Car hire in Australia
Hiring a car in Australia
Australia is one of the world’s most popular destinations as it has so much to see and do.
A favourite with backpackers and families, Australia is vast and it would take a lifetime to discover all of its great attractions. Therefore, many visitors opt to take a road trip around a section of the country and focus on one particular state, but each region of Australia is very distinct and offers its own individual brand of Aussie culture.
Of course, overall it offers a wonderful mix of great beaches, fabulous weather, stunning scenery, busy nightlife and moving history.
What you need to know
Australia is the world’s sixth largest country by size at 7.7 million square metres - so obviously you’ll need a car to get around.
There are various options for car hire in Australia, with many suppliers having bases within the major cities, such as Cairns, Sydney and Brisbane.
Of course, if you are flying to Australia, there are also car hire offices at the key airports including Perth (PER), Melbourne (MEL) and Canberra (CBR).
To limit hassle on arrival in Australia, it is worth making sure you book your car rental before jetting off. Use our booking engine to find the best price and pre-book your car hire needs before arriving in Australia.
Where to pick up your car
If you have booked a car at one of the major airports in Australia, then it should be straightforward to collect the keys once you have been through customs.
At Sydney Airport, the car rental desks can be found in Arrivals at International Terminal (T1) and Domestic Terminal (T2).
If flying into Melbourne airport, then head towards the ground floor of Terminal 1 (T1) to pick up the cars.
Finally, if you have a flight to Brisbane airport, then the car rental suppliers are based on level 2 of the International Terminal.
Of course, there are plenty of other places to collect a car across Australia and it is often possible to pick-up/drop-off a hire car in a different location - perfect if you fancy taking a road trip between two places.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Australia is so large and it can be difficult to figure out what parts you want to see. However, there are plenty of domestic flights between all the major cities, so you should be able to fit a lot into your trip with a bit of forward planning.
One of the most popular destinations is Sydney on Australia's East Coast. The city offers glorious beaches and is perfect for anyone who enjoys the outdoor life.
Surrounding Sydney there are a number of great locations, including the awe-inspiring Blue Mountains, the surfing beaches of Newcastle and the delicious wine of Hunter Valley.
Alternatively, the West Coast and the city of Perth could be an ideal destination. It boasts more than 12,500km of coastline and enjoys a laid back feel.
There is also plenty evidence of the rich history of Australia, with Fremantle, York and Albany - home to some of the country’s most stunning architecture.
Driving in Australia
Across Australia, motorists drive on the left and seat belts are compulsory for all passengers.
However, it is important to note that different states may have different rules, especially when it comes to speed limits.
Generally, the standard default speed limit in built-up areas is 50km/h, although there can be different limits in place during daylight hours.
Away from heavily populated areas, the maximum speed limit varies - in Western Australia, the default speed is 100 km/h, compared to 130 km/h in the Northern Territory. So always remember to check what the local laws are before setting off.
If you do plan to drive after dark, then you will need to keep an eye out for animals crossing, especially as you head away from cities and towns.
There is plenty of opportunities in Australia to enjoy a longer drive given the vastness of the country.
The most famous road trip route is along the south-eastern coast on the B100 - also known as the Great Ocean Road.
Stretching around 243 km (151 miles), the road is the perfect way to discover the best of Australia. There are numerous sightseeing opportunities along the way, with the chance to see some great ocean views, perhaps spot a koala or be awed by the 12 Apostles.
Construction of the road began in 1919 by soldiers returning from World War 1. The road was officially completed and opened to the public in 1932
Top attractions to visit in Australia
Australia has an incredible number of top attractions and you will be spoilt for choice. Here are three of the most popular highlights that showcase Australia at its best.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and is one of the world’s most famous buildings.
It is located on the city’s Circular Quay and represents the sails of a seafaring yacht. However, it is also home to an amazing performance venue, with a total of five different spaces.
Of course, opera is regularly on the bill, but you can also see musicals, dance productions and plays.
In addition to attending a performance, you can also take a guided-tour around the famous landmark and discover behind the scenes, as well as learn more about the rich history of Australia’s arts.
Uluru is one of Australia’s most stunning natural attractions. Located in the heart of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the rock is a key part of Australian indigenous culture.
There are a number of ways to see the rock, including the ability to get an aerial view from a helicopter or hot air balloon.
You may also get the chance to see some of the region’s wildlife. It is estimated close to 200 species, including kangaroos, emus, dingoes and wallabies live in the unique red desert sand.
Uluru is about a six-hour drive from the town of Alice Springs and many chose to take a road trip along the Northern Territory Red Centre Way to experience the stunning landscape.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is more than 2,000km in length and stretches along the coastline of Queensland.
Designated as a World Heritage-listed site, it is a major tourist attraction and there is plenty of great ways to see more of this stunning marine wonder.
Plenty of local operators run special snorkel or scuba diving trips to key parts of the reef, but if you prefer to stay dry then you can take a flight over the clear waters to really appreciate the size of these natural phenomenon.
It is thought that more than 1,500 fish species live along the reef, including clownfish, snappers and coral trout.