Melbourne is the unofficial cultural capital of Australia, and has been repeatedly rated among the most liveable cities in the world. It’s also a great place to launch into some of Australia’s most iconic journeys - a Melbourne Airport car rental will set you up for adventures that could include one of the most beautiful coastal routes on earth, a tour through Victoria’s wine regions or even a trip into ruggedly majestic mountains.
As wonderful as Melbourne is, it would be a waste to come so close to the treasure trove of opportunities that surround the city without delving into them for at least a day or two.
Of course, whether you’re travelling to Melbourne for business or intending to use the city as a springboard for an amazing Australian vacation, securing your transportation is the first step to a successful visit.
There are many different car rental suppliers based at Melbourne Airport, which can make it a little tricky to determine which deal is really the best for your trip. However, AirportRentals.com.au allows you to compare all your Melbourne car rental options side by side, so you can quickly and easily figure which one is perfect for you then book it online without ever having to trawl through a dozens of supplier websites. This makes organising a Melbourne Airport car hire both straightforward and transparent, allowing you to get on with planning the rest of your trip.
To start booking a Melbourne Airport car hire, you’ll need to enter a few basic details about your trip in the AirportRentals.com.au search box - for example, where you need to pick up the car from, the pick up date and time, and when you’ll be dropping your vehicle back to the supplier. From there, you’ll be able to peruse all your options - you can simply scroll till you see something you like, or filter the results with criteria like car type, rental company or transmission. Once you’ve made your selection, confirming your booking will only take a few minutes - that’s it!
Melbourne Airport Car Hire Brands
When it comes to the brands offering Melbourne Airport car hire, you can expect to select from an array of well known international suppliers as well as smaller, more local brands which sometimes can offer amazing deals. Budget, Avis, Hertz and Europcar are among the more well known car rental companies based at Melbourne Airport, while smaller brands to look out for include Redspot and Firefly.
Melbourne Airport Information
Melbourne Airport has four different terminals - three domestic and one international.
Terminal 1 is for flights by Qantas group airlines, both domestic and regional.
Terminal 2 is home to all international flights, in addition to a handful of domestic services.
Terminal 3 is dedicated to flights by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines.
Terminal 4 is reserved for budget airlines.
Free WiFi is available in all Melbourne Airport terminals - the airport itself provides WiFi access in Terminal 2, 3 and 4, while Qantas offers a free WiFi connection in Terminal 1.
ATMs can be found throughout the airport, and if you’re needing to change over your foreign currency to Australian dollars (or vice versa), Travelex and ANZ can be found both landside and airside. If you find yourself with questions about the airport itself or Melbourne travel info, the Travellers’ Information Service is located on the ground floor of Terminal 2 in the International Arrivals hall.
Driving in Melbourne
As big cities go, Melbourne is relatively easy to get around by car, but there are a few road conditions that make Melbourne driving a bit different to most other places. One very important thing to note straight away is that Australians drive on the left hand side of the road, unlike most other countries. For a comprehensive look at driving in Australia, see our Australia driving guide, otherwise for more Melbourne specific advice, read on below.
If you’re used to driving on the right hand side of the road, remember to care extra care at intersections. When it comes to Melbourne specifically, trams are a major feature in the CBD and have given rise to ‘hook turn’ intersections. These intersections are always clearly marked with a ‘Right Turn from Left Only’ sign - at these intersections, drivers turning right at the traffic lights must perform a hook turn to avoid delaying trams. To do a hook turn, enter the intersection from the left lane and indicate right; move to the far left of the intersection, then when the lights are green make a wide right turn. For more tips on driving around trams in Melbourne, see the Vic Roads guide to Victorian road rules.
Like any other city, Melbourne has rush hour traffic so in order to avoid a frustratingly slow journey, try to stay off the road between 7am - 9am and 5pm - 7pm on weekdays. Unfortunately, weekends aren’t exempt from heavy traffic either, with a peak time around midday. Sunday usually finds Melbourne’s roads less congested than Saturday.
Getting from the Melbourne Airport to the CBD
The most popular way to drive between Melbourne Airport and Melbourne’s CBD is via the CityLink toll road - this will put you back about $15 depending on which exit you take. CityLink works on a free-flow tolling system known as e-TAG, and you can buy a pass at the CityLink website ahead of time or even pay up to three days after you travel. Be aware that if you take longer than three days to pay, you’ll accrue extra fees. A more roundabout route to get into the city from the airport, taking the M80 until it joins up with the M1, will avoid tolls but it can take around 15 to 20 minutes longer to get into the CBD.
Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in Melbourne is 50km per hour - this can rise up to 100km per hour on motorways outside of the city, or even 110 km per hour on some parts of the freeway. Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory for all occupants of a vehicle (this has been the case across Australia since the 60’s), and those travelling with young children should check Victoria’s child restraint requirements. Drinking and driving is illegal in Australia - the legal limit for blood alcohol in the state of Victoria is 0.05, so it’s safest not to drink at all before driving. When it comes to sharing the road with public transport in Melbourne, it’s important to remember that drivers should give way to trams, and to buses that are pulling out from a stop.
There’s no need to confine your road trip to Melbourne of course. Booking a Melbourne car rental opens up the whole state of Victoria and beyond to keen explorers. For a start, one of the world’s most stunning coastal road trip routes lies within easy driving distance of Melbourne.
The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is famed worldwide for its breathtaking coastal vistas, with one of its most iconic sights being the Twelve Apostles, towering pillars of sandstone rearing from the waves in a striking testament to the power of wind and water. If you have time for a longer road trip, consider heading northeast toward Canberra.
Australia’s capital city will present you with many opportunities to delve into the history of this nation. From Canberra it’s only a few hours to Sydney, Australia’s largest city and one of the great cosmopolitan centres of the world. At that point, the country’s east coast is yours for the taking - it’s easy to sculpt an itinerary that perfectly suits your schedule and travel style.
Heading in the opposite direction, you can point your Melbourne car rental toward Adelaide. To get the most out of this trip, you’ll want to head along the coast (including the Great Ocean Road) and take several days to reach the charming city of Adelaide. Wine aficionados should make sure to book in a wine tour in the Clare or Barossa Valley wine regions while in the Adelaide area, and those seeking adventure and the true heart of Australia will find that they’ve arrived at the perfect place to start a journey into red sands of the Outback.
If you’re really hunting for a different take on the Australian road trip experience, a ferry trip can take you and your Melbourne car rental across Bass Strait to Devonport on the northern coast of wild Tasmania. Showing off a cooler, greener side to Australia, this island state is bursting with lush forest landscapes, exotic creatures and pristine beaches.
Parking in Melbourne
Parking in Melbourne isn’t the easiest of propositions, but there are ways to minimise the hassle. Parking buildings provide one of the simplest solutions, however they tend to be quite expensive. Street parking can be quite a bit cheaper but you need to pay very careful attention to the parking signs to ensure that you’re parking in the right place, for the right amount of time. Parking fines can be fairly severe, reaching upward of $120, so be sure not to overstay. Parking at the airport shouldn’t be an issue if you’re picking up or dropping off a Melbourne Airport car rental, but in case you need it, you can book with Ace Airport Parking with rates varying according to duration.
Melbourne Petrol Stations
Your Melbourne Airport car rental will almost certainly come with a full fuel tank so there shouldn’t be any need to fuel up before setting out on your journey, but returning your car to the airport is another matter entirely. Most car rental suppliers require you to return the vehicle with a full fuel tank, so taking note of petrol stations near Melbourne Airport can make your life a lot easier. BP Connect The Tulla is located right next to the airport, however it’s generally very busy. It’s also set on the exit side of the airport, though looping back around isn’t too difficult. If you’d rather avoid the crowds, there are several other stations very nearby with three of them set close together on Mickleham Road.
Melbourne Airport Car Rental Pick Up Depots
Many car rental suppliers have pick up depots right at Melbourne Airport, while a few others are located a short distance away from the airport. If your pick up depot is located off airport, you will almost certainly be able to catch a free shuttle from your terminal to the pick up point - just make sure to find out details such as where to find the shuttle from your car rental supplier ahead of time. Brands which have rental desks at Melbourne Airport include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot, Thrifty, Auto Europe, Apollo, Firefly and Keddy.
East Coast Car Rentals is located near the airport at 2 Tarmac Drive, Tullamarine.
Atlas Car Rental can be found at 29 Catalina Drive, Tullamarine, not far from Melbourne Airport.
Bargain Car Rental has a depot not far from the airport at 10 Smolic Court, Tullamarine.
Alpha Car Rental has a pick up depot at 33 Catalina Drive, Tullamarine, near Melbourne Airport.
Advance Car Rental is located just minutes from the airport at 7 Adina Court, Tullamarine.
Ace Rental Cars can be found near Melbourne Airport at 16 Tullamarine Park Road.
A Guide to Melbourne City
Melbourne Airport Accommodation
Sometimes finding accommodation near Melbourne Airport is the easiest and most efficient option - especially if you’re only in the area for a short period of time. PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport is perfect for those who insist on top quality accommodation - the rooms are spacious with excellent views, and the amenities include a 24 hour gym, spa, lap pool and sauna. Ibis Budget is a great choice if you just want a no fuss place to stay for the night at a very decent price. Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport provides 4 ½ star accommodation just 400 metres from the airport terminals. Their Park, Stay & Go package offers 14 day secure onsite parking, ideal for those staying near the airport for business. A little further afield (but still within 5 kilometres of Melbourne Airport) is Quest Melbourne Airport - excellently furnished and equipped serviced apartments. Unless you opt for a Studio, your apartment will include a fully set up kitchen and laundry, along with amenities like a work desk, WiFi and direct dial telephones with voicemail.
Perhaps the most famous of Melbourne’s events - indeed, one of the most popular and widely followed events in Australasia - is the Melbourne Cup. This is one of the world’s top horse racing events, but there’s far more to the Melbourne Cup than the races. The Cup is a high society benchmark, a chance for people to see and be seen, with new extravagant fashions showing up every year. If you’re planning to visit Melbourne in the spring, try your best to ensure you’re in town for this huge event.
If you follow tennis at all, you’ll know that the Australian Open kicks off the Grand Slam season and sees many of the world’s top tennis players arriving in Melbourne. Those who are touching down in Melbourne during January will likely have the chance to catch a match or two, as the event lasts for a couple weeks.
Melbourne, like all of Australia’s major centres, is a coastal city - and the Festival of Sails is a thrilling celebration of Melbourne’s connection to the sea. The Festival is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest keel boat regatta and provides a day of exciting action on the water. Even if boating isn’t really your thing, the Waterfront Festival is a free community event perfect for the whole family, with fine food and wine, live entertainment and a kid’s zone.
For cinema aficionados, the Melbourne International Film Festival is a chance to see some of the best films that the world has to offer. A major event on the world film fest circuit, MIFF has red carpet glamour, international premieres… not to mention a history as one of the oldest film festivals in the world and the most important screen event in the country. The Melbourne International Film Festival is also a staunch supporter of local film, so if you’re hoping to catch a rising star in Australian cinema, your chances are good.
Taking place yearly in September/October, the Melbourne Fringe Festival is one of the biggest arts events in Australia (second only to the Adelaide Fringe), spreading across theatres, clubs and bars throughout the city. With performances ranging through comedy, film, circus, theatre, performance art and far more, everyone is bound to find at least one piece of the Melbourne Fringe Festival that appeals to them.
Food & Wine
While many cities are famous for a signature dish, Melbourne is known as a welcoming host to a vast array of flavours. In one day you can travel the world with your palate, or simply seek out the specific kind of cuisine that most appeals to you. Abbotsford’s Victoria Street will satisfy your Vietnamese cravings, Lygon Street in Inner North Melbourne is the place to go for Italian comfort food and Brunswick Street (running through Fitzroy and Fitzroy North) is ideal for vegetarians and vegans seeking healthy and ethically sourced cuisine. This is just a tiny slice of Melbourne’s foodie scene - be sure to explore for yourself and chat to the locals for their recommendations.
You’ll have to head out of the city, but not too far, to discover the wine regions surrounding Melbourne. A number of different regions encompass the city, each with their own distinct feel. Mornington Peninsula displays a rich tapestry of orchards, fields, and bushland, and specialises in rich Chardonnay and exceptional Pinot Noir. Geelong displays a distinct divide, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thriving on the coast, and acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz inland. Yarra Valley has a reputation as one of Victoria’s most well loved wine regions and it’s particularly well known for its sparkling wines. The Macedon Ranges are home of some of Victoria’s most beautiful wineries - Riesling, Chardonnay and sparkling wines rule the roost here, though the region produces many different varietals.
Geography, Culture & People
Melbourne is a port city, and exemplifies the fresh, coastal vibe that is common with many large port-based centres. This is far from Melbourne’s only defining natural feature however. The Yarra River is a major feature of the city - river cruises are a common sight and the annual Moomba Festival, Australia’s largest community festival, has been centred on the Yarra since the 1950’s.
Melbourne is well known as the cultural and sporting capital of Australia. The arts are well and truly alive in the city - from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Victorian Opera through to Melbourne’s buskers and street artists, there’s no doubt that this place is bursting with creativity. This is also the birthplace of Australian rules football (Aussie rules), and has been named the World’s Ultimate Sports City multiple times.
The people of Melbourne come from wildly different backgrounds, and cultural diversity is celebrated - Diwali, Chinese New Year and the Hispanic Latin American Fiesta are just a small handful of the events highlight the city’s myriad ethnicities.
Even if you’re not in Melbourne during one of the city’s major events, there’s more than enough here to keep you intrigued and entertained for quite some time. Families visiting the city won’t want to miss a visit to Melbourne Zoo, located just five minutes’ drive from the city centre. The little ones can get up close and personal with giant tortoises, squirrel monkeys, giraffes and more, and best of all children under 16 get in for free on the weekends.
If you’re hunting for a place to relax, recharge and escape the bustle of the city, the Royal Botanic Gardens are the ideal spot for you. This haven in the centre of Melbourne is the perfect place to recapture your serenity, whether you find a secluded spot to while away the day or roam across the gardens via the Garden Explorer.
For the ultimate Melbourne scenic experience, it’s hard to go past the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. When dusk falls, the Star lights up - three and a half kilometres of LED lighting that can generate millions of different light configurations. This is only part of the visual spectacle though. You can ride the wheel in one of the spacious cabins, rising high into the air and gaining an unparalleled view of Melbourne’s city lights.
Many cities have street art of one kind or another, but Melbourne has taken this phenomenon to a whole new level. The outpouring of visual creativity is incredible, and it’s well worth making a special trip to see - Hosier Lane, Yarra Place, and ACDC Place are just a few of the more well known street art laneways.
With a Melbourne Airport car rental, you may not need to use public transport but there are some times when taking advantage of alternative travel options just makes good sense. Obtaining a Myki smartcard will allow you to easily hop between buses, trams and trains, whether you’re in the city for a few days or just a few hours. If you’re looking for an easy way to see some of Melbourne’s most famous sights, the City Circle Tram is a free service that runs through the CBD, treating allowing visitors to get the quintessential Melbourne experience and hop off to explore at any one of the many stops.
Unlike most other Australian cities, Melbourne enjoys a fairly moderate climate with only occasional heat spikes in summer. The city is famous for its extremely changeable weather, with the phrase “four seasons in one day” often used to characterise Melbourne’s mercurial weather. No matter what the skies look like when you set out for the day, it never hurts to bring along a warm or water resistant layer.