Oceania > Australia > Melbourne
See: Why rent a car in Melbourne ? | 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 Melbourne?
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 Melbourne?
This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Melbourne 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 Melbourne 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 Melbourne?
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 Melbourne, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.
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.
Please note that Carornocar.com 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.
Melbourne 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 Melbourne?
Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.
Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Melbourne between the peak and the off peak season?
5/10 (0 = stable prices)
Driving score: 6/10
Non car score:5/10
(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)
General comment -
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!
Why? Visiting Melbourne using a hire car
Why do you need a car in Melbourne ?
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.
Why not? Visiting Melbourne without a car
Why don't you need a car in Melbourne ?
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.
Ratings: How does Melbourne compare?
Is it worth hiring a car in Melbourne? TBC
This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Melbourne, 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 Melbourne? TBC
This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Melbourne (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 Melbourne? 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
High Speed Rail:
Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):
As you start ....
Does Melbourne airport have a direct rail link?
(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No
Has our advice for Melbourne car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?
2017 - 6
2019 - 6
2021 - 6
Average score - 6
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.
Do you or don't you need a car in Melbourne ?