For the first time visitor, Melbourne represents something of an irony. The city sprawls far and wide around the Geelong Bay, making it one of the largest city administrations on earth, despite a relatively low population (for a global city), and an extremely low population density. Yet perhaps only after San Francisco or Amsterdam, one of the most enduring icons of Melbourne is the trams.
The city also has a reasonable network of urban bike paths and green corridors, but this is only “reasonable” by Australian or British standards, not by Continental European standards!
So our general advice has to be that Melbourne is the sort of city that is much easier to get around by car, and that the car is also going to be extremely useful for visiting one of the many natural parks and other scenic areas that are easy enough to access just beyond the city.
However, the world-famous Puffing Billy steam railway is also situated just outside Melbourne. True rail cranks will probably want to take the train there from Flinders Street station, but it’s a slow suburban line, so if you’re going to get a rental car anyway, it’s easy enough just to park at the start of the line.
Melbourne car hire verdict
Melbourne has enough of an urban rail network to make it perfectly easy to visit without getting a hire car, but there’s a great deal to see just beyond the city, and with an easy day’s drive from Melbourne, and for this, would recommend getting one.
Verdict – yes