If you are on a mission to explore South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide, you can choose between several means of transport; bus, train, tram, bicycle or car. Adelaide’s public transport system can take you to the main sights of the city, sometimes even for free. However, to completely immerse yourself in all that Adelaide and its surroundings has to offer it is best to get a car rental in Adelaide.

Requirements for driving and renting a car in Adelaide

In order to rent and drive a car in Adelaide, and in Australia in general, you need a valid driver’s license and an international license. The easiest way to get the international driver’s license is to apply for it in your hometown before arriving in Australia. This method is simple, free and fast. If you don’t have an international driver’s license, you will need to have your driver’s license translated by an official NAATI accredited translator.

ADVICE: In order to rent a car in Australia the driver must be 21 years of age or older. Some agencies will allow younger drivers however, that can be rather costly as the insurance premiums are a lot higher.

Comparison website for car rentals

To get a car rental in Adelaide, it is best to use a price comparison website. This way, you’ll definitely find a good deal for your car rental!

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Car rental in Adelaide

Throughout Australia there are several car rental agencies which not only provide a broad selection of rental vehicles but, the competition ensures high quality services at a reasonable price.

The main car rental companies are:

  • Europcar
  • Thrifty
  • Hertz
  • AVIS
  • Jucy
  • Budget
  • Access

Most of these agencies are located at the airport, which makes your arrival easier. There are also agencies in the town centre of Adelaide if you decide to hire a car at a later date.

Rental prices

Car Rental prices in Adelaide differ from agency to agency and take in to account the model of car and whether it comes with any extras such as a rooftop tent or camping equipment. Generally, the average cost is $50-$60 per day with some agencies offering a cheaper weekly or monthly rate.  

How to get a cheap car in Adelaide

  • Book the car at least one month in advance
  • Use an online price comparison website
  • Go to agencies near the airport. They offer the best prices
  • Rent a car for several days to get discounts
  • Consider all rental conditions (number of kilometers, petrol price, insurance etc.)
  • Share the costs with other backpackers (a second driver is sometimes even included in the rental price)
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Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission

Visit Adelaide and surroundings


Based on the population, Adelaide is considered a city. However, unlike Melbourne and Sydney it is much easier to drive in. Even during the peak hours it is unlikely to get stuck in a traffic jam! Free parking is available around the city centre on Sunday’s and public holidays. There is also 15 minute – 3 hour free parking in some areas from Monday through to Saturday afternoons. If you are unable to find free parking in the city there is the option of parking at South Terrace and jumping on the free city tram. With all of this in mind, it often works out cheaper to drive yourself around than to rely on public transport.  

Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission

Adelaide Region



South Australia boasts some of the best beaches in Australia and you can find some of them on Adelaide’s doorstep. We recommended taking a 30-minute drive to Glenelg, Semaphore or Henley beach during your stay. Here you will discover postcard perfect white sand, amazing blue hues, long esplanades and spectacular sunsets over the sea.  

The hills

Thirty to forty minutes beyond Adelaide city is the laidback “Adelaide Hills”. Here you will drive through kilometres of picturesque vineyards and the charming German influenced town, Hahndorf. You will also be greeted with panoramic views of Mount Lofty. It is easy to spend a full day exploring the hills, wine tasting and coffee sipping your way up, down and around.


Fleurieu Peninsula

If you are a surfer visiting Adelaide, then the Fleurieu Peninsula is your destination of choice. Victor Harbour or Port Elliot to be exact which is just over an hour drive from the city. After a morning of rolling waves and dolphins, go for a stroll or tram ride across to Granite Island and explore the beauty of the Little Penguin reserve.

Barossa Valley

Adelaide is said to be THE wine capital of Australia so what better way to find out for yourself then joining a wine tasting tour in the renowned Barossa Valley. Accompanying the 50 vineyards in the region is many award-winning restaurants to choose from in between the cellar door visits.  

[information]ADVICE: To avoid receiving a hefty fine and potentially losing your driver’s license do not drink alochol and drive. This includes driving under the influence of alcohol. In Australia, police officers have absolutely no tolerance for this behaviour so if you plan on wine tasting and are not joining a tour, find a designated driver![/information]
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Credit : Florence Lourme


Flinders Ranges

If being surrounded by kangaroos and mountains while camping is your kind of adventure, then take a road trip to the Flinders Ranges National Park. Located 5 hours North of Adelaide it is a popular destination to escape the bustling city life. There is plenty of hiking and driving options within the National Park therefore a few days is recommended.

ADVICE: The roads beyond the main campground are unsealed therefore if you plan to visit the Flinders Ranges ensure you hire a vehicle that is capable with off-road conditions.

Eyre Peninsula

The Eyre Peninsula is home to the Great White shark cage diving as well as many other underwater activities such as snorkelling with sea lions and swimming with dolphins. Port Lincoln is roughly 7 hours from Adelaide so plan a day just for driving.

Kangaroo Island

This island is the jewel of South Australia. After a two-hour drive south and another 45 minutes by ferry, you are on a beautiful pristine island. Kangaroos, seals, dolphins, whales, eagles, pelicans, crystal clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches create magical moments.

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Article updated on 26/05/2019 – Published initially on 23/02/2019

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