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Adelaide Airport Car Rental Tips

Adelaide, South Australia’s capital, is not so much a holiday hotspot as a hidden gem. Surrounded by stunning coastlines on one side and rolling hills on the other, whichever direction you choose an array of experiences awaits.

Hiring a rental car to explore Adelaide really enables you to get the best out of your stay, particularly as so many of the area’s top attractions are located an hour or more outside of the CBD. Getting to these attractions quickly becomes expensive if you’re arranging alternative transport, and the city’s buses and trains are known for being infrequent and time-consuming to use. While the airport is reasonably close to the CBD (around 6 kilometres), the cost of a taxi into town is around $25.

There are 22 rental car brands at Adelaide Airport competing for your business. If you want to find the best deal that's a lot of websites to check out...

To make things easy, our car rental comparison search engine hunts down the very best offers available from all car rental suppliers and lists them side-by-side for you. This lets you instantly compare and find the best deals.

Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Redspot / Sixt and Thrifty Car Rentals are all "on-airport" and have counters located on the ground floor near the baggage claim area.

Other rental operators, such as Firefly, Atlas and Alpha Car Rentals, are located close to the airport and will transfer you between the terminal and their depot. Although this isn't as convenient, it is often the cheaper way to rent a car from the airport.

Before you go to pick up your vehicle, make sure you have your booking confirmation voucher, a valid driver's license for each of the drivers, a credit card or cash for the bond and suitable ID.

​Driving in Adelaide, as you’ll quickly discover as you leave the airport, is reasonably relaxed considering it’s a capital city. It lacks the bustling, stressful vibe of bigger cities, the roads are reasonably open and traffic is reasonably light – though it’s best to avoid the city roads at peak travel times if you can.

Remember that it’s a good idea to return your rental car with a full tank of petrol when you’re finished with it. Top-up costs tend to be higher than you’d expect, and it’s frustrating to be stung with extra expenses at the end of a holiday. Here's a Google Map showing locations of petrol stations near Adelaide Airport. You'll see there’s a United Petroleum station conveniently located right next to the airport, as well as plenty of options en route.

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The best deals from all these rental car operators & many more...

avis car rental
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firefly car hire
Budget Car Rental NZ

Booking your Adelaide rental car with MatesRates Car Hire is quick, easy. And saves you money!

Adelaide Attractions

Adelaide is truly a city of contrasts, and quickly gaining a reputation as the lifestyle capital of the country. It’s developing fast, growing on an already formidable reputation for wine and food, and the region’s numerous nature attractions continue to build in popularity.

As you’d expect for a city located between towering hills and vast expanses of ocean, the most well-known activities on offer are based around water activities and exploring nature. It’s safe to say wine lovers will want a return trip too – with the world-famous Barossa Valley just outside of town, it’s a playground for anyone with a penchant for good vino.

With the majority of Adelaide’s main attractions located a considerable driving distance from the CBD, car hire is highly recommended for any visiting travellers.

Glenelg Beach

No visit to Adelaide is complete without a journey to the sunny seaside village of Glenelg. Hop into your rental car, take a short drive out of town, and you’ll soon find yourself amongst charming heritage buildings, vibrant shops and plenty of sunny spots to stop for a bite to eat. There’s hundreds of boutique stores to enjoy, stocking all manner of stylish goods for you to take home as souvenirs. In summer, there’s nearly always something entertaining going on – festivals are common, and there’s even an amusement park!

The beach itself is gorgeously white, as most Aussie beaches typically are, and perfect for a spot of relaxing. If you’re more of an active type, there’s always the option to swim or snorkel with wild dolphins if you head over to the marina. If you’re a history or culture lover there’s galleries and museums waiting to be explored, and if nature’s your thing there’s plenty of highly rated walking trails around the area. The Federation Trail passes by historical cottages and war installations and also includes Tjilbruke Spring – a place with sacred meaning to the local Aboriginal people. For something a little easier, you can stroll the boardwalk to Marino Rocks or explore the Kingston Park coastal reserve.

It’s easy to see why Glenelg simply continues to grow in popularity. With so much to do, what’s not to like?

Kangaroo Island

Admittedly, Kangaroo Island is a little further from central Adelaide comparative to most tourist attractions, and a tad trickier to get to – but that’s the magic of getting yourself set up with car rental for your holiday!

Kangaroo Island offers a uniquely memorable and not-to-be-missed opportunity to observe Australia’s weird and wonderful wildlife, against a truly beautiful scenic backdrop. As you’d expect, there are kangaroos aplenty – but that’s just the beginning. Sea lions, penguins and a variety of seabirds teem along the island’s 509 kilometres of coastline, while koalas, wallabies, and echidnas roam the land. There’s a huge amount of biodiversity on offer due to the wildly varying landscapes all encapsulated on the island – beaches, sand dunes, bush, cliffs and wetlands. You’ll need to stay at least overnight to have a decent look around the island’s main hotspots, but a stay of several days is recommended. There’s plenty of accommodation options available, and visitors are often overheard commenting that they didn’t realise the island was quite so vast or so full of life.

Two vehicle and passenger ferries make frequent trips to and from the island from Cape Jervis, which is around a two-hour drive from central Adelaide. You’ll be able to take your rental car over to the island – provided it’s covered by your insurance policy – though booking ahead is essential. The majority of the main roads are sealed, but there’s also numerous unsealed roads leading to more private spots. Again, just make sure you check your car hire policy to ensure you’re not restricted from driving on them.

​When you’re finished exploring for the day, you’ll be relieved to know the island’s not all rough and rugged. There’s plenty of well-renowned wineries around, and no shortage of places to grab a bite to eat and reflect on the day’s happenings.

The Barossa Valley

Wine lovers all over the world know the prestige carried by the Barossa name. It’s perhaps Australia’s most famous wine-producing region, and also one of the oldest. Visitors to the area are often struck by its classic charm and old-world atmosphere, and the foodie scene is fast acquiring its own fame. Great wine is best accompanied by great food, and there’s no shortage of fresh, delicious seasonal produce around to supply the award-winning restaurants dotted throughout the valley.

The Barossa Valley is best explored (and sampled!) over several days if possible. Travelling by rental car allows you to make the most of your stay by exploring at your own pace and fitting as much into your time in the Barossa Valley as you’re comfortable with. Take your time and sample slowly, or move fast and experience all you can – it’s up to you!

One of the first and perhaps the most famous commercial vineyard to open in the area was Jacob’s Creek, and other big names include Seppeltsfield and Penfolds. Many of the 150 or so vineyards are open to the public, and many others will open by appointment if you call ahead. Two particularly great times to visit are during Adelaide's annual Cellar Door Wine Festival in February, and Aussie Wine Month in April.

Fleurieu Peninsula

There’s something for everyone to enjoy on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Just 45 minutes from Adelaide – an easy drive by rental car – it’s a hub for all kinds of fun on land and sea.

Visually, it's a varied but vibrant mix of rolling hills, national park forestry, wild seascapes and laid-back townships. In terms of activities, there’s simply too many to list. Visit world-class wineries, hit the surf, soak up the sun, explore the wilderness and wander through the art galleries. Sample the fare at a variety of orchards and roadside stalls – from cheeses and oils through to nuts and berries. There’s an exhaustive array on offer, but the vibe of the area is wonderfully relaxed and refreshing. It’s the sort of place where hours can easily slip by as you sit in the sand and simply take in all that’s around you. If you’re lucky you might spot some of the local wildlife as well. Little penguins and migrating whales are a common sight, and if you’re keen to get up close and personal there are great spots for sailing, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.