Heading to Melbourne and looking to rent a car to make the most out of your trip? But with so many car rental options available in Melbourne, it can often feel quite daunting knowing what car rental company to pick.
Which car rental companies have hidden costs, which offer the best deals, what even are the driving regulations in Melbourne?
Here in this guide we’ll break it down and explain all you need to know about car rental in Melbourne so that you can have a stress-free and enjoyable time away!
Why You Should Rent A Car In Melbourne
First things first, why rent a car in Melbourne?
Whilst Melbourne the city itself does have a good public transport system, many of the best Melbourne tourist sights actually lie outside of the city, away from convenient and flexible public transport options!
Therefore, the easiest way to explore Melbourne and its surrounds is to rent a car.
From being able to breeze down to the iconic Brighton Beach Huts conveniently, to doing a self drive along The Great Ocean Drive or even doing a road trip between Melbourne to Adelaide, hiring a car offers so much flexibility in your itinerary.
No checking public transport timetables and worrying you’re running late for the bus – you can run to your own ever-changing and flexible schedule!
Hiring a car not only gives you flexibility around timings, but it also means you save time as you can reach destinations so much faster.
How many times have you checked the difference it takes to get somewhere if you’re driving compared to if you’re taking public transport?
Sometimes the journey can take almost twice as long, especially if you need to make connections or the public transport is running late! Saving time on reaching places means you have more time to enjoy the destination – win win!
Another reason why you should rent a car from Melbourne is so that you can stop the car and get out whenever you fancy!
Especially along The Great Ocean Road Drive, there are so many incredible places and viewpoints, that having your own vehicle lets you take your trip at your own pace along the way.
Also there are so many stunning waterfalls right off The Great Ocean Road that none of the coach trips visit, so by having your own vehicle you’ll get to see so much more!
My favourite reason for hiring a car from Melbourne however, is to beat all the crowds along The Great Ocean Road!
It is such a touristy destination, but by hiring a car I can visit sights such as The Twelve Apostles during the quieter times – before and after the masses of tour buses arrive, and get great photos!
The flexibility of renting a car to be able to visit places in quieter times when public transport isn’t running and there’s hardly anyone else around is just priceless to me.
Our last trip to The Great Ocean Road we were able to witness sunrise at The Twelve Apostles – incredible!
Not only is renting a car incredibly convenient, but it is cost-effective if there are a few of you travelling (and definitely cheaper than getting taxis), and road trips are so much more fun than quiet stuffy coach trips!
Blast your music, stop off for extra snacks, no need to worry if you’ve forgotten something, renting a car is definitely a more comfortable way to get around!
And lastly, renting a car gives you a feeling of security, and lets you explore parts of Australia that can’t be reached by public transport!
HOW TO FIND THE BEST CAR RENTAL DEALS IN MELBOURNE
There are so many car rental companies in Melbourne that it can be hard to know where to look.
For the best deals for car rental options in Melbourne, it’s best to go to a car rental comparison website such as Discover Cars. Discover Cars compares offers and discounts of over 500 car hire companies to find you the best price!
This saves you so much time and shows you all your options – a quick search shows that you can rent cars in Melbourne from as low as $59 per day with Discover Cars!
Discover Cars is one of the largest online car rental platforms in the world (it has vehicles in 10,000+ locations!!), and is the ultimate place to search for the best value car rentals!
Not only does Discover Cars offer unbeatable prices, they also offer free cancellation and let you change your drop-off time if you need!
Different car drop-off locations are available if that suits you better, and you can select filters to find your ideal car quicker!
Whether you’re after a short car rental or even a long-term rental for your trip to Melbourne, an SUV, big luxury car or even a minivan, Discover Cars finds you the perfect vehicle in your chosen location at the best possible price!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO RENT A CAR IN MELBOURNE?
Renting a car in Melbourne is surprisingly affordable, seeing as Australia is an expensive country! With prices as low as $59 per day on Discover Cars, you can easily rent a car without breaking the bank!
IS IT CHEAPER TO HIRE A CAR OR GET A TAXI IN MELBOURNE?
In Melbourne it is definitely cheaper to hire a car as opposed to getting taxis, especially if you’ll be doing longer trips or several journeys!
Taxis and Ubers in Australia aren’t cheap – for example, an Uber from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne CBD costs around $58, which is basically the same price of the car rental for the whole day!
WHERE TO RENT A CAR IN MELBOURNE?
There are several places where you can hire a car in Melbourne, the most popular places to pick up car hire being:
- Melbourne Tullamarine Airport: Australia’s second busiest airport, 22km north of Melbourne CBD
- Downtown Melbourne: You may choose to explore the city of Melbourne for a day or two first, before hiring a car to visit sights out of the city or start your road trip. The tram system around Melbourne CBD is pretty good!
- Frankston: Located on the Mornington Peninsula.
The airport and downtown options are definitely the most popular options to pick up and drop off your vehicle.
BEST RENTAL CAR COMPANIES IN MELBOURNE
There are several international companies you can hire a car from in Melbourne, including Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty, Avis, Sixt, Ace Rental Cars.
There are also some smaller local Australian companies such as Abaa Car Rentals, Green Motion, Bargain Car Rentals, East Coast Car Rentals that are all good.
It’s often the case that local companies may have better prices – and often have way better customer service!! So don’t always go for the giant corporations just because the name is familiar, it’s good to support local companies!
If you’re unfamiliar with a company, reading their previous customer reviews will give you a good idea about the company! In addition, it’s always good to check drop-off times and the car hire companies’ fuel mileage policy.
DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO RENT A CAR & DRIVE LEGALLY IN AUSTRALIA
There are certain documents you need to have to be able to pick up your rental car in Australia, as well as certain documents that you need to carry at all times whilst driving in Australia:
- A full driver’s license
- A valid passport if you are not Australian – if you are Australian you just need to show another form of ID
- A valid credit card in the renter’s name
You must also be 21 years of age or older to rent a car in Australia.
The car documentation and insurance must be in the car whenever you’re driving, and the driver will need to carry their drivers license at all times when driving.
CAR INSURANCE IN MELBOURNE
When booking a rental car online, basic insurance is included but there is an excess of around $4,000 AUD.
This means if you get into a car crash, you’ll need to pay that excess amount before the insurance will pay.
Therefore it is recommended to get Full Coverage, which only costs around $20 AUD extra per day. If you have any accidents then the insurance will refund you the full amount.
TIPS TO FIND THE BEST CAR RENTAL DEAL:
COMPARE PRICES & COMPANIES
It’s definitely worthwhile to spend some time comparing prices and companies online by reading reviews and checking their prices.
I tend to find I always get the best deals when I search on Discover Cars, plus they sometimes even have special offers and discounts which makes it even more sweet!
BOOK IN ADVANCE
Booking in advance is the best way to secure the best car rental deals and discounts! There are often more discounts available when you book in advance, plus prices tend to rise the closer you get to the booking date.
By booking in advance it also gives you plenty of time to compare prices and find the perfect car. There’s nothing worse than leaving it until the last minute and all the good cars are gone – plus the prices are high!
AVOID PICKING UP A RENTAL CAR FROM THE AIRPORT
Even though it is convenient, it is often more expensive renting a car at the airport as opposed to in the city.
Of course sometimes you need to rent a car from the airport, but an option to consider if you have the choice, is to spend a couple of days exploring Melbourne’s CBD by public transport (city trams are free!), then picking up a car in the downtown area.
This can also save you money as Melbourne CBD is easy to get around by foot or public transport, plus many hotels in Melbourne’s CBD will charge you $20 or so per day for parking.
HOW OLD DO I NEED TO BE TO RENT A CAR IN AUSTRALIA?
You need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Australia.
Also, all drivers under 25 years old are charged a Young Driver Surcharge (around $25 AUD extra per day) when they rent a car in Australia, plus the maximum damage liability will be set to $950.
ROAD RULES FOR DRIVING IN AUSTRALIA
- You drive on the left side of the road in Australia, and the steering wheel is on the right – the same as in the UK. This may be uncomfortable for people who drive on the right, such as in the USA or continental Europe. On highways the slow lane is the left lane, the right lane is the fast lane.
- In Australia, the blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. The legal limit for provisional drivers and learners is 0.00%. Exceeding the limit can lead to a large fine and a driver licence ban. Regular breath tests are done by Police on the side of the street, particularly on Friday and Saturday evenings.
IS IT EASY TO DRIVE AROUND MELBOURNE?
Driving around Melbourne isn’t too challenging, providing you follow the signs and stick to the flow of traffic. It’s always good to have a GPS/maps on to help you find your way easier if you are unfamiliar with the roads.
Plus in Melbourne’s CBD there are many one-way streets, so the sat-nav will find the best route for you.
One thing that is very bizarre about driving around in Melbourne CBD is that cars will often need to be in the left-hand lane to turn right to let the trams pass!! Follow the signs and the other cars, and always look out for trams!
Note that Melbourne has two active toll roads, Linkt (previously known as CityLink) and EastLink. Check if you need to purchase a pass or if the price will be included in your rental.
You can set your GPS maps to avoid going on toll roads if you prefer to not travel on them.
IS IT SAFE TO DRIVE AROUND MELBOURNE?
Most of the rental companies in Melbourne offer roadside assistance to help keep you safe whilst on the road!
Something to be incredibly mindful of when driving on roads outside of cities in Australia is the native wildlife. Kangaroos especially come out to the road one hour before and after dawn and dusk.
Always be on the lookout if there’s bushland on either side of the road, put your beamers on if there isn’t another car coming in the opposite direction, and honk your horn if there’s wildlife in your path. Do not swerve into the ditch.
Mobile coverage isn’t always available outside of towns and away from highways, so take extra caution when travelling in nature areas and always have offline maps downloaded.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET A SPEEDING TICKET WHEN DRIVING A RENTAL CAR IN AUSTRALIA?
- Speed cameras are absolutely everywhere in Australia, particularly the cities ad highways, so you always be mindful of your speed. There is no speed buffer or leeway in terms of speed when it comes to speed cameras in Australia. So if the speed limit is 50 kph, you can get a fine for driving at 51 kph! The car rental company will receive your speeding fine if you get caught and will deduct it from your card.
- Always be mindful of the speed limit that you are driving in, especially if you’ll be driving near a school during school hours, or there are roadworks.
- During school hours the speed limit is 40 km/hr in school zones in Victoria and built-up residential areas have a speed of 50 km/hr unless otherwise indicated.
THINGS TO DO IN MELBOURNE
Once you’ve got your car rental sorted in Melbourne you can start planning all the best things to see and do! Start by exploring all the best photo spots in Melbourne, as well as heading to the trendy beachside suburbs of St Kilda and Brighton.
You can then enjoy a road trip, whether you wish to head down to The Great Ocean Road, down to the Mornington Peninsula or even drive to Walhalla – Australia’s spookiest town!
With car rental prices in Melbourne starting from only $59 on Discover Cars, there are so many great places waiting to be explored!