Car Hire in Canberra
Looking for a rental car in Canberra? At Car Next Door, we have hundreds of cars of all types that belong to real people. Regardless of whether you need a small car to visit family or friends out of town, a large car for a fishing trip, or a 7 seater for a school run; Car Next Door has something for you. Our cars can be up to 50% lower in cost than a traditional hire car company. In fact, the average price per hour for a rental car in Canberra is just $8.24 (plus fuel) with Car Next Door. It’s free to become a member, and because the keys are at the car, you can skip the rental counter!
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Hiring a car in Canberra - useful information
Getting around Canberra by car
Because of Canberra’s deliberate town planning, it’s really easy to get around. Buses run regularly throughout the suburbs and into the city, so it’s pretty easy to get to the main shops, museums and attractions. There are lots of places worth visiting a little further afield, and the best way to get there is by hiring a car.
Traffic is Canberra is generally very light. It’s best to avoid driving in peak hour – from 7am to 9am and from 4pm to 6pm – but even if you have to the extra traffic won’t add too long to your trip.
Road rules to be aware of
If you’re not familiar with driving in Canberra, there are a few road rules you should brush up on before you get behind the wheel:
You can’t touch your mobile phone while driving. You can use your phone to make or receive a call if it’s mounted in a phone cradle, or if you can operate it without needing to touch the phone. For any other function, you need to pull over and park your car before touching your phone.
You can’t turn on a red light, at most intersections even if the way is clear. There are a few intersections in Canberra where you can turn left at a red light after coming to a complete stop, and these are clearly signed. If there’s no sign permitting it, you can’t turn left on a red light.
You can’t do a U turn unless there’s a sign permitting it. You can’t do a U turn at intersections without traffic lights unless there is a U turn permitted’ sign. At intersections with traffic lights you can make a U turn unless there’s a ‘No U turn’ sign.
Pedestrians sometimes have right of way at intersections. Pedestrians will sometimes get a green light at the same time as turning traffic. You must wait for any pedestrians to cross the road before you can turn.
You must park ‘facing the direction of traffic’, which means the car must be parked facing the direction it would be if it were driving down that road. In Australia where we drive on the left side of the road, this means the passenger side of the car needs to be closest to the kerb.
Top destinations to drive to in and around Canberra
- Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. 50 minutes from Canberra - This protected area just outside of Canberra is home to lots of native Australian animals in their natural habitat. There are also plenty of walking trails, including the Aboriginal Heritage Walk.
- Murrumbateman. 40 minutes from Canberra - A short drive from Canberra will find you in wine country where you have your pick of excellent wineries for an afternoon of wine tasting. Clonakilla, Murrumbateman Winery, Shaw Wines and Four Winds Vineyard are all well worth a visit.
- Yass Valley. 1 hour from Canberra - Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff or just like to browse a shop or market, you’ll love the Yass Valley. Explore the natural limestone of Careys Cave in Wee Jasper, browse through the many shops in Yass, or visit some of the historic cottages in Wallaroo and Yass.
- Batemans Bay. 2 hours from Canberra - The New South Wales south coast is a popular destination for Canberrans looking to escape the city, and Batemans Bay is one of the most beautiful spots along the coast. There are pristine beaches as well as Birdland Animal Park where you can see some native Aussie creatures.
- Goulburn. 1 hour from Canberra - This regional its has its origins in wool production, and the Big Merino at the visitor centre pays homage to that. There are also plenty of niche shops to browse, historic homes to wander through, and some great restaurants and cafes.
- Kangaroo Valley. 2.5 hours from Canberra - Kayak through the valler along the Kangaroo River or explore the Morton National Park and do the Fitzroy Falls walking track to see platypi and lyrebirds in their natural habitat.
Best time to visit Canberra
Canberra gets very hot in summer and very cold in winter. In summer, average temperatures sit around 29 degrees celsius (84.2 fahrenheit). In winter, it drops as low as 11 degrees (69.8 fahrenheit), and it’s not uncommon for it to get to 0 degrees or below at night time. Even during winter most days are really sunny, so as long as you’re rugged up you can still enjoy all the city has to offer.
There are also plenty of sporting events, festivals and performances to enjoy, whatever time of year you visit Canberra.
Canberra calendar highlights
Australia Day - Head to Regatta Point on 26 January to celebrate Australia Day with live music, great food and a night time fireworks display.
National Multicultural Festival - Celebrate the diversity of the Australian people and enjoy food, performances and music from cultures all over the world.
Royal Canberra Show - Enjoy a weekend of agricultural shows, rides, petting zoos and fireworks at one of Canberra’s favourite events, held since 1908.
Enlighten Festival - See the parliamentary buildings like never before as the buildings are lit up by colourful projections and street artists transform the area into an arts precinct.
Skyfire - Enjoy stunning displays of fireworks over Lake Burley Griffin set to the soundtrack of live performances from some of Australia’s best artists.
National Folk Festival - Over 200 local and international acts head to Canberra to celebrate blues, roots, gypsy and celtic music.
Canberra International Music Festival - A celebration of chamber and orchestral music, the festival sees performances by some of the best orchestras from around the world.
Wintervention - Why stay indoors when the city is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with open air ice skating rink, markets and live music.
Fireside Festival - Warm up with a two-week program of food and wine at some of the best wineries in the Canberra region.
Canberra Writers Festival - This celebration of reading and writing features talks from local and international authors held at Canberra institutions like the National Library of Australia, Old Parliament House and the National Press Club.
Floriade - Welcome spring with stunning floral displays in Commonwealth Park on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Enjoy the vibrant blooms, cooking demonstrations and gardening tips.
Canberra International Film Festival - This annual event celebrates the best of cinema from Australia and around the world, with a focus on films made right in the Canberra region.
Canberra Nara Candle Festival - To celebrate Canberra’s relationship with its Japanese sister city, Nara, the festival hosts a range of Japanese activities like calligraphy, lantern making and origami. At sunset, 2,000 candles light up the Lennox Gardens.
New Year’s Eve - Ring in the new year with entertainment, food and fireworks displays in Canberra’s city centre.