Car Hire in Melbourne
Need to hire a car in Melbourne? There are hundreds of real people’s cars of all types listed on Car Next Door. Regardless of whether you need to rent a large car to pick up relatives from the airport, a 7 seater for a family weekend away, or perhaps a small car for a trip to see friends; Car Next Door has something for you. Car Next Door cars are up to 50% lower in cost than a traditional rental car company. In fact, the average price per hour for a rental car in Melbourne is only $7.72 (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 Melbourne - useful information
Getting around Melbourne by car
Melbourne has a good public transport network with trains, trams and buses travelling regularly along different routes. If you’re exploring central Melbourne, this is the easiest way to get around. There’s so much to see outside of the city – like the Great Ocean Road and the Dandenong Ranges – and the best way to get there is by hiring a car.
Driving around Melbourne is generally straightforward as in most areas the roads are designed in a grid. There are also good freeway links in and out of the city. At peak hour, traffic on major roads and freeways can be very heavy. Unless you’re going against the traffic (away from the city in the morning, and towards the city in the evening), it’s best to avoid driving between 7am and 9am and between 4pm and 7pm.
Road rules to be aware of
If you’re not familiar with driving in Melbourne, 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, unless it’s in an approved phone cradle. Even then, the only functions you can use your phone for are to make or answer calls, play music or use the GPS. You can perform these tasks without a phone cradle provided the phone can be operated without you needing to touch it. For any other function, you must pull over and park before touching or using your phone.
You can’t turn on a red light, even if the way is clear. There are no intersections in Victoria where this is permitted.
You can do a U turn unless there’s a sign prohibiting it. You can do a U turn on most roads and at most intersections in Victoria, including at traffic lights. As long as there isn’t a ‘No U turn’ sign or a solid single or double line down the centre of the road, you can make a U turn if it’s safe.
You need to stop for trams. If a tram is stopping at a tram stop you must stop behind the tram and allow passengers to board or exit and cross the road. You can continue driving past the tram once the tram’s doors have closed and all passengers have cleared the road. There are lots of other rules about driving with trams that you should be aware of.
In central Melbourne you need to turn right from the left lane at some intersections. This is called a ‘hook turn’ and involves moving to the left lane and waiting for the lights on the road you turning into to turn green before turning.
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 Melbourne
- Great Ocean Road. 2 hours from Melbourne - Stretching 250km from Torquay to Warrnambool, this coastal drive is one of Australia’s most iconic and spectacular. Enjoy dramatic sea cliff views and make sure you stop off at the Twelve Apostles for postcard perfect picture.
- Phillip Island. 2 hours from Melbourne - If you’re keen to see some Aussie marine life, head to Phillip Island where you can visit the Koala Conservation Centre and Phillip Island Wildlife Park. Don’t miss the penguin parade at dusk when fairy penguins march along the beach just metres away from you.
- Dandenong Ranges. 1 hour from Melbourne - For a beautiful mountain drive, head east from Melbourne and up the Dandenong Ranges. Take a ride on the 120-year-old steam train Puffing Billy and enjoy tea and scones at the picturesque towns of Olinda or Sassafras.
- Daylesford. 1.5 hours from Melbourne - This quaint town has something for everything: relax at the mineral springs, browse through cute shops and the Amazing Mill Markets, enjoy lunch at the award-winning Lake House, and visit the Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm, a beautiful working lavender farm.
- Ballarat. 1.5 hour from Melbourne - This gold rush town is best known for Sovereign Hill, a recreated gold-mining town where you can pan for gold, browse the period shops on the main street and tour an underground mine. Ballarat also have an excellent art gallery and beautiful botanical gardens.
- Black Spur Drive. 1 hour from Melbourne - This road is as windy as it is beautiful and offers spectacular forest views on all sides. Stop at Healesville to visit some native Australian animals at Healesville Sanctuary, and continue on to the Yarra Valley for an afternoon of wine tasting.
Best time to visit Melbourne
Melbourne’s weather is famous for being unpredictable: it’s not uncommon for it to be beautiful one day and pouring with rain the next. Winter can be chilly with temperatures averaging around 14 degrees celsius (57.2 fahrenheit). Summer temperatures average around 26 degrees celsius (78.8 fahrenheit) but can get up to over 40 degrees celsius (104 fahrenheit).
There are also plenty of sporting events, festivals and performances to enjoy, whatever time of year you visit Melbourne.
Melbourne calendar highlights
Australian Open - The world’s biggest tennis stars come to Melbourne to fight it out at the grand slam of the Asia Pacific.
Outdoor concerts - Make the most of the summer weather with an outdoor concert. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra puts on free performances at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, or you can visit some of the best local and international acts at Melbourne Zoo’s Twilights series.
Moomba - Enjoy one of Melbourne’s biggest weekends, with rides, performances and exhibitions, and the famous Moomba parade down Swanston Street.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival - Get in a few belly laughs as the best comedians from around the world put on a month of performances all across the city.
Queen Victoria Night Markets - See a different side of one of Melbourne’s oldest institutions as the Queen Victoria Markets come alive after dark. There’s plenty of great food, musical performances and market stalls.
Melbourne International Jazz Festival - Running for over 20 years, the jazz festival brings blues and jazz music to concert halls, jazz clubs and streets all over Melbourne.
Open House Melbourne - Take a look inside some of Melbourne’s most interesting and secretive buildings. Many of these buildings are never open to the public, so this is your chance to see inside with special tours all weekend.
Melbourne International Film Festival - Enjoy a line of up of the best films from Australia and around the world.
AFL Grand Final - Melbournians love their Australian Rules Football (AFL), and the season culminates with the match at the end of September at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Melbourne Festival - The city comes alive with a program of events spanning theatre, music, dance, circus and visual arts at various venues right across the city.
Night Noodle Markets - Wander along the Yarra River at Birrarung Marr and enjoy tasty treats from some of the city’s best Asian restaurants.
Carols by Candlelight - Head to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve for Melbourne’s biggest carols by candlelight event. Get into the Christmas spirit while supporting Vision Australia.
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