Adelaide is known as the twenty minute city. Unlike more congested Australian cities such as Melbourne and especially Sydney, it might make more sense for visitors to Adelaide to avail themselves of one of the many Adelaide Airport car rental desks on the ground floor, opposite the baggage carousels. Adelaide’s public transport, while being significantly cheaper than that in many of the other states, is extremely infrequent and inconvenient for visiting tourists. For example, most services run only every thirty minutes during peak hour and hourly in the evenings and on weekends and public holidays, and the bus service from the airport to West Lakes and Marion does not even run at all on weekends. The poor quality of public transport in Adelaide, coupled with the lack of traffic congestion and zero toll roads throughout the state (a fact of some pride to South Australians) mean that driving is simply the easiest way to go for almost all travellers who are not on an extremely restricted budget.
Some firms also have comparatively cheap Uber hire car available from their Central Business District locations. It might be worth seeing if you can catch the Jetbus J1 or J2 from the Adelaide Airport in to town to scoop a better rate. This is only really practical during the day between Monday and Friday, and is not recommended if you have large amounts of luggage because the buses are generally used as regular commuter routes by many people and do not have luggage facilities. Tickets for all Adelaide public transport are about five dollars per person for adults (less for pensioners, students, and concession card holders, even less for children, free for young children) if bought from the driver on board ¬¬– these are valid for unlimited transfers between all Adelaide public buses, trains, and trams for two hours from first use, and will be more than sufficient to get you to any rent a car office in the CBD.
Forget what you’ve heard about one way expressways: Adelaide’s roads are generally well sign posted and easy to navigate. However, if you so desire, any rent a car firms will include a GPS sat nav maps unit with your hire car for only a small additional daily fee: this might be more useful if you intend to explore more of South Australia outside of the city of Adelaide. A wide range of cars is available for hire in Adelaide, from luxury convertibles to economy hatch backs to even mini bus hire (handy for large families, or groups of people going on a tour of the many excellent wineries and cellar doors of the Barossa Valley region). Check online or with your chosen rent a car agency in order to find out more, including any special licensing or insurance requirements that may apply.