I am an 18 year old girl and many a friend of mine has held their 18th's or 21st's at venues along Hindley. I am extremely skeptical and was expecting the worst but it must be completely different to what it's reputation used to be! Police and taxi's are always crawling the area, many young people now go there and I've never once felt unsafe. Never had trouble getting a taxi either and it is usually quite clean. Like any place at night I wouldn't go there alone but I certainly wouldn't avoid the best part of Adelaide's nightlife due to a misconception :)
Adelaide's Hindley Street is a "I wish I was like you" kind of place. It tries to be sleezy, or glitzy or even raunchy. But unless you are REALLY unlucky, REALLY foolish or from a REALLY small town/place and naive, its bars, clubs and strip joints are comparatively pretty tame and safe. Sydney's Kings Cross it is not!
I love Adelaide but compared to many other big cities, our city precinct pretty much closes down week nights and is only marginally more lively weekends. Admittedly, better during Summer. However, be warned, to get out of the City at any time, by public transport and late night is next to impossible. You need a car! Some taxis are around but not a lot.
The problem then, is getting caught late night without transport in a '"want-to-be" like Hindley Street or its surrounds.
It can be scary walking around deserted and poorly lit side streets. More menace than real but there is a Police Station and high Police presence in the area. So caution is advised.
Looking forward to that very late night party? Have/share a car or stay in one of the many local city hotels/motels/hostels. It's that simple.
Oh, and stay out of the City parks and gardens at night. I don't like to be harrassed in poorly lit and deserted places personally. Is it just me?
Hindley Street's bark is worse than its bite.
As far as city streets go, it's fairly tame and, although it has a reputation, there is very little violence to be seen or heard.
There's a 24 hour police office near the Rundle Mall end, and a 24 hour McDonald's at the other, with a mild streetscape in between with restaurants, bookshops, music shops, nightclubs, shops, offices, and cinemas.
Opposite Marcellina's, Adelaide's oldest pizza place, and clubfeva, which is true to its name on weekends, is my very own ground floor apartment. People walk up and down at all hours of the night, some speaking a little loudly under the influence, but most are civil.
The biggest hazzards of living on the drag are the 5 am street sweeper (with noisy leaf blowers), and occasional yahoo drivers out to impress.
I've been living there two months and now sleep through most of the riff-raff. My neighbour, who's been there more than a year, and claims you could write a book about the characters in our apartment block, says he wouldn't live anywhere else.
Not really a danger, but a warning... public transport does stop after midnight on weekends. There are night buses, but they are unreliable, and tend to only service the outer Northern and Southern suburbs. Any other suburbs in between are not catered for. And if you are unfortunately stuck within the city on a Saturday night with not enough money for a cab or night bus home (night bus tickets are approx $6), you will have to wait until 9am Sunday for bus and train services to start.
Hindley Street. Whilst the Adelaide City Council are trying their hardest to clean the city's Red Light District up, it still remains probably one of its most undesirable places. There are several strip-clubs and other notorious places of ill-repute dotted around the general vicinity. It is also a hot-spot for stabbings and general attacks. My advice is, if you are not local and look it, stay away from Hindley Street after 11pm.
The Southern Parklands in the city is also a place not to be caught after-dark. With a history of brutal rapes and sexual assaults, it would be wise to steer clear of this area.
The spruikers in Rundle Mall are particularly savage... you'll hear them before you see them, so when you do... RUN! :P
Adelaide is pretty safe, but...
Hindley St - don't walk down it alone at night. It's okay in the daytime and they are trying to clean up the image but it's still a little seedy.
The Parklands - don't walk through them alone at night. If you are female, try to make sure there are more than two of you. Even during the daytime, don't hang around in secluded areas on your own.
Victoria Square - you can get hassled here a little but it is not too bad.
And ask locals whether it is safe to walk around certain suburbs at night. There are a few that aren't that safe.