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Adelaide - Overview

The city of Adelaide is located in the state of South Australia. It is the capital of South Australia, and is the fifth largest city in terms of population in Australia, after Sydney (1st), Melbourne (2nd), Brisbane (3rd), and Perth (4th), with a population of some 1.1 million residents. In terms of distance, it is closer to cities on Australia's east coast as compared to cities up North (e.g. Darwin) or in Western Australia (e.g. Perth), but distances in Australia can be great. It is about 730 km (453 miles) northwest from Melbourne, 1415 km (880 miles) east from Sydney, 2,700 km (1675 miles) west from Perth, and 3050 km (1895 miles) south from Darwin.

The city of Adelaide itself can be considered a coastal city, with suburbs that line the coast from Outer Harbour up north to Port Noarlunga down south, west of Adelaide city. The city is divided by the Torrens River – North Adelaide lies north of the river while Adelaide lies south of the river. The city also sprawls eastwards inland, across the Adelaide plains, featuring leafy suburbs such as the lovely St. Georges (a personal favorite). Up north and north east are manufacturing companies in the working class suburbs of Elizabeth and neighboring Salisbury.

As Australia's best example of a living planned city, the "heart" of the Adelaide is marked by the grid roads North, South and West Terrace, surrounded by parks (known as the parklands). The beauty of city planning is enjoyed by Adelaide residents today – wide space roads, orderly streets, green spaces, and uncluttered parking.

Adelaide's 1.1 million residents are mostly Australians - there are less overseas-born residents in Adelaide than in Sydney (highest at 39%), Melbourne (35%) or Perth (33%). Adelaide was established as a British province, and the city still attracts a fair number of Brits today. Its English culture, however, has been mixed with other cultures, notably the Germans, who brought with them the vine cuttings that was used to found the acclaimed wineries of the Barossa Valley. Today, the ever-growing international students who flock to Adelaide's two universities (The University of South Australia and the University of Adelaide) add to Adelaide's multi-cultural mix.

Adelaide may not rank high in terms of numbers or popularity compared to Sydney or Melbourne, but its charm and expansive resources amidst a bush setting has attracted many to reside in Adelaide permanently. Although Adelaide is often compared to cities like Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide shares more in common with sister city Perth in Western Australia in terms of general living – both are populous, but isolated cities in a large expansive state, with easy access to beaches and the sea, as well as enjoying the inland's fresh produce and slower pace of life compared to Sydney or Melbourne.

Its affordability makes the city popular with students and retirees alike; and while the expatriate population is smaller than the ever-growing international student population, it is nonetheless possible to find groups of expatriates working in various industries across the city. The strong student population lends a vibrant culture in the city, yet the surrounding vineyards and proximity to the aboriginal lands can make your time in Adelaide a memorable one.

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