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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!
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Sometimes you’re not after a fancy holiday - all you need is a Melbourne Airport car rental to get around the city and somewhere near the airport to sleep at night. PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport is super swish, so if you’ve got the money and want to spend your Melbourne visit in style, this is a pretty nice option. Ibis Budget is on the other end of the scale: bargain accommodation with no frills but a decent reputation. Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport has 4 ½ star accommodation just 400 metres from the airport terminals and their Park, Stay & Go package sets you up with 14 days secure onsite parking, which is pretty useful for those staying close by the airport for business. If you’re happy to stray a little further from the airport (but not too much further) Quest Melbourne Airport has beautifully furnished and equipped serviced apartments. Unless you go for a Studio, you’ll have a fully decked out kitchen and laundry as well useful stuff like a work desk, WiFi and direct dial telephones with voicemail.
When it comes to Melbourne events, there’s one that stands out above all the rest as the iconic Melbourne experience: the Melbourne Cup. This not just one of the world’s top horse racing events, but there’s a lot more to the Cup than just the horse racing. This is a place to try on your snappiest or most extravagant outfits and head trackside to see and be seen. Millions of people right across Australasia follow the Melbourne Cup every year, but watching it all on TV isn’t a scratch on actually being there - so if you’re hitting Melbourne in the springtime, lock this is in for your itinerary.
If you follow tennis at all, you’ll already know all about the Australian Open and its yearly arrival in Melbourne. A bunch of the world’s top tennis players come to Melbourne to kick off the Grand Slam season, so tennis fans should consider heading to Melbourne in January to catch a match or two.
Like every other big Aussie city, Melbourne sits on the coast, and the Festival of Sails celebrates that connection to the sea. This is the biggest keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere, with heaps of exciting on-the-water action. Even if boating isn’t really your thing, head down for the Waterfront Festival - a free community event with a little something for everyone in the family: fine wine and food, live entertainment and even a kid’s zone.
Those who love their movies won’t want to miss the Melbourne International Film Festival. This is the country’s top film event, and a big deal on the international film circuit. Red carpet glamour, world premieres… MIFF has it all. It’s also a staunch supporter of the local film scene, so if you’re a movie buff hoping to catch the next big thing in Aussie cinema, the Melbourne International Film Festival is the place for you.
Every year in September/October, Melbourne goes a little crazy (in the best possible way) when the Melbourne Fringe Festival hits. This is the second biggest arts fest in Australia and spreads across theatres, clubs and bars across the city. Comedy, film, circus, theatre and performance art are just a few of the ways that Melbourne explodes with creativity and fun over this period, so no matter what you’re into, the fringe fest is sure to have something that’ll knock your socks off.
While a bunch of cities are famous for having one signature dish, Melbourne is known as a place where you can find a rich tapestry of flavours. Travel around the world with your palate or just narrow down the exact kind of food you’re craving! Abbotsford’s Victoria Street will have you tucking into delicious Vietnamese food, Lygon Street in Inner North Melbourne is the place to go for hearty Italian fare and Brunswick Street (running through Fitzroy and Fitzroy North) is a brilliant spot for vegetarians and vegans looking for healthy, ethically sourced treats. And that’s just a tiny taste of Melbourne’s foodie scene - have a chat to the locals to get the lowdown on Melburnian food you’d love.
You’ll have to head out of the city, but not too far, to discover where the region’s finest vino comes from. A few different wine regions surround Melbourne, and they all have their own distinct feel. Mornington Peninsula is blanketed in orchards, bushland and fields and specialises in Chardonnay and top-notch Pinot Noir. Geelong has two distinct parts - Pinot Noir and Chardonnay do well on the coast while acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz thrive inland. Yarra Valley is one of Victoria’s most loved wine regions and is particularly well known for its sparkling wines. Some of the most beautiful wineries in the country are nestled in the Macedon Ranges, with Riesling, Chardonnay and sparkling wines ruling the roost.
Melbourne is a port city, which gives it that fresh, coastal vibe which is common among large port-based centres, but the sea isn’t Melbourne’s only defining natural feature. The Yarra River is a big part of making the city what it is - you’ll often see people out on river cruises and Australia’s largest community fest, the Moomba Festival has taken place on the banks of the Yarra for over 50 years.
Melbourne is hands down the cultural and sporting capital of Australia. The arts are well and truly alive here, from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Victorian Opera right through to the city’s buskers and street artists. This is also the place that birthed Aussie rules football, and has been named the World’s Ultimate Sports City a bunch of times.
Melbourne’s people come from all sorts of different ethnic backgrounds, and cultural diversity is colourfully celebrated here: Diwali, Chinese New Year and the Hispanic Latin American Fiesta are just a few of the events that highlight the city’s diversity.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t work your schedule around Melbourne’s events - there’s heaps of stuff to do here all year round. For example, families won’t want to miss out on Melbourne Zoo which is set just five minutes from the city centre. The wee ones can get up close and interactive with giant tortoises, squirrel monkeys, giraffes and more - and as a nice bonus for your bank balance, children under 16 get in for free on the weekends.
Sometimes you just need to ditch the bustle of big city life and wind down with some well deserved rest and relaxation. The Royal Botanic Gardens are the perfect spot for this sort of thing. This green haven in the middle of Melbourne gives you the chance to recapture a bit of serenity, whether you find a quiet reading nook or roam the gardens via the Garden Explorer.
To really see the city of Melbourne at its most stunning, you’ve got to head to the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. When dusk falls, the Star lights up - three and a half kilometres of LED lighting that can make millions of different patterns. That’s just part of the spectacle though. Take a ride one of the wheel’s roomy cabins to rise high above the city for an unbeatable view of Melbourne’s city lights.
Street art obviously isn’t unique to Melbourne, but there’s no denying that this city has taken the art form to the next level. The variety and quality of the creations on display is frankly breathtaking - Hosier Lane, Yarra Place, and ACDC Place are just a few of the more well known street art laneways.
Thanks to your Melbourne Airport car rental, you might not ever have to deal with the city’s public transport system - but there can be times when it’s smarter or more convenient to go with alternative travel options. Getting hold of a Myki smartcard lets you hop freely between trams, buses and trains whether you’re sticking around Melbourne for a few days or just a few hours. For an easy (and free!) way to get around some of Melbourne’s most famous sights, the City Circle Tram runs through the CBD, stopping off at lots of different points of interest.
In spite of Australia’s often extreme climate, Melbourne generally has pretty moderate weather with occasional heat spikes in the summer. The city has a reputation for its changeable weather - “four seasons in one day” is a phrase that’s often bandied about to describe Melbourne’s weather, so it never hurts to bring along a warm and/or water resistant layer.
Affectionately known as ‘Melbs’ to the some 4.5 million who call it home, Melbourne is a riverside city that will steal your heart away and hide the key amongst its charming, artsy city streets. It’s known for its cafe culture, arts scene and diversity, and it’s never short on an event or two to add to the smorgasbord of activities on offer in this thriving city.
To make sure you don’t miss out on seeing any of what Victoria’s capital has to offer, rent a car in Melbourne and make your way around all of its best eateries and attractions - then to a comfortable place to rest each night! Here are some of the top sights, tastes, and places to stay in Melbourne to get you started.
Explore with Wildlife Coast Cruises
It’s hardly a visit to Melbourne without getting out on the water, and Wildlife Coast Cruises is the perfect way to do it. You’ve got a number of cruise options to choose from depending on what you’d most like to see. The seal watching trip takes you to Australia’s largest seal colony, where tours typically see as many as 5,000 seals! The twilight tour option is perfect for couples, as you can sip on a drink from the licensed on-board bar and watch as the sun goes down, occasionally spotting the odd dolphin or seal along the way. Or, pick from one of the several other sightseeing tours and enjoy this Phillip Island experience less than two hours from Melbourne with your car rental.
Be inspired at the National Gallery of Victoria
Securing Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s arts capital, the National Gallery of Victoria is the oldest and most visited gallery in the country. It’s home to work from local and international artists, with contemporary art and major international exhibitions, including sound, dance, architecture, fashion and design. With two buildings absolutely brimming with inspiring works, there’s no end to the creativity on offer here. Best of all, these artworks and creations are free to visit daily between 10am and 5pm every day of the week.
Go fish at the Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm
Fishing is a quintessential Aussie experience, but when you’re new to a city it can be tough to know where to go and how to find all the supplies you’ll need. The Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm makes all of this easy, offering the chance to fish from the indoor rainforest pool or the more challenging Trophy Lake, and even have the on-site chef turn your catch of the day into a delicious fresh meal. The 1.2-kilometre walking track adds a special element, as you can take a tour (or a self-tour) and see 27 different native species of plants that can be eaten and added to your ‘bush tucker’. Find this eco-friendly farm on Phillip Island less than two hours drive from the Melbourne CBD.
Indulge your fanaticism with Melbourne Sports Tours
Sports fan? No doubt you’re already well aware of Melbourne’s affinity with all things sporty, but you might not yet have heard about Melbourne Sports Tours. This tour company offers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the city’s top sporting stops on half, three-quarter, and full day tours. Depending on the tour option you opt for, you can check out the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the National Sports Museum, the Champions Racing Museum & Gallery, and Eliza Park (one of the country’s leading horse racing nurseries). Be sure to book ahead to secure a spot.
Do good and dine well at Charcoal Lane
Charcoal Lane is an eatery with a heart in the heart of the city. While you’ll certainly enjoy a delicious meal from the menu, there’s also a little more to this restaurant than meets the eye. It is in fact a social enterprise from Mission Australia that seeks to provide opportunities and guidance to the youth of the country who need it most. Many of these young people are Aboriginal and in need of a ‘fresh start’, which is where Charcoal Lane comes in. By providing leadership and mentoring, this eatery offers the leg-up to get into a skilled job in the hospitality industry. And of course, the meals are worth visiting for too!
Maha Restaurant is Middle Eastern with a difference. It takes all the usual flavours, textures and tastes of traditional Middle Eastern foods and gives it a twist, further ramping up the incredible dining experience that can be created with these dishes. Try one of the custom Fresh and Clean shared dishes, or pick up the ‘burger and beer’ weekday lunch specials for something that sounds as Aussie as it can get - but most definitely will offer a Middle Eastern taste twist.
The French Brasserie Restaurant
The French Brasserie Restaurant is another perfect example of Melbourne’s diverse and multicultural food-loving culture. Dine outside on the terrace for a true French vibe, or enjoy the atmosphere of the upstairs mezzanine area or at the intimate indoor tables. Everything here is created in-house, and of course you can expect the finest French cuisine in every dish. The in-house sommelier has created a divine wine list that brings together the best of both French and Australian wines to complement the menu, and the service is renowned for being second-to-none.
Clarion Suites Gateway
Stay in the midst of the action right on the banks of the Yarra River at the Clarion Suites Gateway. Each of the 120 apartment-style suites has its own kitchen and laundry, as well as broadband internet. There’s a bar and cafe on site and an indoor heated pool for a few relaxing laps during your stay. It’s ideal for business travellers with its event facilities and for tourists as it’s close to many of Melbourne’s best attractions. You can park your Melbourne car rental on-site for a $27 daily fee.
If you love history, quirkiness and a great deal, The Nunnery on Nicholson Street is the right spot for you. First built in 1888, the site was originally one of the country’s first x-ray facilities, but it was bought in 1944 and converted into a nunnery. It wasn’t until 1990 that it became a backpackers, where it now offers dorm rooms and private rooms for travellers. There is even a separate two-storey house for families or groups looking to stay in Melbourne, but no matter which room you stay in, you’ll be surrounded by character and charm!
Art Series - The Olsen
In true Melbourne style, Art Series - The Olsen embraces art in entirely new and creative ways. All 224 suites include the personal touch of Australian landscape artist Dr John Olsen, and you’ll enjoy artistic touches throughout, such as the large mural and sculpture upon entry and prints in the hallways and spaces. There are two restaurants and a day spa on site, and a whole suburb of dining and shopping on your front doorstep at this centrally located Chapel Street hotel.
Melbourne is a city of art, wining and dining, history, culture, and an endless list of things to do while you’re in town. Grab a Melbourne rental car to get around all the hot spots and explore outside of the city, and you’ll quickly discover why it’s the kind of place that’s so easy to fall in love with.