Discovering Melbourne by Car: A Journey Through the City’s Highlights

Melbourne, the vibrant capital of Victoria, is a city that effortlessly blends modern sophistication with rich cultural heritage. On my recent trip, I decided to explore Melbourne by car to fully immerse myself in its diverse neighborhoods, iconic landmarks, and hidden gems.

In Melbourne, the transportation is convenient. Renting a car also gave me the flexibility to create my own itinerary, visit places off the beaten path, and experience the city at my own pace. Here’s a detailed account of my car rental experience and the five high-rated car rental companies I recommend for your Melbourne adventure.

Renting a Car in Melbourne

For this trip, I chose Hertz as my car rental provider. Hertz has a solid reputation for reliability and excellent customer service, which made it an easy choice. The process of booking a car through their website was straightforward and efficient. Hertz offers a wide range of vehicles to suit different needs and budgets, from compact cars to luxury sedans and SUVs. I opted for a mid-sized sedan, which struck a perfect balance between comfort and fuel efficiency.

The Hertz rental office I used is conveniently located in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, at 114 Franklin Street. This central location made it easy to pick up and drop off the car, especially since my hotel was just a short walk away. For those arriving at Melbourne Airport, Hertz also has a rental office there, providing seamless service for international and domestic travelers.

Upon arrival at the Hertz office, I was greeted by friendly and professional staff who guided me through the rental process. They were thorough in explaining the rental agreement, insurance options, and vehicle features. The entire process took about 20 minutes, and I was on the road in no time.

The car I rented was in excellent condition, clean, and equipped with modern amenities like GPS navigation, which proved invaluable for navigating Melbourne’s streets. Hertz also offers a handy mobile app that allows you to manage your booking, extend your rental period, and find nearby Hertz locations.

Hertz offers competitive pricing, with various discounts available for online bookings, AAA members, and frequent renters. I found their rates reasonable, especially considering the quality of service and vehicle condition. They also provide several optional add-ons, such as child seats, additional drivers, and insurance packages, which can be customized to your needs.

I had a fantastic experience with Hertz. The combination of excellent customer service, convenient location, and high-quality vehicle made my trip smooth and enjoyable. I highly recommend Hertz for anyone looking to rent a car in Melbourne. I would rate them a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Five High-Rated Car Rental Companies in Melbourne

1. Avis Car Rental

Avis is another well-known car rental company with a strong presence in Melbourne. They offer a wide selection of vehicles, from economy cars to luxury models, catering to different preferences and budgets. Avis is praised for its efficient service and transparent pricing. Their main office is located at 123 Collins Street, a prime location in the CBD.

Key Features:

– Wide range of vehicles

– Efficient online booking system

– Multiple locations, including Melbourne Airport

– Competitive pricing with various discount options

2. Budget Car Rental

Budget Car Rental lives up to its name by providing affordable car rental options without compromising on quality. They have a user-friendly website that makes booking quick and easy. Budget’s office at 99 Spencer Street is conveniently located near Southern Cross Station, making it a great choice for travelers arriving by train.

Key Features:

– Affordable rates

– Wide vehicle selection

– Convenient pick-up and drop-off locations

– Excellent customer service

3. Thrifty Car Rental

Thrifty is known for its reliable service and well-maintained fleet. Their location at 380 Lonsdale Street is easily accessible for those staying in the CBD. Thrifty offers a variety of vehicles, including vans and trucks, which are perfect for larger groups or those needing extra space.

Key Features:

– Reliable and well-maintained vehicles

– Competitive pricing

– Convenient location in the CBD

– Various vehicle options, including larger models

4. Europcar

Europcar is a global brand with a strong reputation for quality and service. In Melbourne, their office at 22 Kavanagh Street, Southbank, is ideal for those exploring the arts and entertainment precinct. Europcar offers a wide range of vehicles and flexible rental terms, making it a popular choice for both short and long-term rentals.

Key Features:

– High-quality vehicles

– Flexible rental terms

– Excellent customer service

– Convenient location in Southbank

5. Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Enterprise is known for its exceptional customer service and extensive network of locations. Their Melbourne office at 33 Caravel Lane, Docklands, is perfect for those looking to explore the waterfront and nearby attractions. Enterprise offers a variety of vehicles and additional services like car delivery to your location.

Key Features:

– Exceptional customer service

– Extensive network of locations

– Wide range of vehicles

– Additional services like car delivery

Exploring Melbourne by Car

Renting a car in Melbourne allowed me to explore the city and its surroundings in a way that public transportation couldn’t match. Here’s a glimpse of some of the places I visited and activities I enjoyed during my stay.

Day Trips and Excursions

Great Ocean Road

One of the most iconic drives in Australia, the Great Ocean Road, is a must-visit for anyone with a rental car. This scenic drive stretches along the southwestern coast of Victoria and offers breathtaking views of the ocean, cliffs, and rainforests. Highlights include the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks rising majestically from the ocean, and the charming seaside town of Lorne.

Yarra Valley

A short drive from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is famous for its wineries and stunning landscapes. I spent a day touring vineyards, tasting world-class wines, and enjoying gourmet food at local restaurants. The region is also home to the Healesville Sanctuary, where you can get up close with native Australian wildlife.

Melbourne’s Iconic Landmarks

Federation Square

Located in the heart of Melbourne, Federation Square is a cultural hub with galleries, museums, and cafes. With my rental car, I could easily visit Fed Square, park nearby, and explore its various attractions, including the Ian Potter Centre and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens offer a serene escape from the bustling city. Driving to the gardens was straightforward, and parking was available nearby. I spent a relaxing afternoon strolling through the beautifully landscaped grounds, enjoying the diverse plant collections and picturesque lakes.

Dining and Entertainment

Southbank Promenade

Southbank Promenade is a vibrant area along the Yarra River, known for its restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. Having a rental car made it easy to drive to Southbank, find parking, and enjoy a night out. The promenade offers stunning views of the city skyline and a lively atmosphere.

St. Kilda

St. Kilda is a popular beachfront suburb with a bohemian vibe. I drove to St. Kilda to enjoy its famous beach, historic Luna Park, and the eclectic mix of cafes and shops along Acland Street. The area is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars and live music venues.

Practical Tips for Renting a Car in Melbourne

Booking Platforms

There are several platforms where you can book a rental car in Melbourne. I used Hertz’s official website, but other reliable options include, Expedia, and Kayak. These platforms offer price comparisons, user reviews, and convenient booking options.

Navigating Melbourne

Driving in Melbourne is relatively easy, with well-maintained roads and clear signage. However, be aware of the city’s tram system and the unique “hook turn” intersections in the CBD, which require turning right from the left lane to avoid blocking trams.


Parking in Melbourne can be challenging, especially in the CBD. Look for public parking garages and metered street parking. Some hotels also offer parking facilities for guests. Be sure to check parking regulations and fees to avoid fines.

Fuel and Costs

Fuel prices in Melbourne are comparable to other major cities in Australia. Most rental cars come with a full tank policy, meaning you need to return the car with a full tank of fuel. Plan your refueling stops to avoid extra charges.

Renting a car in Melbourne was an excellent decision that greatly enhanced my travel experience. It provided the freedom to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods, iconic landmarks, and beautiful surroundings at my own pace.

The convenience, flexibility, and comfort of having a rental car made my trip memorable and enjoyable. Whether you’re planning a short visit or an extended stay, I highly recommend renting a car to fully experience all that Melbourne has to offer. Safe travels!

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