Accurate transit directions can be obtained through Google Maps. To navigate around, just enter your "to" address and "from" address (or use current location) on your device (including iPhone, Android), then select the public transport icon.
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.
There are several options for purchasing tickets:
Single trip tickets allow the passenger to move freely around the transport network for 2 hrs. If traveling often, it may be more convenient to purchase a stored value Metrocard (below).
A day trip ticket is available, allowing unlimited travel within the Adelaide Metro area for an entire day. If traveling for 3 days, it may be more economical to purchase a 3-day visitor pass (below).
There is a 3-day ticket allowing unlimited travel on the Adelaide Metro network for 3 days. A map and a travel guide are included. If you wish to continue using the ticket beyond the 3 days, more MetroCard credit can be purchased.
A contactless Metrocard can be purchased and can be reloaded at major stations, convenience stores, etc. This is how most locals purchase their tickets.
Single Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines onboard trains (coins only), trams (coins or card), or from conductors on the tram or bus drivers. A small number of stations (Adelaide, Elizabeth, Gawler, Noarlunga Centre, Oaklands, Mawson Lakes, and Salisbury), and a number of newsagents, corner stores and post offices sell & recharge the contactless, stored value MetroCard.
If using a Metrocard or visitors pass, you validate by touching against the reader when entering a bus, train or tram - just do what the locals do. There is no need to touch off. Additionally, you need to validate to enter the platform gates at Adelaide Railway Station only.
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. Routes that may be useful for tourists include:
864F to Crafers Park & Ride, then 823 to Cleland Wildlife Park and Mount Lofty Summit (from Currie Street in Adelaide CBD, limited services per day)
751W or 753 (from Noarlunga Centre station) - to Maclaren Vale (limited services per day)
117, 118, 150, 156, 232 - to Port Adelaide (different routes)
The free City Loop (#99C) bus runs M-F 07:40-18:00 every 15min, F 18:00-21:20 every 30min, Sa 08:00-17:00 every 30min and Su (and public holidays) 10:00-17:00 every 30min. It has clockwise and anticlockwise routes each with about 30 stops taking in all the major cultural and commercial centers, beginning at Victoria Square and including Adelaide Railway Station. The buses have ground-level access ramps.
Be warned that bus frequency declines sharply after 18:00, with hourly intervals being typical in the suburbs. All services cease operation around midnight, so check your timetables and expect to catch a taxi if required if you are out after this time. Very basic After Midnight bus services along limited routes operate hourly after midnight on Saturday nights.
A tram service runs from the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Hindmarsh, an inner north-western suburb, to the Adelaide CBD, traveling along North Terrace and King William Street, through the city and then onward to the southwest 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 center 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, with two additional branch lines:
The Gawler Line, to Gawler Central in the north of the city.
The Outer Harbor Line, which goes up the Le Fevre Peninsula in the north-west of the city via Port Adelaide. A branch extends off this line to the beachside suburb of Grange.
The Seaford Line, formerly the Noarlunga Line, which now extends through Noarlunga Centre to Seaford, in the far south of the city, via the beachside suburb of Brighton. A short branch extends off this line to the suburb of Tonsley (which only operates Mon-Fri during business hours and peak hours, except during the AFL season when additional dedicated Footy Express trains run on game day, on all lines).
The Belair Line which extends to Belair in the foothills of the Adelaide Hills to the south-east of the city.
Visitors may find the Outer Harbor line useful to get to Port Adelaide. Although the station is about 0.5 km (0.3 mi) south of the port area but is an easy walk up Commercial Road. The Belair Line is useful to access Belair National Park, and the Seaford Line provides access to the seaside suburbs of Brighton and Hallett Cove. Some of the larger shopping centers are close to stations. Westfield Marion shopping center is very close to Oaklands Railway Station, while Noarlunga Centre is next to Colonnades.
The city center is compact and can be easily covered on foot. Most attractions are centered around the blocks between North Terrace and Victoria Square on either side of King William Street.
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. Uber also operates its service in Adelaide, which was legalized in mid-2017.
NGO "Bicycle SA" provides a range of bicycle services, including free-to-use tourist bikes, from its offices in Currie Street, next to the Central Bus Station. ☎ +61 8 8168-9999. Bicycles can be hired, with the deposit of a driving license or other ID, for the entire day for free, but must be returned before 16:30. Arrangements can be made for bicycles to be hired overnight.
A popular ride is to ride from the city center along the Torrens out to West Beach, then down to Glenelg and back. You cannot take your bike on the Glenelg Tram or any bus, even outside peak hours, however, you can take them on trains. An alternative to taking the tram back from Glenelg is to ride a further 20min south along the coast to Brighton Station on the Noarlunga Centre Line where there are reasonably frequent trains back to Adelaide.
Although the city center is easily walked or traveled by public transport, as Adelaide's public transportation network is limited and infrequent outside the city center and the major transport hubs (like Glenelg), renting a car is the most practical way of getting around Adelaide, particularly if you want to head into the suburbs. All the big international companies such as Redspot, Avis, Hertz have an office at Adelaide airport and there are also depots in the central city area.
Pay attention to speed limits. The default metropolitan speed limit, which applies in the absence of any signs, is 50km/hr. Some suburban streets are 40km/hr. Main roads are usually signposted to 60km/hr. A few road corridors are 70km/hr or 80km/hr, and some freeways are 100km/hr. The maximum speed limit is 110km/hr, found only on South Australian country roads outside of the Adelaide urban boundary.