About Adelaide

About living in Adelaide

Home to 1.2 million people and as Australia's fifth largest city, Adelaide is located between white sandy beaches and the Mount Lofty Ranges. Known as the 20-minute city, it takes 20 minutes to get from the city to the hills or beaches. It's also renowned for its parklands, which ring the city centre and make up 45 per cent of the total city area. The New Yorker magazine called Adelaide “possibly the last well-planned and contented metropolis on earth” and Lonely Planet described it as “civilized and calm in a way that no other Australian State capital can match”.

Whether you're into arts, music, sports, outdoor activities, or simply spending time with friends shopping or eating out, there will always be something entertaining to do. The city is a popular venue for international and national sporting events such as Test cricket at the Adelaide Oval, the SA Open Golf Championship, the Classic Adelaide car rally, and the Tour Down Under cycling race.

All of the city's major learning and cultural institutions are only a short walk or drive from the heart of Adelaide. Tree-lined North Terrace in the city centre is home to the South Australian Art Gallery, the State Library, the South Australian Museum, Government House and two of UniSA's campuses. Just a stroll from the Botanic Gardens and the banks of the River Torrens, these campuses are in ideal settings for study, entertainment or relaxation.

Adelaide is regarded as the food and wine capital of Australia, with 50 per cent of all Australian wine produced here. Many major department stores, shopping centres, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and entertainment facilities are conveniently located within the city and outer suburbs. It is also home to the National Wine Centre and numerous food and wine events. Adelaide has more restaurants per head of population than any other major Australian city, over 70 pubs in the city centre and the largest fresh produce market in the Southern Hemisphere.

More information and virtual tour of Adelaide


Student accommodationCost of living

In Adelaide, you can do more with less. The affordability of Adelaide means more to spend on food, accommodation, supplies, travel and entertainment. Recent research from the Economist Intelligence Unit shows that it costs 18% more to live in Sydney, 17% more to live in Melbourne, 6% more to live in Perth and Brisbane.

Living costs can be affected by whether you live alone or share with others; whether you live in areas of high demand such as by the beach or in the city centre; and by your style of accommodation.

The following is a guide to what an average student can expect to pay before and after arriving in Australia, average basic weekly expenses and costs of some regularly purchased items.  All prices are in Australian dollars.

Before arrival

First term/semester tuition fee    per offer letter
Overseas student health cover (annual single premium)    $349


After arrival

Textbooks and study materials (depending on program)    $300 - $600
House/flat deposit (less if sharing - refundable)    four weeks rent
Rent in advance (less if sharing)    $300 average
Electricity/gas deposit    $29 - $65
Telephone connection charge    $59 - $209
Household setup (linen, groceries, etc.)    $220


Basic weekly expenses

Rent (less if sharing)    $90 - $250*
Food    $50 - 80
Bills (gas, electricity)  $15 - 25
Transport    $15 - 20
Other (entertainment, clothes etc.)    $35 - 40
Telephone / postage $20 - 30
TOTAL YEARLY (52 WEEKS) EXPENSES    $11,700 - $23,140


* Share flat / house $90, UniHouse $160, Student Residence $250 (inc. food and fully furnished). 

These figures are only intended as a guide to your weekly cost of living in Adelaide.

Students can reduce costs by sharing with other students.



Item Costs

Bowl of noodles / fried rice $4.50 - $5.50
Loaf of bread $1.80 - $3.50
1 litre carton of milk $1.65
Bottle of water (600ml) $2.00
Cup of coffee $2.00 - $2.50
Big Mac $3.45
Cinema ticket (student rate) $10.50
Phone call (local) $0.40
Bus ticket (student rate) $0.90 - $1.60


Currency converter


Time zone

Adelaide is +9.5 hours GMT and +10.5 hours GMT during daylight savings time (summer time). For example 12-15 hours ahead of the United States and 7-8 hours ahead of the United Kingdom and Europe.



Adelaide has four distinct seasons that include comfortable temperatures in summer to refreshingly mild winters. Whyalla, because of its location is generally warmer.

Summer    Autumn    Winter    Spring
December to February    March to May    June to August    September to November
Dry and hot    Warm    Cold and wet    Sunny and cool
15° to 35° C    10° to 29° C    5° to 19° C    9° to 25°C
(59° to 95° F)    (50° to 85°F)    (41° to 66° F)    (48° to 77° F)



Dress on campus is informal. In summer, lightweight clothes and sandals or sneakers are sufficient. In winter, warm clothing with woollen sweaters, coat and a waterproof jacket are needed.


Working while studying

International students can apply for a work visa and work for up to 20 hours a week during the semester and full-time during semester breaks. Applications for a Work Rights visa can be made at the commencement of study. Spouses may be permitted to work in Australia but they must also apply for a Work Rights visa.  Please note that conditions vary for research students studying on a scholarship. For more information visit the Department of Immigration.


Medical cover

It is a condition of your student visa that you have private health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia as you are not covered by Australia's national health program, Medicare. For more information visit Learning Connection



Adelaide Free busUnlike sprawling cities like Melbourne and Sydney, Adelaide is a quick and easy place to get around, with an integrated bus, train and tram public transport system connecting all parts of the city and suburbs. It is possible to reach almost any point of the metropolitan area within 20 minutes. Students receive a discount on public transport fares, and a 10 trip multi trip ticket will cost a student about AUD$12.00.

There is also the Adelaide FREE buses allowing you to travel around the city centre at no cost.

Depending on your personal finances and where you live, you may wish to purchase a bicycle or a car.  Please note that all motor vehicles must be registered, and you will require a driver's licence to drive a motor vehicle in Australia.  You may be able to use your international driver's licence, depending on the class of licence you hold.

Both metropolitan and regional campuses are easily accessible by public and private transport, and parking is available at some campuses (Magill, Mawson Lakes, Underdale and Whyalla). 

For further information regarding transport timetables, driver's licences, motor vehicle registration and road laws visit: