For many people, a trip down under is a once in a lifetime experience. Learning to surf, getting sunburnt and exploring the crowds and culture of Australia’s cosmopolitan city centers is all part of the fun, but to truly experience everything Australia has to offer you’ll want to pack the car and hit the road.
Whether you plan to drive the famous Great Ocean Road in Victoria, explore Australia’s world famous wine regions or make a trip out to the iconic rainforests and Great Barrier Reef in sunny Queensland, then you’ll probably want to get yourself a car. But Australia’s unique flora and fauna aren’t the only things special to Australia.
Melbourne is famous for a few things including its coffee, laneways and hook turns. It’s Australia’s second most populous city and it’s been ranked as the world’s most livable city six years in a row. It’s a popular destination for tourists and many people choose to either begin, end or base their Australian journey around Melbourne.
Because of it’s close proximity to the Great Ocean Road, many people choose to hire a car in Melbourne. But learning to drive in this city can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re not used to driving on the left-hand side of the road.
There are plenty of great driving schools that offer cheap, one off, or even day long intensive driving lessons to tourists. They’ll be able to help you master those pesky hook turns and prepare you for driving on those very long, windy and often extremely remote roads.
Queensland’s Gold Coast is another popular tourist destination. Here you can meet Koalas at Currumbin Sanctuary, learn to surf, or as many people do begin their journey up the Sunshine Coast toward tropical beachside paradise, rainforests, and the Great Barrier Reef.
Long, straight and narrow roads add a real risk of fatigue for tourists inexperienced at driving on these kinds of roads. If you can learn some tips from a local your trip is bound to be much safer, successful and overall a much more enjoyable experience.
Once you’re ready to do so, hiring a car isn’t difficult. But you will need to come prepared. Here are three important things you’ll need to know:
Identification is mandatory for hiring a vehicle in Australia. This most often includes a driver’s license and passport. Most companies will have slightly different policies so it’s best to call and check with them exactly what you need to bring before going in to pick up your car.
It’s not mandatory to purchase insurance on your hire car, but if you don’t you may be liable for additional expenses if you get into an accident. Most hire companies offer their own insurance on their vehicles, but this price is normally not included in the price quoted to you and you may be surprised by some additional charges when you go to pick the car up.
In addition to insurance, the hire company may need to take a security deposit from you in the event that you return the car without petrol or there’s some kind of damage to the vehicle. This is like a security bond to make sure the car is returned in good condition. This will most likely need to be paid on a credit or debit card (not cash!) so that the money can be held until you return the car.
Now that you’re ready to get out there, have fun and enjoy Australia. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!