Car Hire in AustraliaWhere to pick up
Popular car rental cities in Australia
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Car Rental in Australia: explore some of the world’s most unique landscapes
Australia is a country and continent best explored by rental car. With some of the world’s most unique landscapes - from the Red Centre to numerous UNESCO World Heritage rain forests and phenomenal coral reefs off the east and west coasts - you won’t want to miss a thing. Even better, the highway connections between these sites are well maintained and easy to navigate. Book your rental car today to make the most of your visit to the diverse and gorgeous Down Under.
The best time to visit Australia depends on the region in which you’re planning on spending most of your time. Avoid northern and central Australia in the heat of summer months December and January by visiting in the transitional seasons from April to June and October or November. The coastal tropics are best visited from April to November, and December to March is the prime time to visit southern Australia, the only region of the continent that truly experiences four seasons.
English is the de facto official language of Australia, though up to 20 indigenous languages are still spoken daily across the country.
There are four time zones in Australia, varying by two hours from west (UTC+8) to east (UTC+10). Australia’s middle states are off-set by 1.5 hours (UTC+9:30) from the west coast and 30 minutes from the east coast.
The currency is the Australian dollar and credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country. Many visitors will be surprised by the high price of groceries and other day-to-day goods.
Cheap car hire in Australia is available in virtually every town or city, but the most popular cities in which to pick up your rental car are:
- Cairns in the north
- Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, and Gold Coast in the east
- Melbourne and Adelaide in the south
- Perth in the west
All visitors to Australia except those coming from New Zealand require a visa to enter the country. Depending on your country of citizenship, you can apply for these visas online for a fee of $20 to $130; be sure to visit only government websites for these applications in order to avoid surcharges and other fees. Some nationalities will have to apply for a visa via a paper application at an Australian embassy. Double check regulations for your nationality before you solidify your travel plans.
Driving in Australia
Driving is truly the most convenient, comfortable, and spontaneous way to explore Australia. Highways between cities are typically very well maintained, even when pavement gives way to long stretches of gravel roads in central and northwestern Australia.
- Traffic proceeds on the left-hand side of the road throughout Australia.
- If you’re coming from a right-hand drive country, note that car controls are also typically reversed completely in Australia, such as the placement of the turn signal and windshield wiper controls.
Typical Speed Limits
- In cities: 50 km/h (30 mph)
- On highways outside cities and towns: 100 to 130 km/h (60 to 80 mph)
- School zones and urban highways will have decreased speed limits
- If your domestic driver’s license has been issued in a language other than English, an international driver’s permit will be necessary to rent a car in Australia.
- There are numerous toll roads throughout the more populated regions in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.
- The minimum driving age ranges from 15 to 18 depending on which state or territory you are driving in; you will have to be at least 21 years of age to rent a car, however, and are likely to face young driver surcharges under the age of 25.
- Particularly if you are planning on driving long distances, ensure that your rental service provides you unlimited mileage. A cheap rental can turn into a very expensive one if you don’t take mileage into account!
Cheap Car Rental in Australia
Car hire in Australia typically starts at around $21 a day, with lower prices available during the off-season, particularly if you pick up you car at an airport. Here are some of the best deals in Australia:
- Nissan Micra or similar (economy class) – $24/day
- Hyundai I20 or similar (compact class) – $25/day
- Hyundai Accent or similar (compact class) – $26/day
- Toyota Corolla or similar (intermediate class) – $30/day
- Ford Ecosport or similar (compact class) – $31/day
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
Tips for Renting a Car Inexpensively in Australia
Car rental prices are cheapest in the months just before the major tourist season in Australia; for example, rental costs for economy cars are as low as $14 a day at the Melbourne Airport in November.
Extend your rental period by a week or more to save up to $12 a day!
The cheapest rental brands depend on the region of Australia you’re planning on exploring by rental car. If you’re renting in Perth, Hertz is likely to have the best prices for you, whereas Bargain Car Rentals makes your travel in and around the Melbourne Airport especially cheap.