Car Hire in Sydney
Do you need to hire a car in Sydney? There are hundreds of cars belonging to real people on Car Next Door. It doesn't matter if you need a small car to see friends out of town, a large car to take relatives to the airport, or a 7 seater for a weekend away with mates; Car Next Door has something for you. Borrowing a car from your neighbour 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 Sydney is just $7.89 (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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Useful Information about Sydney
Getting around Sydney by car
The best way to get around central Sydney is by public transport, but to see the sights further away from the city, a hire car is the quickest and easiest option.
Sydney is a big city and at peak hour traffic can be very heavy. Avoid driving at peak times – between 7am and 9am, and between 4pm and 7pm – to beat the worst of the traffic. If you do need to travel during the morning or evening peak, allow plenty of extra time.
Road rules to be aware of
If you’re not familiar with driving in Sydney, 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, except for navigation if it’s in an approved phone cradle. To make or answer calls or play music, your phone must be in a phone cradle and able to be operated without touching it. For any other function, you must pull over and park before touching your phone.
You can’t turn on a red light, even if the way is clear. There are only a small number of intersections in New South Wales that allow this and they are clearly signed. If there’s no sign permitting it, you can’t turn on a red light.
You can’t do a U turn unless there’s a sign permitting it. Unlike other Australian states, in New South Wales you can only do a U turn at an intersection if there’s a sign stating ‘U turn permitted’.
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 Sydney
- Palm Beach. 1 hour from Sydney - Home to one of Australia’s longest-running TV shows, Home and Away, Palm Beach is the perfect place to relax and explore. You can cruise the clear water on a charter boat or head on a kayaking tour.
- Port Stephens. 2.5 hours from Sydney - Just North of Newcastle, Port Stephens is the place to go for those seeking an adventure - where else can you go on a camel ride, snorkel with dolphins, and sandboard down beach dunes? Those without a fear of heights can rock climb at the sea cliffs and be rewarded with birds eye views across the ocean.
- Royal National Park. 1 hour from Sydney - This short but incredibly scenic drive is a must do for visitors and locals alike. There are plenty of bushwalking, swimming and canoeing options in the national park, but the views from the road along the famous Sea Cliff Bridge make this trip worth it in themselves.
- Jervis Bay. 3 hours from Sydney - If you’re up for a longer drive, continue through Royal National Park and Wollongong and on to the stunning Jervis Bay. Here you’ll find Hymans Beach with some of the whitest sand in the world, and Booderoo National Park with endless pristine beaches and the haunted Cape St George Lighthouse.
- Blue Mountains. 1 hour from Sydney - There’s nothing better than a winding mountain drive, and this is one of Australia’s best. Head to the Three Sisters lookout for postcard perfect views, take the Grand Canyon track loop walk, explore unique shops and cafes at Katoomba and Leura, or settle in for a picnic at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.
- Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo. 5.5 hours from Sydney - It’s well worth the long drive to experience something a little different: an African safari in the middle of New South Wales. This open range zoo is home to zebras, giraffes, rhinos, lions and elephants, and you can see them all from the window of a safari bus.
Best time to visit Sydney
Sydney’s weather is mild all year round, with plenty of sunshine even in the colder months. It’s best known for its hot summers, when temperatures average around 26 degrees celsius (78.8 fahrenheit) but can get up to over 40 degrees celsius (104 fahrenheit) - so you’ll want to rent a car with air conditioning! In winter temperatures average 17 degrees celsius (62.6 fahrenheit).
There are also plenty of sporting events, festivals and performances to enjoy, whatever time of year you visit Sydney.
Sydney calendar highlights
Sydney Festival - The whole city comes alive with a range of cultural events and performances at various locations across Sydney.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras - Celebrate LGBTQI diversity at one of the world’s biggest and most colourful parties, culminating in the famous parade through central Sydney.
Sydney Royal Easter Show - Fun for all the family with rides, show bags, special performances and displays in celebration of all aspects of Australian culture.
Vivid Sydney - A beautiful display of lights that sees Sydney’s icons like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge lit up in a feast of colours.
Sydney Film Festival - Enjoy some of the best films from across the country and around the world.
Dubbo Stampede - Run around the Western Plains Zoo and raise money for charity. Choose from 5km, 10km, half marathon or full marathon, and run with the safari animals.
Tulip Time - Drive to Bowral for one of Australia’s oldest and largest floral festivals, featuring over 100,000 tulips
NRL Grand Final - Most of New South Wales is Rugby League crazy, and the season culminates with the final match at the end of September.
Sculpture by the Sea - Sydney’s most iconic stretch of coastline, from Bondi to Tamarama, is transformed into a two-kilometre sculpture park.
Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro - See some of the world’s best surfers compete at Port Stephens, a 2.5 hour drive from Sydney.
New Year’s Eve - Ring the new year with a spectacular fireworks display right on Sydney Harbour.