South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometers (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth largest of Australia’s states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population.

South Australia shares borders with all the other mainland states, and with the Northern Territory; it is bordered to the west by Western Australia, to the north by the Northern Territory, to the north-east by Queensland, to the east by New South Wales, to the south-east by Victoria, and to the south by the Great Australian Bight.

Its landscape varies from rugged outback wilderness and desert, including some of the most arid parts of the continent, to scenic mountain ranges and a coastline that stretches more than 3,700 kilometres.

The state has a population of more than 1.76 million people, 77% of whom live in Adelaide and surrounding metropolitan areas. Large regional population areas include Mount Gambier in the state’s South East, and Whyalla, Port Lincoln and Port Augusta on the Eyre Peninsula.

While English is the principal language, the state has over 200 ethnic communities.


Adelaide is the capital city of the state of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. Named in honor of Queen Adelaide, consort to King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for the only freely settled British province in Australia.

The city of Adelaide is so much more than a name on a map. It is a small city with a big backyard that over 24,000 people call home and is visited by over 300,000 people every day.

It is a place where a vibrant arts and cultural scene sits in harmony with history and heritage, and thoughtful innovation blends with nature. Where little faces have big smiles and there’s time to do the things you love.


The current metro area population of Adelaide in 2020 is 1,336,000, a 0.6% increase from 2019. The metro area
population of Adelaide in 2019 was 1,328,000, a 0.61% increase from 2018.


Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate. The city has hot, dry summers and cool winters with moderate rainfall. Rainfall is unreliable, light, and infrequent throughout summer, although heavy falls can occur. In contrast, the winter has reliable rainfall with June being the wettest month of the year.

Frosts are occasional and hail is also common in winter. Adelaide is a windy city with significant wind chill in winter, which makes the temperature seem colder than it is. Snowfall in the metropolitan area is extremely uncommon, although light and sporadic falls in the nearby hills and at Mount Lofty occur during winter.

Education and living costs

Consistently voted amongst the most livable cities in the world, Adelaide is a place where you can embrace all the experiences of a cosmopolitan capital city whilst enjoying a life centered around wellbeing and balance. Residents enjoy a quality of life where happiness and health intersect.

Adelaide enjoys an ease of accessibility unseen in most cities. Government offices, hospitals, business headquarters and an extensive range of shops, restaurants and amenities can all be found on foot within the city’s grid, while the many bike lanes make navigating the CBD on two wheels a breeze. A city-wide public transport network, including City trams and a Connector Bus, gets you most places in the city for free – day and night.

A city for all

Adelaide is a city for people of all ages and abilities to explore; with a wide range of sports and recreation, schools, universities, libraries, and community centers that bring people together to learn and converse.

The city’s accessible scale encourages natural migration through walkable streets, where splashes of color and public art murals add vibrancy to main thoroughfares and hidden places.

With an enviable food and lively dining scene experienced through a network of buzzing laneways, small bars, restaurants, and pubs on nearly every corner.

Adelaide is one of Australia’s most affordable capital cities.

Adelaide is up to 14% more affordable to live in than other major Australian cities and has the lowest average rent in the country. With lower rent, food, and public transport costs than most major Australian cities, you will be able to afford more of the wonderful lifestyle that Australia has to offer.

Below is an estimated overview of general weekly expenses. This is a guide only, and costs will vary depending on your lifestyle choices and needs.

Average student budget

  • Rent – City (Shared): AUD$185 per week
  • Utility Bill (Shared): AUD$30 per week
  • Grocery: AUD$60 per week
  • Phone and internet: AUD$25 per week
  • Public Transport: AUD$15 per week
  • Entertainment: AUD$80 per week

Student accommodation

In Adelaide, you will enjoy student accommodations that are affordable.

Depending on the location and type of accommodation you choose, rental prices may vary. Below is a guide to housing costs in Adelaide:

  • Hostels and Guesthouses – $90 to $150 per week
  • Shared Rental – $85 to $215 per week
  • On campus – $90 to 280 per week
  • Homestay – $235 to $325 per week
  • Rental – $165 to $440 per week
  • Boarding schools – $11,000 to $22,000 per year

Public Transport

As a student in Adelaide, you will receive significant discounts on public transport thanks to the South Australian Government concessions.

Adelaide Metro is Adelaide’s public transport system, providing cost effective and efficient travel throughout the city and the greater metropolitan area. To travel on the public transport system, you will need to pay for your fare using either a MetroCARD or MetroTicket.

Tertiary students in Adelaide can enjoy unlimited travel on all bus, train and tram services with a 28-Day Pass for AUD $51.50, and primary and secondary school students for AUD $25.50.

Australia has a wide range of industries that offer part-time and casual work. Before you undertake any paid work, you need to make sure your visa allows you to work.

If you have a student visa, you may be able to work up to 40 hours in a fortnight while your course is in session, and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks. If you are a master’s by research or PhD student, you may work full time.

Part time work

Part-time employment in Adelaide can be a great way to balance work with study. Most international students do some amount of part-time work in Adelaide while studying to assisting with living expenses, meet new people and gain experience of an Australian workplace.

There are many opportunities for you to undertake part-time work from a wide range of industries in Adelaide. This includes:

  • Retail – supermarkets, departments and clothing stores
  • Hospitality – cafes, bars and restaurants
  • Tourism – hotels, tour operators
  • Sales and Telemarketing
  • Administration or Clerical roles
  • Tutoring
  • Internships and volunteering

    Internships and volunteering in Adelaide are a great way to demonstrate to employers that you can apply your technical skills effectively in the workplace, interact positively with a range of different colleagues and clients and contribute positively to the day-to-day operations of their organization with the guidance of a workplace and academic supervisor.

    Finding work

    There are many places where you can look for part-time work in Adelaide, including:

Depending on your situation, there are two visa options available for skilled migrants through South Australian state nomination.

Skilled Regional work (provisional) visa (subclass 491)

This is a state nominated provisional visa for skilled migrants that allows you to live and work in South Australia for up to five years and can provide a pathway to permanent residency.

State nomination from South Australia provides you with 15 additional points to help you qualify for a subclass 491 visa under the Department of Home Affairs points test.

South Australia offers a state nomination pathway for the subclass 491 visa if you meet all state nomination requirements

If you live and work in South Australia for three years on the subclass 491 visa and meet the minimum taxable income level for at least three years (see the Department of Home Affairs website), you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa.

For more information visit:

Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)

This is a state nominated permanent visa for skilled migrants that allows you to live and work in South Australia.

South Australia offers a state nomination pathway for this visa if you meet the state nomination requirements.

This is a permanent visa that allows you to stay in South Australia indefinitely.

State nomination from South Australia provides you with 5 additional points to help you qualify for a subclass 190 visa under the Department of Home Affairs points test.

For more information visit:

To discover whether you are eligible for a Skilled visa to live and work in South Australia (SA), we invite you to take VisAustralia’s Migration Assessment Tool or to book a consultation with one of our expert migration lawyers.

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