If you’re considering renting a car in Melbourne, chances are, you might be planning on exploring the Victoria countryside, or you need a car to get around for business reasons or to visit friends. Whether you’re exploring the region on holiday or need temporary transportation for work, here’s some helpful information about the car rental scene in Melbourne.
- Car Rental – Melbourne
- Melbourne Car Rental Options
- Tips When Booking Your Car
- Melbourne’s Road Rules and Traffic Conditions
- Should I Rent A Car In Melbourne?
Car Rental – Melbourne
If you don’t have time to research options, Discover Cars is a platform that will do the hard work for you.
Melbourne Car Rental Options
The main ways to rent a car in Melbourne are to use a traditional car rental agencies, like Hertz or Avis, search for the best deals using an online comparison platform or hire direct from individuals via one of the many carsharing rental companies that have popped up in recent years. Here’s an overview of the options:
Traditional Car Rental Agencies
Traditional car rental in Melbourne through agencies such as Avis, Hertz and Budget offers a range of standard vehicles, comprehensive services and many pick-up locations in the city.
Online Car Rental Platforms
On the other hand, online platforms like Expedia, Kayak, Rentalcars.com and DiscoverCars.com provide a service that helps you compare prices and features for vehicles from multiple agencies at once.
Featured car rental service – DiscoverCars.com
One of the rental car platforms gaining popularity is DiscoverCars.com, a website that allows car renters to compare prices of rental cars from multiple agencies in one spot.
The website has a user-friendly interface that lets you input rental details and browse the options, making collecting reliable quotes from different companies easy.
You enter your preferred rental dates, pick-up locations, type of car and other preferences, and the platform will generate a list of available cars and their prices available to book from a range of companies.
Vehicles range from economy to luxury, providing ample choices for all budgets while making it easy to add extras like GPS navigation systems and child seats and additional drivers for an extra fee.
Car Sharing In Melbourne
One of the newer ways to rent a car in Melbourne is to go through a peer-to-peer rental platform or carsharing service, from which you can rent a car directly from a local car owner in your neighbourhood.
The City of Melbourne has been actively supporting this business model, and there are around 600 carshare spaces in the central city and the surrounding suburbs.
You can search for available cars in a location convenient to you, book them for specific dates and arrange pick-up and drop-off with the car’s owner.
Carshare companies have provided car owners with a way to earn extra money when not using their cars by listing them and allowing renters to access those vehicles temporarily for an agreed rate.
Here are the car share companies that have agreements with the city of Melbourne to use on-street parking spaces:
- Uber Carshare
- Go Get
Car rental rates in Melbourne can be variable, depending on the type of vehicle, rental duration, time of year and availability.
Rates may be higher during peak travel periods and holidays, so book your rental car in advance and compare prices from different agencies and online platforms for the most competitive rates.
Tips When Booking Your Car
Important Documents and Requirements
- When renting a car in Melbourne, you must provide your official ID, insurance papers and a credit card.
- ID – a passport or a government-issued ID card that matches the name on your driver’s license.
- Insurance papers- proof of insurance coverage is another essential requirement for car renting in Melbourne. Most rental agencies include basic insurance in their rental rates, typically third-party liability and damage to the rental vehicle.
The minimum car rental age in Melbourne is 21, but you may find that some rental agencies may impose a higher age requirement or extra fees for drivers younger than 25 years old.
If you plan on renting an SUV or a luxury car, there may also be different age restrictions, so check with the rental agency before pressing the “buy” button.
Your driver’s license must be valid in Australia.
Fortunately, most international visitors can use their home country’s driver’s license as long as they only drive the class of motor vehicle authorised on that licence and comply with the conditions of their home licence.
If your license is not in English, carry a formal English translation or International Driving Permit (IDP).
You may also want to add an insurance upgrade for extra protection, including personal accident insurance for medical expenses, in case of an accident, or roadside assistance, which provides towing, flat tire assistance and lockout assistance.
Before purchasing these additional insurance options, check if you have this covered through your regular car or home insurance policies or if it’s one of your credit card benefits.
Most importantly, review the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage provided by the agency so that you fully understand what you might be up for if an accident occurs.
A credit card is usually required as a security deposit to cover unforeseen potential damages and additional charges.
Do check the credit card requirements of the rental agency you choose, as some may have restrictions on the types of cards accepted or require a minimum credit limit.
Most rental agencies usually place a hold on your credit card for a security deposit, which is then released after you return the car.
When renting a car in Melbourne, there may be certain restrictions on where you can drive the rental vehicle, and they can vary depending on the rental agency and the specific terms and conditions of your rental agreement.
Read the terms and conditions provided by the rental agency carefully, as failure to comply with the restrictions can cost you more. Some common restrictions tha may or may not affect you are:
Some rental agencies may restrict where you can drive the rental car, including limitations on driving the vehicle outside of Victoria or beyond a certain distance from Melbourne.
Review the rental agreement and consult with the rental agency if you plan to travel outside the permitted areas.
Rental cars are typically intended for driving on paved roads and are not designed for off-road driving.
You’ll find that most rental agreements explicitly prohibit driving cars on unsealed or non-public roads, beaches or other off-road areas.
Violating this restriction may not only damage the vehicle but could also void any insurance coverage.
Toll Roads and Congestion Zones
Melbourne has several toll roads, including CityLink, EastLink and the West Gate Bridge.
The car rental company may be specific procedures for paying tolls, such as using an electronic tolling device provided by the rental agency or being responsible for paying tolls yourself.
Failure to comply with toll payment requirements can incur additional fees or penalties.
Melbourne’s Road Rules and Traffic Conditions
Melbourne’s road rules are generally in line with other states in Australia, with some minor differences.
Road signs in Melbourne use internationally recognised symbols and colours to convey information and warnings.
The Victoria Road Rules Handbook, available online and in print, provides a comprehensive guide to Victoria’s road rules and signs, including Melbourne.
Common road rules in Melbourne include:
- Driving on the left side of the road.
- Obeying speed limits.
- Wearing seat belts.
- Not using mobile phones while driving.
If you’re used to driving elsewhere in Australia, here are a few road rules in Victoria that may be different from other states:
In Melbourne’s CBD, some intersections require drivers to make a hook turn, a right turn made from the intersection’s left lane.
This rule is to assist the trams and prevent traffic congestion, so keep an eye out for signs indicating hook-turn intersections and follow the markings.
Trams and Tram Stops
This city has an extensive tram network, which is the main thing to remember when driving a rental car in Melbourne.
Cars must give way to trams, and you should always stop and never overtake a tram when passengers are getting on or off.
The default speed limit in Victoria is 40 km/h in school zones unless otherwise signposted.
Mobile Phone Use
Using a mobile phone while driving in Victoria is illegal, even when the vehicle is stationary at traffic lights or in congestion.
The only way you can use one is with a hands-free system or use Bluetooth. You’re not even allowed to touch an unmounted portable device when driving.
Seat Belt Usage
Seat belts must be worn by all occupants of the car when it’s moving, and it’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure passengers are wearing their seatbelts.
Traffic In Melbourne
Navigating Melbourne’s traffic can be challenging, especially during peak hours, and to avoid being stuck in traffic, it’s helpful to plan your routes and consider using a navigation app such as Google Maps or Waze.
These apps can provide real-time traffic updates and suggest alternative routes to avoid congestion.
Also, allow extra time for your journeys during peak traffic, especially in and around the central business district.
Parking and Fuel
Parking in Melbourne can be challenging in busy areas and during peak times.
Types of parking include street parking (usually more expensive in the CBD), parking garages and parking lots.
Carry some coins in case some older parking meters may not accept credit cards or require a minimum transaction amount.
Parking garages and parking lots are alternative options for longer-term parking and they usually charge an hourly or daily rate, although some offer discounted rates for overnight or extended stays.
Researching parking options to keep your parking costs as low as possible is a good idea.
Should I Rent A Car In Melbourne?
Making your mind up whether to rent a car in Melbourne or take other means of transport depends on what your plans are when visiting.
Factor in the cost of renting a car, including rental fees, insurance, fuel, parking and tolls.
Compare these costs with using public transportation or hiring rideshare services for your intended activities.
Consider any potential savings or convenience of having a rental car for grocery shopping or visiting off-the-beaten-path destinations.
If you have no experience with driving in Melbourne or on the left-hand side of the road (for visitors from countries with right-hand driving), consider the learning curve and adaptability required to navigate the streets safely.
Melbourne’s traffic can be busy during peak hours, so be prepared for potential congestion and plan your routes accordingly.