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Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia. The city was founded in 1836 by colonel William Light, and was named after queen Adelaide, the wife of king William IV. To build the city, extensive forests were cleared. In the surrounding area these forests were preserved, in the Adelaide Parklands. Near the city, there are beautiful white sandy beaches. Every year the city organises many festivals, including the Adelaide Festival of Arts and the avant garde Fringe Festival (both of them in March) and the multicultural Womadelaide festival (February).
The city has over a million inhabitants, including suburbs like Elizabeth and Salisbury. More than two thirds of the total population of South Australia live in or around Adelaide. It is an aging city: a quarter of the population is 55 years old or older. Also a quarter consists of people who were not born in Australia.
Adelaide is situated in the south of Australia on the Gulf St Vincent, and the river Torrens flows through the city. To the east of the city there are wooded mountains and hills, the Mount Lofty Ranges. At a short distance from the city there are important wine areas like McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley and Clar Valley. Melbourne is located 650 kilometres to the south-east of Adelaide, Sydney 1200 kilometres to the east (as the crow flies).
The city is an industrial centre: cars are produced (half of the country's total car production), medical equipment and electronic parts. In addition, there is a large defense industry, the largest Australian oil company Santos has its head offices in the city, and it houses Coopers beer brewery. Adelaide was the birth place of Rupert Murdoch's global media network News Corporation. Since 2004, that company is officially located in the US, but most of South Australia's newspapers are owned by News Corporation.
In addition, there are three universities, of which the University of Adelaide belongs to the so-called Group of Eight (the best universities of Australia).
Adelaide Airport is located 6 kilometres to the west of the city. In 2005, a new hypermodern terminal was inaugurated. From Adelaide Airport there are direct connections to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Auckland. In addition, there are, of course, connections to cities in Australia.
The old Parafield Airport is located 18 kilometres to the north of the city, and it is used predominantly for recreation. The is also an aviation museum.
The city centre is compact and can easily be explored on foot. However, there are also two (free) bus lines through the centre: the Bee Line and the City Loop Bus. The latter departs every 30 minutes from the train station and has 30 stops at the most important cultural attractions and shopping centres. The remaining (limited) public transport consists of buses and city trains. The Passenger Transport Info Centre (on the corner of King William Street and Currie Street) provides extensive information about the public transport network.
After 6 pm, buses and trains are much less frequent than they are during the day, and they stop driving altogether even before midnight. On Friday and Saturday nights there is a special service (Wandering Star) to the suburbs.
The origin of Adelaide lies at Glenelg Beach. There you can find, among other things, a replica of the HMS Buffalo, the ship that carried the first colonists to Adelaide. From the centre there is historical tram connection to Glenelg.
In Australia, people drive on the left side of the road, which means that the steering wheel in your rental car is located on the right. Keep in mind that Australia is a huge country, and that the distances to the other cities can be enormous.
Adelaide used to be known as the '20 minute city', which at the time was how long it took to get from the suburbs to the city centre. As the suburbs grew, that rule of thumb no longer applied, although the city still has a clear street pattern with broad roads. The city is situated on an intersection of motorways from east to west and from north to south. In about 7 hours via Highway 1, you can get to Melbourne. Taking the coastal road takes longer, but the drive will be more beautiful.
In the centre the city council operates a dozen car parks under the name 'U-Park'. You can also park in the street, although the maximum allowed parking time is often limited. That is indicated by, for instance '1P' (max. 1 hour parking) or '½P' (max. half an hour). In the so-called 'Loading Zone' private parks are allowed to park for 10 minutes at the most.
Adelaide has a good supply of hotels. The most luxurious ones are located in the Central Business District, but the city offers a broad range in all price categories. Good quality at a reasonable price can be found in the so-called 'hostels', with single and twin bedrooms, but also with sleeping halls. Adelaide has something special: a hostel exclusively for people who ride Japanese motorbikes!
It is usually not hard to find a hotel room in Adelaide, but we recommend booking your room in advance during one of the festivals (see Introduction).
For more information about Adelaide, we recommend Google, and the following sources: