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Oceania > Australia > Brisbane

See: Why rent a car in Brisbane ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in Brisbane?

Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.

That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!

  • The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
  • How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
  • Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
  • Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?

Is it worth hiring a car in Brisbane?

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Brisbane car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.

How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Brisbane with other destinations locally and around the world.

This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.

Should I rent a car in Brisbane? 

This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Brisbane, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

Our car hire advice for Brisbane starts with quite a few pointers to suggest that a rental car isn’t really necessary, and these include the fact that Brisbane has a well-developed public transport network. This isn’t just obvious and visible in terms of local rail services, which include a direct link to Brisbane airport, but Brisbane also has a well-developed bus system, including a wide range of mass transit bus ways, with two bus tunnels intersecting with each other through the city centre.

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. 

We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Brisbane is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Brisbane? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.


Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Brisbane between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 3/10

Non car score:2/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -


Needless to say, if you are landing in Brisbane to carry onwards towards the Great Barrier Reef, there are also numerous coastal activities which would involve nothing other than parking up a hire car if you have one, so you’d get little usage out of it.
However, for anything longer than a few days or a weekend, then a hire car is almost certainly going to become very useful, because if you want to visit any of the scenic areas beyond Brisbane and the Gold Coast Metropolis, a hire car is almost certainly going to be best. This advice would apply even more strongly if you plan to head inland, rather than just sticking to the coast.

Why? Visiting Brisbane using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Brisbane ?

• Generally, a hire car will provide more flexibility, unless you are just staying in the city of Brisbane.

Why not? Visiting Brisbane without a car

Why don't you need a car in Brisbane ?

• Public transport, including local rail and express bus service is relatively good, especially compared to other Australian cities of a similar size (Perth etc).

Ratings: How does Brisbane compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Brisbane? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Brisbane, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?



Do you need to hire a car in Brisbane? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Brisbane (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Brisbane? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel


Car hire basics:


Public transportation basics:


Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):


As you start ....

Does Brisbane airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No






Has our advice for Brisbane car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 7

2019 - 7

2021 - 6

Average score - 7


Revised appraisal of public transport.



Do you or don't you need a car in Brisbane ?

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