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Why rent a car in Sydney?
Sydney is a great place to experience by car. You’ll have the freedom to see this huge and sprawling city in all its diversity, traveling from inland neighborhoods to coastal parts, as well as to see the rest of the huge and hugely interesting New South Wales.
Top ways to enter Sydney
- Sydney Airport: The busiest in Australia, Sydney Airport hosts flights to and from all of the other continents of the world.
- Newcastle Airport: This small airports only hosts domestic flights, but as it is only two hours drive north, flying to Newcastle can be another good way to reach Sydney if you’re already in Australia.
- Canberra Airport (236 km / 147 mi): The capital city’s airport hosts a number of domestic flights, as well as routes to and from such large international hugs as Qatar and Singapore. It is about three hours drive southwest of Sydney.
Useful city facts
- Sydney has a humid subtropical climate with very warm summers and mild winters. Inland city districts are generally much warmer than the ones that are by the ocean and can experience extreme heat during the summer months.
- Although not the capital, Sydney is the largest city in Australia. More than 5 million people, or roughly every fifth Australian, live here.
Top destinations and activities
- Sydney Harbour. Once the location of the first European settlement in the area, Sydney Harbour’s Circular Quay is now perhaps the most picturesque and the best known part of town. It is home of the world-famous as Sydney Opera, as well as to a number of other landmarks and attractions.
- SS Ayrfield. Once an old coal and oil ship and then a written-off wreck, SS Ayrfield has impossibly turned into a floating forest of mangroves. The unique sight can be observed from the nearby shore of the Homebush Bay area where you can also find four other shipwrecks, as well as nature areas like Bicentennial Park, a system of parklands and mangrove wetlands.
- The Sydney Tower Eye. The highest point in Sydney and thus offering the best 360 views from its top, the Tower Eye offers a great impression of both how immense is Sydney and how sparsely populated the rest of the state is to this day.
Traffic and parking tips
- One of the largest road hazards in Australia are the wildlife. Take extra caution when driving in bad weather or after dark as this is when most of the collisions with wildlife take place.
- Mobile coverage is very rarely available outside of major highways and population centers, so take extra caution when traveling in nature areas.
- Another great risk when traveling outside of main highways is the heat. The temperatures can reach extremes very easily, especially during the summer months and in inland areas. Always stay properly hydrated and set out your route in advance to be able to supplement your water supplies.
- Driving under influence laws differ from territory to territory in Australia. In New South Wales, the legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.00% for novice drivers and drivers with provisional licences. Exceeding the limit can lead to large fines and a driver licence ban.
- The insurance and car documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The primary, nationwide emergency number in Australia is 000. The New South Wales Poisons Information Centre number is 131 126.
There are a number of toll roads in Australia, mainly in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. In New South Wales, there are nine currently active toll roads, which is more than in the rest of the country combined.
Most toll roads in Australia use an “open roll system” with mainline barrier toll points. All toll roads in Australia use cashless payment system. You can purchase a prepaid pass for most toll roads. Some rental cars in Australia are equipped with an electronic toll responder the price of which is usually included in the rental price. Ask your car rental provider about it in advance.
Different toll roads are operated by different companies, so there is no nation-wide fee system in place.
For more information about the toll roads in the state of New South Wales, visit the website of the Royal Automobile Association (RAA) of South Australia.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Garigal. A protected national park located in the North Shore region that is technically still part of the city, Garigal is a great place to see the local flora and fauna, as well as to learn about the local aboriginal culture through the ancient cave paintings and rock engravings that you can find throughout the site.
- Manly Beach. The most beloved beach area of local Sydneysiders that’s located just a short ride from the harbour area, Manly Beach is famous for its beaches, watersport opportunities, and relaxed way of life. For many travelers, this is perhaps the most Australian part in the whole of Australia.
- Blue Mountains. Located just west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains region is a unique and relaxing place not only because of its majestic scenery, but also for fun towns like Katoomba and Blackheath, two national parks, and the stunning Jenolan caves. Even if you won’t get to see a wild kangaroo or swamp wallaby, you’ll still come back happy and relaxed. Keep in mind that despite their higher elevation, the Blue Mountains can still experience extreme heat during Australian summer, so it’s good to set out your travel routes in advance and to always stay properly hydrated.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car type in Australia is economy, followed by standard and compact. The most popular rental cars are the Hyundai i20, the Kia Rio, and the Toyota Corolla.
- Hunter Valley. About three hours drive north of Sydney, Hunter Valley offers the impossible combination of being a paradise for both foodies and hikers. Its cheeses, oils, and restaurants that serve produce grown in the valley are famous far and wide, but they’ll taste even better after a full day of walking through eucalyptus fields and learning about local kangaroo and other wildlife populations.
- Canberra. Although not located on the ocean and perhaps less spectacular than the huge cities of Australia, the capital can still be a fun place to visit thanks to its historical heritage, interesting museums, and vast outdoor areas.
- Melbourne. Sydney’s friendly rival is about nine hours drive south, but it’s still well worth doing the distance to experience another spectacular big city with its unique history, culture, and atmosphere. If the distance between these two still feels too big, take a break at the Kosciuszcko National Park or the Alpine National Park that’ll be on your way.
How can I save money on my rental car?
These are the things you can do to get a great rental car deal in Sydney:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Sydney is the cheapest in October when renting a car is about 59% cheaper than the yearly average.
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Sydney?
What’s the usual rental length in Sydney?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Sydney?
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