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Explore Melbourne with car hire from DriveNow
Melbourne can best be described as an urban playground. You never know what each laneway will hold, whether it be a quaint, cultured wine bar or an abandoned garage that’s been transformed into the newest, hippest hangout spot. The capital of Victoria is second only to Sydney when it comes to Australian city population and, even though often referred to as the New South Wales giant’s little brother, rivals its northern neighbour in terms of sheer amount of places to go and things to do and see.
However, to simply paint Melbourne as a collection of trendy hotspots would be to insult the other fantastic aspects of this incredible city. In addition to the never-ending range of places to eat, drink, listen to music, and buy one-of-a-kind goods, you’ll also find solid institutions and pathways to adventure outside the CBD. The opportunity to travel a short distance to check out these attractions, as well as the city’s wonderful grid street system, makes car hire in Melbourne all the more useful for your trip.
Compare Cheap Car Rental in Melbourne with DriveNow
Whatever your rental needs, DriveNow has the solution. Since 2003 we have been comparing the cost of car rental in Melbourne to help travellers find the best available deal. DriveNow’s online comparison service takes the stress and hassle out of securing cheap Melbourne car hire, all at no additional cost to you.
We have forged partnerships with some of Australia’s most recognised and trusted car rental brands, including Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty, and many more to allow you to compare and select from the widest choice of rental providers.
Our comparison engine automatically searches for the latest deals on car hire in Melbourne to give you the best price on a huge range of vehicles, including sports cars, small to medium sized vehicles, SUV and 4WDs, and small cars that are budget friendly and fuel efficient.
We're serious about providing the cheapest available prices on rental cars in Melbourne. So much so that our rates are backed by our price-match guarantee. We don't believe in charging booking or administration fees, and in the event your travel plans change there are no cancellation penalties. We don't hide charges either – what you see on the screen is what you pay. The only added costs are any optional extras you elect to take out directly with the Melbourne car hire company and any young driver fees that may apply. What’s more, unless otherwise indicated, there’s no deposit and no credit card details required – simply pay on collection of your Melbourne hire car.
With access to so many suppliers and Melbourne car hire depots, you have the added flexibility of being able to rent a car in Melbourne’s CBD, or pick-up your car hire at Melbourne Airport or from the car rental counters at Avalon Airport. With convenient, cheap car rental at Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine) or Avalon, you can start your trip on the right foot as soon as you land. Simply load your bags in the boot and you’re ready to explore the wonders of the city.
Why Use DriveNow for Hire Cars in Melbourne?
- We partner with brands you know and trust
- Free booking service with no fees or charges
- Local 100% Australian owned and operated
- We firmly believe in employing Australians and do not offshore our reservations team or any of our services. Our Melbourne based support team can be reached via phone, online chat, or email.
- Impartial and instant rate comparison allows you to easily see how each rental company stacks up
- In most instances, pay when you collect the vehicle, not when you book
- Drive-away rates include all taxes and levies (excludes young driver surcharge)
- We’ve been comparing pricing on Melbourne Airport car hire since 2003
Driving Tips in Melbourne
Renting a car in Melbourne is a great way to explore the city and surrounds without having to rely on public transport. However, just like any new city, there are several things to be aware of before you set off behind the wheel. Check out these Melbourne driving tips to make sure you’re not in for any surprises once you hit the road.
- Driving in Melbourne may seem similar to most other cities in Australia, but there is one feature which makes it a bit different, and that’s the trams. Melbourne has the world’s third biggest tram network, with most main roads in the city involving a tram line. While cars and trams do function harmoniously, be aware that you are sharing the road with them when you’re behind the wheel. Watch out particularly when overtaking or undertaking, to make sure the tram isn’t about to stop and let people out.
- If you’re driving around Melbourne city and to the airport, chances are you’re going to come across toll roads. If you’re unfamiliar with these, it just involves paying a small charge every time you pass a certain spot on the road. This payment is done automatically via an electronic tag attached to your Melbourne hire car. Many car rental companies will have systems in place to deal with tolls, so make sure to check your policy before you head out.
- Like most busy cities, Melbourne traffic increases substantially at around 8am and 6pm at night. If you have the option to travel at a different time, make life easier for yourself and take that option! The weekend is also a busy time to be on the road in Melbourne, so if you’re in a hurry, pick a quiet weekday slot to take your trip.
Where to Stay in Melbourne
The different flavours provided by Melbourne’s collection of neighbourhoods mean there are plenty of great options for your travelling party. Whether you want to get amongst the late-night eating and drinking culture in Melbourne’s bustling CBD, or want a more civilised, mature approach to your time in Melbourne, you’ll be able to find it all with just the slightest bit of digging.
Southbank is situated along Melbourne's magical Yarra River
As you might guess from its name, Southbank sits conveniently on the south bank of the Yarra River, just across from the Melbourne CBD. It’s a great, centralised location that puts you within shouting distance of all the nightlife and action of the city.
If you think bigger is better, it’s hard to go past the Crown Melbourne. As with similar properties in Perth, you’ll find everything from great restaurants, spa and swimming spots, as well as a pulsating casino in which to spend time when you’re not out and about in the city.
The Langham is another spot for those looking for some high-class luxury. This five-star fortress on the Southbank Promenade mixes elegance with fine personal details, giving you all the benefits of a big-time hotel with the intimate feel of smaller accommodation.
Staying in Southbank can be an especially great idea if you have a hire car in Melbourne. With access to so many arterial roads, including but not limited to Clarendon Street, Kings Way, and the West Gate Freeway, you can be cruising in no time.
Collingwood and Fitzroy
The home of the fabled Smith Street and its host of restaurants and pubs, the suburbs of Collingwood and Fitzroy are perfect encapsulations of what Melbourne is all about. A short drive in your rental car from the Melbourne CBD, this area has everything from fine dining to grimy holes in the wall with loud music and cheap drinks.
You might be better off looking for an Airbnb if you want to stay in or around this area. There are plenty within walking distance, making it an easy commute by foot after a night in the courtyard at the Fitzroy Beer Garden or jamming buttons and wiggling joysticks at Pixel Alley.
Art Series Hotels
The Art Series Hotels drop you into some of the most popular, thriving cultural hotspots of the city. The five locations –The Blackman, The Cullen, The Olsen, The Schaller, and The Larwil – are each named after a different artist and designed with that artist’s style in mind. A favourite for everybody from business travellers to those checking out Melbourne on holiday for the first time, The Art Series Hotels’ attention to detail and friendly staff make them some of the picks of the Victorian capital’s hotel scene.
Things to do in Melbourne
The diversity of events and attractions in Melbourne is what makes it one of the most attractive cities in Australia to visit. Here are just a few of the things you can do to fill the days on your trip.
Melbourne, The Sporting Capital
Once crowned the sporting capital of the world, Melbourne is home to a busy calendar of world-class sports events. In addition to professional rugby league, rugby union, netball, and basketball leagues, these three codes help make Melbourne the sports mecca it is.
Two ruckmen compete in a game of Australian football
AFL is more than just a sport in Melbourne. It’s a religion. It’s a way of life. It’s an all-encompassing pastime that envelops much of the city between the months of February and September. Matches at the fabled Melbourne Cricket Ground average around 45,000 fans, no small feat for the city’s size. But the real spectacle is the AFL Grand Final. The event, and the week leading up to it, are so huge that the city has a unique public holiday on the Friday before the game.
The “race that stops a nation” is truly a site to behold. The crown jewel of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the race is run on the first Tuesday of November each year. Flemington Racecourse is the place to be that week, as thousands descend on the grounds in their finest – pastel patterns, ornate hats, and all. Much like the AFL Grand Final, Melbournians get an extra public holiday for the race, though much of the rest of the country takes it easy in anticipation of the event, too.
The Australian Open
Kicking off the sporting calendar each year, the Australian Open takes over Melbourne for several weeks, drawing in thousands of viewers to the precinct surrounding Rod Laver Arena. Whether packing into the main courts, posting up at the smaller outer courts, or just watching on huge screens outside, tennis gurus and casual fans alike get swept up in the fuzzy green ball action.
Look at the Laneways
Hidden amongst the backstreets and buildings of Melbourne is a series of laneways that hold all sorts of fun secrets. Leaving no space wasted, these corridors host amazing artwork and designs as well as one-of-a-kind boutique shops, cafés, and restaurants.
Centre Place might be the most popular of the bunch, though there are plenty of others well worth a stroll. Meyers Place is a particularly fun place to be as the night grows darker, while there’s no mistaking the classic lightning bolt logo adorning the appropriately named AC/DC Lane.
Take the Tram
A symbol of a time gone by, Melbourne’s tram system is still a great way to get around. Even if you’ve (quite wisely) taken advantage of DriveNow’s car hire in Melbourne, spend an afternoon riding around on the city’s trams for a taste of public transport a bit different from other parts of Australia.
Where to Eat and Drink in Melbourne
Fill your stomach and whet your whistle with some of the absolutely astonishing food and drink options available in Melbourne. With dozens of outstanding eateries and drinking spots in just about every suburb, it’s hard to go wrong.
Melbourne’s Best Breakfast and Brunch
Brunching in Melbourne amongst flannel shirts and Coke-bottle glasses has become a bit of a stereotype, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. Here are some of the best ways to get your day started.
Legend has it that people line up at Lune Croissanterie as early as 4:00am on weekends, four hours before it is officially slated to open. Once you get a taste of these amazing, baked-in-house, flaky pastries, you’ll see why that’s not as crazy as it sounds. These bad boys are so delicious that they prompted none other than the New York Times to ask if the world’s best croissant is made in Australia. You can eat in or take away, but don’t blame us if the goods don’t make it all the way to your destination!
Located just around the corner from Lune, Rustica Sourdough is yet another entry into the great list of restaurants in and around Fitzroy. Giant portions mean you won’t leave hungry, and the matcha latte puts a tasty, green twist on a classic breakfast drink. The all-day menu’s highlights include rich delectable delicacies such as lobster eggs benedict and French toasted jelly donuts with raspberry jam and pistachio ice cream.
Archie’s All Day
If we had the means (and by that we mean belly space), we might actually spend all day in here, as the name suggests. A great place for just about any meal, not just brunch, Archie’s on Gertrude Street, just a short walk west from Smith, puts its own special touch on classic favourites.
This is perhaps most evident on their amazing breakfast menu, which dolls up standard fare and makes it irresistible. Just try walking past the sidewalk tables and those chowing down at the counter against the front window without getting jealous of the crispy poached eggs with kim-chi and edamame, or The Godmother, a glorified egg (and bacon if you want) sandwich with tasty chilli.
Of course, night time is the right time to visit Archie’s as well. That’s when you can take advantage of their great beer list and incredible cocktails. We can happily prescribe the Dr. Pepper, which tastes exactly like the classic US cola. Grab some small plates to share and enjoy!
The Best Burgers in Melbourne
If your idea of the perfect meal includes a meat patty slapped between the two ends of a bun, you’ll have no shortage of choice choices in Melbourne. The city is home to a bevy of burger joints that are sure to slay your cravings.
Huxtaburger has five Melbourne locations, making it easy to get your hands on one (or more!) of their amazing beef or chicken burgers. The toasted buns are an appreciated extra touch, as are the incredible tasty beef patties and extras.
Caught in that awkward in-between meal time where it’s too late for lunch but too early for dinner? Not to worry. Grab a mini burger for that perfectly sized snack that will keep you going for another couple hours.
Battle hunger better at 8bit
Combining tasty burgers with the classic arcade games of yore, 8bit, in Footscray and the Melbourne CBD, is a great place to grab a bite to eat and connect with the inner child living inside of all of us. You’ll also find tasty milkshakes, hot dogs, and an array of greasy, gratifying sides.
Award Winning Restaurants in Melbourne
You know those famous chefs you see on TV and read about all the time? Well, many of them have established restaurants in Melbourne, all of which you can check out after a short drive in your Melbourne car rental. Just don’t forget to book!
Attica, perhaps the most acclaimed restaurant in all of Melbourne, is located in Ripponlea which is about 9km (5.6 miles) from the Melbourne CBD, and showcases the culinary wizardry of Ben Shewry through incredible tasting menus.
One of the main men behind the ongoing success of Masterchef Australia, George Calombaris plies his trade at The Press Club on the fabled Flinders Street in the Melbourne CBD. He and his crew have been putting together amazing Greek dishes for more than a decade, piling up awards along the way.
Shannon Bennett’s Vue de Monde has risen up toward the pinnacle of the Melbourne dining scene both literally and figuratively. Sitting on level 55 of the famed Rialto building, you’ll have trouble tearing your eyes away from the view to enjoy all the action taking place in the open kitchen.
Another acclaimed Melbourne institution not to be missed is Stokehouse. Located on the famous St Kilda Beach, this one of a kind eatery is also the world’s first 5 star, green star restaurant. Enjoy sweeping views of the water as you settle down for a relaxed lunch or dinner. The menu, created by Executive Chef Richard Ousby and Head Chef Ollie Hansford, is seafood inspired with a focus on fresh, clean, zesty, and light. Getting a table at this popular spot is no easy feat, so make sure you book well in advance.
Some of the Best Road Trips from Melbourne
With car rental in Melbourne, you can set course for just about anywhere you and your fellow travellers’ heart’s desire. Looking for a bit of inspiration? Here are just a handful of the rad road trips on which you can embark with your Melbourne hire car.
The Yarra Valley
Much like Perth in the west, Melbourne can be a splendid springboard for a wonderful wine adventure. Located about 65km (40 miles) east and slightly north of the CBD, the Yarra Valley is home to some of the country’s most sophisticated blends. In just over an hour you will feel like you’ve been transported to an entirely different part of the world, complete with an exceptional collection of food and wine at your fingertips.
There are 80-plus cellar doors in which you can while away the time with wine, and while trying every single one seems like a valid life goal, you’d be better off narrowing your efforts a bit. Grab a bite to eat, sample the goods, and drink in the views at a handful of the amazing spots.
The short drive and Melbourne car hire mean you can make your way back to your Melbourne accommodation the same day if you want, though there are plenty of great places to stay in the Yarra if you prefer!
A lot of people don’t associate sandy fun in the sun with Melbourne, but that’s a mistake. About 51km (32 miles) south of the Melbourne CBD and 26km (16 miles) from Dandenong, around the east side of Port Phillip Bay, is the suburb of Frankston and the great Frankston Beach. Just as enjoyable as the destination is the trip there. DriveNow’s cheap car hire in Melbourne gives you the tools to cruise along the scenic Beach Road, which hugs the aforementioned bay. This isn’t the fastest route to Frankston, but it is certainly an enjoyable one.
The Great Ocean Road
What many consider the quintessential Australian road trip, the glorious Great Ocean Road is so beautiful that we don’t blame you for hopping out of your car rental or campervan hire every few minutes to snap some sweet pics. While the highlight is the famous 12 Apostles, there is plenty more than these impressive formations to merit a ride on this great route. You can check out picturesque waterfalls and rain forests or stop and play on the beach at a variety of points along the way.
To get to the beginning of the road in Torquay, you’ll follow the west side of Port Phillip Bay for about 90 minutes, passing Geelong on the way. Then it’s up to you to decide how much of the GOR you want to cover. Plot out some landmarks to hit or go for it all and tackle the entire 400km (249 miles). With so many fantastic beachside towns in which to crash, you can take as much or as little of your Melbourne holiday as you’d like on this iconic route.