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While there are plenty of top notch holiday spots around Oz, there’s something about Brisbane that lends itself particularly well to that vacation vibe. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s just up the road from the Gold Coast, one of the top holiday destinations on earth, or the balmy weather, or the way the city’s laid out to make it easy for people to relax and enjoy the best of life. When you pick up a car hire in Brisbane, this sunny city becomes your oyster. Not only can you pick and choose from Brisbane’s many attractions, but the whole of Queensland lies open in front of you. All you have to decide is how you’ll use your newfound freedom.
Without a vehicle though, you won’t be getting too far. Researching all the different rental suppliers one by one is a pretty boring waste of time - there’s a much better option for getting your car rental sorted for your next Brisbane trip. AirportRentals.com.au brings all your options together into one place so there’s no need to go chasing all over the internet for a decent deal. Just get in, pick the one you want and get out.
Booking a cheap car rental on AirportRentals.com.au is quick, clean and painless. All you have to do is put in a few details about your trip (pick up/drop off times, locations etc) then click the big yellow “Search” button. Then you’ll get to scroll through a bunch of options from different rental suppliers, and even arrange or filter them by things like vehicle type, rental brand or transmission type. Once you’ve picked out the one for you, it’ll only take a minute or two more to sort out the details!
There’s no shortage of car rental brands at Brisbane Airport. A lot of the suppliers have become household names, like Hertz, Thrifty and Avis, but even those which aren’t as familiar like Keddy and Redspot can field some stunner deals.
Brisbane Airport has two different terminals, but there’s only one you’ll have to worry about if you’re flying from inside Australia.
● The International Terminal (unsurprisingly) covers all overseas flights coming into Brisbane, but you’ve probably already figured that one out.
● The Domestic Terminal deals with the regional flights coming into Brisbane, and is divided up into three distinct sections: one for Qantas and Qantaslink flights, one for Virgin Australia, and another for a handful of other carriers like TigerAirways, JetGo and Jetstar.
You can find mobile charging stations on Level 2 of the Domestic Terminal (Opposite Cavu in the Common User Area and at the left hand side of the common user satellite) to make sure your devices stay topped up, and free WiFi is laid on by the airport in the central section of the Domestic Terminal. Qantas and Virgin Australia have their own WiFi connections for their areas. ATMs are on every level of the Domestic Terminal so there’s no need to worry about cash, and there’s a Visitor Information Centre on Level 1 in the Central Area if you have any questions once you land.
There’s not too many tricks to getting around Brissy’s roads, with nothing weird to trip you up like Melbourne’s hook turns. Like any other big city, try to stay away from peak traffic times (8-9 AM and 5-6 PM) to avoid major time wastage, and be aware that parking in the inner city will be pretty pricey. The exception to this are the weekends, when you can often park all day for a small flat fee then roam the city on foot. Generally the speed limit in Brisbane will be 50 km/h - if you’re driving on a traffic carrying road that has a limit of 60 km/h or higher, you’ll see regular signs along the way. Just in case you’re reading this from outside Australia, don’t forget that we drive on the left hand side of the road here - it’s not too tricky really, just stay alert at intersections and you’ll be driving like a born Aussie in no time. If you are unfamiliar with Australian roads, take a quick look over our Australia driving guide to brush up before you head over.
It’s pretty straightforward getting from Brisbane Airport into the city when you opt for the AirportlinkM7 route. This will have you in the heart of Brisbane in about 20 to 30 minutes - the only downside is that this is a toll road. There are no cash booths, so you’ll need to pay online either before you travel or up to three days afterward.
Road rules in Brisbane are pretty standard. Keep an eye out for speed limit signs but if you’re in a built up area and aren’t quite sure how fast to go, a safe bet is 50 km/h. The legal blood alcohol in Queensland is 0.05, but for those with a Learner’s permit or Provisional licence it’s 0. Either way, it’s not a forgiving limit, so if you’ve had anything to drink it’s best not to drive.
This isn’t something you’ll have to concern yourself with straight away, because any car rental you’re picking up from Brisbane Airport should come with a full tank of fuel. It’s on the way back, when you’re returning your car hire to Brisbane Airport, that you’ll need to find a nearby service station. Unless you’ve snagged a special deal (which will be specified in your rental agreement) you’ll have to return your rental with a fully topped up tank of petrol. The BNE Service Centre is directly on airport, which is both a pro and a con. On the upside, you can’t beat the convenience factor, but there’s also the fact that everyone else will be taking advantage of the station’s location, so things can get pretty hectic. A few other petrol stations nearby include Freedom Fuels Nudgee, BP on Toombul Road and Caltex Eagle Farm.
Sticking around Brisbane for a bit is a great idea, but don’t forget that the surrounding area has just as much to offer, if not much more. When you hire a car in Brisbane, a huge section of Queensland opens up for your exploration. Setting out on a car trip from Brissy is fantastic way to kickstart a carefree holiday on the road.
This isn’t a lengthy trip - it can be done in one day, return - but when you get to your destination you’ll feel a million miles away from the big city. North Stradbroke Island is a stunningly pristine sand island, one of the largest in the world, and a paradise for those seeking beautiful beaches. Just be aware that some places on the island are only accessible with a 4WD vehicle.
This journey is all about the scenery. Rolling hills, verdant vineyards and breathtaking waterfalls are just a small handful of the picture perfect vistas you’ll come across as you head inland before looping back toward the coast. Make sure you don’t bypass Tamborine Mountain: embark on a bushwalk trail, browse handmade goods from local artists or just chill in one of the many charming cafes - the choice is yours.
If you’re keen to follow the footsteps of some of Australia’s first intrepid settlers, Adventure Way is waiting. This route will take you pretty much directly west, passing through Toowoomba before heading on into the Outback. Steeped in history and full of awesomely desolate vistas, this will leave you with a new appreciation for the vast and alien nature of the Australian Outback.
Set aside a few days to wind your way down the coast to the shining city of Sydney. Not only will you be heading for a pretty awesome destination, there’s all kinds of attractions in store along the way. Eat and drink your way around Pokolbin and the Hunter Valley, catch some waves on the Central Coast, go for a spot of whale watching at Byron Bay… the only thing limiting you is time, so much sure you’ve got as much as possible.
Before you go yawning your way through this section, consider this - the info below could make your life a lot easier when you land in Brisbane. A lot of the car hire suppliers based out of Brisbane Airport have desks in-terminal, though a few are based a few minutes away from the airport. If you’re wondering how you’ll get to the pick up point, don’t worry: there’ll be a free shuttle to transfer you from the terminal to the depot. Just check with your supplier to find out where the shuttle will leave from. Rental companies that have desks in-terminal include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty. AutoEurope will be serviced at either the Europcar or Thrifty desk while Apollo and Firefly can be found with Hertz and Keddy is based at the Europcar desk.
● East Coast Car Rentals is based near the airport at 504 Nudgee Road, Hendra.
● Atlas Car Rental has a depot at 78 Toombul Road, Northgate.
● Alpha Car Rental has their rental depot at 128 Gerler Road, Hendra.
● Bliss car hire is handled by Got 2 Go Car Hire, just a five minute shuttle ride from the airport.
Airportrentals.com.au offers great deals all over the world. Compare and save!
Setting out for adventure is great if you have the time, but if you’re just in Brisbane briefly for business, maybe all you need is a car to get around the city and somewhere close to the airport to stay. Novotel Brisbane Airport is a popular choice for many thanks to its proximity to the airport, though it is a bit on the pricier side. Ibis Budget Brisbane Airport pretty much lives up to its name: rooms are generally clean though very basic, and the price reflects this. Comfort Inn and Suites Northgate Airport walks the line between the two - this isn’t luxury accommodation by any means but the rooms are clean, comfortable and quite near the airport.
There’s no shortage of great sights and year-round attractions in and around Brisbane, but getting a taste of one of Brisbane’s many events while you’re in the area will give you a fun insight into the city’s culture. September’s Brisbane Festival is without a doubt one of the biggest and most multifaceted events on the calendar. Including all kinds of different events on its programme from theatre to music, circus to dance, it attracts around a million audience members every year. This is a relatively new fest, but already it’s found a place in the hearts of Brisbanites and many others across Australia who’ve come to visit.
You might be partial to a sly snicker or a boisterous bellylaugh, but whatever your flavour of laughter, you’re sure to find plenty of it at the Brisbane Comedy Festival in February/March. Held at the Powerhouse, Queensland’s home of thriving modern culture, the annual Comedy Fest features dozens of international and Aussie comedians over almost a month of top notch side-splitting performances.
You don’t have to have Greek heritage to enjoy the Paniyiri Greek Festival - anyone can appreciate the exuberant display of culture, cooking demonstrations, and lots and lots of delicious food. Honey puffs, souvlakia, grilled haloumi cheese… It’s worth planning your Brisbane getaway for May for the food alone!
Tennis fans looking for a fix before the Grand Slam season hits off have to be in Brisbane in January. The Brisbane International is widely known as the event to play in preparation for the Grand Slam, and annually hosts some of the best tennis stars on earth.
Brisbane doesn’t really have a single dish which it can claim as its own, but in spite (or maybe because) of that, Brisbane is home to an impressive range of multi-ethnic foods. Whether you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a completely new dish or are keen to hunt out one particular ethnic treat that you’ve been craving, the mind-boggling selection of Brisbane’s diverse eateries will see you right.
Those seeking the best that fine dining can offer should consider a trip to Riverside Centre and Eagle Street Pier. This is where many of Brisbane’s most prestigious and highly awarded restaurants are based, with most of them offering first-class views over Brisbane River.
If it’s traditional, tasty southeast asian cuisine you’re after though, Fortitude Valley is the place for you. Thai, Chinese/Cantonese, Malaysian, Cambodian… all these cooking traditions and a lot more are represented here. It’s well worth taking a stroll around the area before you decide where to eat, as you may just be tempted by something totally unexpected.
To really taste Brisbane’s cosmopolitan side though, you have to pop down to South Bank Parklands. There’s something here for just about every palate and budget, whether you’re just looking for some modern Australian tucker, an Italian feast, Greek specialties or any of a dozen cuisines in between.
You’ll need to take a bit of a drive to discover some of the best wineries around Brisbane, but the journey will be well worth it. About an hour southwest of Brissy lies Scenic Rim Wine Country featuring seven different wineries in an idyllic countryside setting. Make sure you’ve got a sober driver sorted ahead of time, because you won’t want to miss out on wine tasting to your heart’s content.
Much like Australia’s other big cities, Brisbane takes a lot of its character from its coastal location. The Brisbane River is pretty prominent too, running right through the centre of the city, and hills dominate much of the city. The varied geography definitely adds a bit of visual flavour to the city, but it doesn’t make it any harder to get around.
Brisbane is a real international flavour, with almost 30% of its residents having been born overseas and nearly 18% of households speaking a language other than English.
Working your travel dates around a few of Brisbane’s events can be an awesome way to spice up your trip, but if you just can’t swing it, no worries! There’s heaps to keep you engaged and entertained in Brisbane no matter when your trip is scheduled for.
A favourite destination for children and adults alike is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. This is the world’s first koala sanctuary, and one of the few places in the world where you can cuddle one of these furry critters for free. It’s not just koalas that live here though - the sanctuary is home to all sorts of Aussie animals including kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, cassowaries and echidnas. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is just 12km from Brisbane, so you can be there in no time.
A lot of public gardens can end up looking pretty similar, but the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha have a distinctly different feel to most, thanks to their subtropical nature. This gives the place a lush, almost rainforest-like vibe - although there are a bunch of different sections to the gardens, so no matter what kind of environment you’re going for, you’re likely to find it.
The city’s botanic gardens definitely offer one kind of relaxation, but if retail therapy is your way of unwinding then Brisbane has you covered there too. With more than 700 different retailers in the Queen Street Mall precinct, this is undeniably the beating heart of the Brisbane shopping scene. Once you’ve shopped till you’ve dropped, you can keep the good times rolling with a movie at the cinema, a trip to the beauty salon or a flutter at the casino - not to mention the museums, day spas, restaurants and bars within easy walking distance.
Story Bridge across the Brisbane River is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and is a prominent feature of the Riverfire pyrotechnics display, but for a real scenic treat, go out on a limb and try out a Story Bridge Adventure Climb. You can’t get better views of Brisbane than this - standing at the summit of the bridge 80 metres above sea level with the city stretching out in all directions. You don’t even need to be particularly fit to tackle this climb, as it’s taken at a super relaxed pace to accommodate all ages.
For those who’ve snagged a Brisbane Airport car hire, public transport might not be too much of a going concern, but there’s always a chance you’ll run into circumstances that mean it’s better to ditch the car and use alternative transport. If you think you’ll be using public transport quite a bit during your stay in Brissy, consider picking up a Translink go card, which can be used for all Translink services in and around the city. There are also a few free bus and ferry services that run around Brisbane’s inner city precincts.
Brisbane is far north enough that is never gets too chilly - the subtropical climate means it tends to be humid, especially during the summer when temperatures top out around 30 degrees on average. Winter is obviously cooler (though never too cold) with a lot less humidity, making Brisbane an ideal winter escape for those from more southerly, chillier, climes.
Airportrentals.com.au offers great deals all over the world. Compare and save!