftop bar – we recommend either 2KW or Sol – and admire views over the city that you’ve been exploring throughout the day. Next, head over to Leigh Street where you’ll find all kinds of great restaurants – from Fugazzi to Casablabla and nearby Sunny’s Pizza. Also here, or on parallel Peel Street, you’ll find some beautiful bars, so take your pick before finishing up your day.
On your second day in Adelaide, it is a good idea to visit the beach. And don’t limit it to just one; Adelaide’s vast coastline has a lot to offer.
Start your day by taking the train out from the railway station in the city, all the way down to Hallett Cove. The trip will take about 40 minutes. Upon arrival, walk down through the houses, to get the beautiful beach where you can enjoy a coffee with a view.
Following your beverage of choice, take a 5 kilometre board walk from Hallett Cove to Marino Rocks. Winding through dunes, up and down valleys and along the coast the entire way, this stunning coastal walk is one not to miss whilst in Adelaide. You might spot dolphins on the way too!
Next stop, Brighton. Get back on the train at Marino Rocks and head to Brighton. For those who could do with a longer walk, the trip to Brighton from here is only 3-4km along the coast, so it’s absolutely possible to walk.
Upon arrival, enjoy a swim and a walk along the jetty before selecting a spot for lunch. Anything from fish and chips on the beach, to something fine and fancy is available here.
From Brighton, the bus number 265 will take you all the way to Glenelg. The trip takes about 30 minutes.
Known as the most popular beach destination in South Australia, Glenelg was the first settlement in the state and today it is packed with shops, cafes and restaurants, making it a great stop on your beach day. Stroll around the shops, enjoy an ice cream and take a look at the beautiful marina before heading to the beach for a swim and some downtime.
To get back to Adelaide without a car, all you need to do is take the quick and easy tram from the main square.
Now that you’ve seen the city and the beach, it’s time to visit the Adelaide Hills. Don’t forget to pack your most comfortable shoes, because it’s time for a day of walking.
From Adelaide CBD, take a bus to the small town of Crafers in the Adelaide Hills where you can enjoy a morning coffee. You’ll want to take the bus 864F and it will take about 30 minutes.
Following your coffee, head to the Crafers to Mount Lofty Trail head and begin a 4.5km hike to the summit. The views at the top are totally worth the walk, sweeping across Adelaide all the way to the coast. After a pit spot at the Summit Cafe, walk a further 2km to Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens and spend some time wandering through the trees to the beautiful lake at the bottom.
Heading back to Crafers on foot (a further 3km), it’s time to take a bus to Hahndorf, the final stop on your trip. Enjoy a hearty German meal and a beer at a local pub following a day of hiking and admire the German shops as you wander through the main shopping street.
To get back to Adelaide without a car, take a direct bus (864F). Your trip will take approximately one hour.
Where to stay in Adelaide
Receive 10% off your stay with the code SAWE10.
Located in the heart of the city, Quality Apartments Adelaide Central is a very convenient and comfortable option for an Adelaide getaway without a car. Found next to Rundle Street, the property provides access to all the main sites of the city with a short walk.
Only a short 5 minute walk from the railway station, this is the best place to stay in Adelaide for a weekend getaway without a car.