The ultimate guide to moving to South Australia

20 June 2023

If you’re thinking about making the move down south, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to moving to South Australia, with everything you need to know about settling into our diverse, progressive, sustainable and innovative state.

Photo: Josh Geelen

Each year, tens of thousands of people find their new state of mind in South Australia.

Whether they’re chasing love, a new lifestyle, a deeper purpose, a career opportunity or simply a fresh start; if there’s one thing they have in common, it’s a desire to make their mark in a state brimming with opportunity.

With the added bonus of jobs aplenty, sunshine, good wine, a coastline of beautiful beaches and Australia’s hottest festival scene, who wouldn’t want to live here?!

If you’re thinking about making the move down south, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to moving to South Australia, to get you settled into our diverse, progressive, sustainable and innovative state.

Getting a job in South Australia

Thanks to more than two decades of uninterrupted economic growth and $100 billion of major developments — plus our state’s growing reputation for innovation, ingenuity and creativity — skilled workers have never been more in-demand in South Australia.

Photo: Josh Geelen

From Google to Tesla to Microsoft, the list of global companies putting roots down in our state grows each day, along with opportunities in South Australia’s thriving start-up scene.

Like most capital cities, job opportunities are generally concentrated in Adelaide (which accounts for 77 per cent of state employment), and are available in a wide range of industries. Sectors that are currently experiencing high-growth in SA include space, hi-tech, energy, defence and cyber.

All jobs in the South Australian public sector are advertised on the ‘I work for SA’ website, while the South Australian Government’s Careers Hub lists jobs in the state’s high-growth areas. It’s also well worth scanning websites like Seek, Indeed and LinkedIn for jobs in South Australia.

If you’re a uni graduate, don’t miss your chance to apply for The Alternative — a new South Australian industry placement program changing how people start their careers. With expressions of interest now open, The Alternative provides grads with the chance to work within three organisations in SA over an exciting 18-month period.

The cost of living in South Australia

It’s no secret that the cost of living in South Australia is less than other states and territories — in fact, it’s a key drawcard for many, including Jake Kellie, internationally acclaimed chef and owner of open-flame restaurant, arkhé.

“People want to come to move here because it’s more accessible … it’s easy to get around; the cost of living is a lot cheaper here than in Sydney or Melbourne,” he said.

And Jake’s not wrong — data shows Adelaide is up to 12 per cent more affordable to live in than other major Australian cities, with rent prices in Sydney being 73 per cent higher than in Adelaide, and rent prices in Melbourne being 14 per cent higher than in Adelaide.

Adelaide isn’t just a cheaper place to live, it’s also one of the most cost-competitive markets for setting up business and leasing office space (and the regions are even more affordable!).

Where to live in South Australia

Choosing where to live in South Australia comes down to the type of lifestyle you’re seeking.

Whether you want to be steps away from the action in Adelaide’s buzzy CBD, make the most of our long summers along the coastline, indulge in Adelaide’s fashion and cafe scene or spend your weekends bushwalking and out in nature, there’s a suburb for you.

Photo: Josh Geelen

According to, the areas in South Australia that are in greatest demand include the stunning Adelaide Hills suburb of Aldgate, the trendy inner-south suburbs of Unley and Malvern, and foothills suburbs of Eden Hills and Belair — but insider knowledge is always helpful, too. In this article, The Guardian rounds-up eight of the best suburbs in and around Adelaide to consider, according to locals.

Getting around South Australia

Adelaide is an easy city to navigate, with a great range of options for public transport, driving, cycling and walking.

Adelaide’s public transport system is run by Adelaide Metro, which includes buses, trains and trams. To use the Adelaide Metro network, you’ll need to purchase a MetroCard. MetroCards are readily available at many news agencies and supermarkets across the state. Contactless ‘tap and pay’ services are gradually being installed across the Adelaide Metro network too, allowing users to pay via credit card, debit card or mobile device.

If getting around on two wheels is your style, you’re in luck. South Australia’s broad, flat streets, dedicated bike lanes and cycling infrastructure make our state very cycle-friendly. Check out the South Australian Government’s cycling maps and online journey planner tool to find the fastest and safest route to take you where you need to go.

Making connections in South Australia

While it can be a little intimidating, putting yourself ‘out there’ and building a professional and personal network when you move to South Australia can make all the difference to how well you settle in.

If you’re not sure where to begin, you could:

  • Take a look at this list of business groups that host events and networking opportunities in and around Adelaide, compiled by the Adelaide Economic Development Agency.
  • Head to the Volunteering SA & NT website, for a list of available volunteer roles with not-for-profit organisations across the state.
  • Join your local sporting club or team, which are often at the centre of both suburban and regional communities in South Australia and the quickest way to get to know people near you!
  • Find your local church, temple or mosque; or
  • Join one of the many Meetup Groups in Adelaide.

The climate in South Australia

What’s one thing South Australia has in common with Greece, Italy or France? Aside from showstopping beaches, it’s our Mediterranean climate: warm, dry summers and mild winters.

Photo: Josh Geelen

You can expect to bask in long summer days (with an average maximum temperature of 29°C), continue soaking up the sunshine into autumn and spring, and (minimal) rain won’t stop you from enjoying the outdoors in winter, which records an average temperature of 15 – 16°C.

Fun fact! Sunshine powers our state — more than 60 per cent of South Australia currently runs on renewable energy!

The environment in South Australia

If you love and respect nature and the environment, you’ll fit right in. Here in SA, we love nature (and festivals) so much, we hold an annual Nature Festival each October, featuring more than 300 events!

You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of environments in your new backyard to explore: from spectacular coastlines to arid ranges, dense Mallee to stony deserts, farmlands and urban parks to expansive, ephemeral wetlands and remote wilderness.

Check out National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia for heaps of information on bushwalking, mountain biking, camping and more across our state, and Walking SA for a guide of more than 700 walks.

Although, you don’t need to go far out of the CBD to get in touch with nature. With 95 per cent of Adelaidians living within 400 metres of an open, green area, in 2021, Adelaide was awarded Australia’s first National Park City, and only the second globally.

Arts and culture in South Australia

No matter whether you’re a film-buff, foodie, art aficionado, muso or mad sports fan, you’ll find your scene quickly in South Australia.

The heart of Adelaide’s CBD is a great place to start, with many iconic venues, galleries, bars and restaurants to check-out. Don’t miss the Art Gallery of South Australia, home to more than 45,000 works and an ever-changing roster of Australian and international exhibitions, the buzzing Adelaide Central Market for the freshest local produce and to experience our multicultural food culture, and Adelaide Oval, one of the nation’s most highly-regarded sporting venues, which plays host to Australian Rules Football and cricket as well as concerts and other events.

Our reputation as Australia’s ‘Festival State’ means every month of the year is packed with world-leading arts, culture and sporting events, which are increasingly capturing the attention of global audiences and arts industry professionals, including Justyna Jochym. As an international festival curator, Justyna has chosen to call South Australia home.

“We came in March 2017, when three of our wonderful festivals were on: WOMADelaide, the Adelaide Festival and the Adelaide Fringe,” Justyna said.

“I felt something within me awaken (while) I was here

“There was a sense of momentum of activity and of…joy.

“We…spent a really comprehensive amount of time exploring the city’s arts and cultural offerings and it was really by day three that I made the decision to come back to South Australia and began scheming about how I could make that happen.”

Do you feel the magnetic pull of South Australia? Make your move and discover your New State of Mind. Check out more stories, tips and advice for moving to our wonderful state here.