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Getting Around Sydney in a Rental Car

Sydney driving tips

For many travellers, Sydney is the first stop on their Australian holiday. Whether you are visiting from another country, or from elsewhere in Australia, it can seem like there is a lot to driving in Sydney. Here is a quick guide to help you navigate the streets of Australia's biggest city.

Where to drive your rental car in Sydney

  • The Rocks: There is no better place to go in Sydney if you are looking for world-famous attractions and iconic views. Home to Circular Quay, the area provides some great views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
  • Pyrmont: Located on the beautiful harbour, Pyrmont features the Star Casino, Sydney Fish Market, and provides easy access to the popular Darling Harbour area.
  • Bondi: World-famous Bondi Beach is located east of the city, and is always busy with people relaxing on the golden sands. Head south to Tamarama to find some more great beaches.
  • Milson's Point: This point on the north-side of Sydney Harbour is home to Luna Park, and offers fantastic views over the Harbour Bridge. The area also features some delicious eateries.
  • Newtown: South of the CBD, Newtown is a popular, artsy suburb that has many noteworthy restaurants and interesting attractions.

Driving tips in Sydney

  • You must keep to the left-hand side of the road in Australia.
  • Speed limits through residential areas are generally 50km/h. On Sydney's motorways, the speed can be as high as 110km.
  • You are required to wear a seat-belt at all times while driving in Australia.
  • Avoid driving at peak times, if you can, as roads can become heavily congested right around the city.
  • Speed limits of 40km will apply in designated school zones during certain hours.

Parking in Sydney

In Sydney, you will find parking on the CBD streets comes with strict time limits, and you will need to pay at a meter. These meters will accept coin or card payments. If you are planning on spending a bit of time in the city, you may need to find a car park where you can leave your car for the day. In central Sydney, you will find car parks in Kings Cross, Goulburn Street and many more smaller lots. At Sydney Airport, you can find various parking options both on-airport and off-airport.

Toll roads in Sydney

All the toll roads in Sydney do not accept cash payments, meaning you will have to make your payment by setting up an electronic pass. You must pay within three days of using the road.

Major toll roads in Sydney include the Harbour Bridge, Cross City Tunnel, Eastern Distributor, Lane Cove Tunnel, the M5 East Freeway and more. To learn more about toll charges when hiring a car, read our Toll Charges and How They Affect Renting a Car.

Driving distances

  • Sydney to Newcastle: 2h 15m
  • Sydney to Canberra: 3h 15m
  • Sydney to Melbourne: 8h 50m


Before you return your rental car, make sure you have filled it with petrol to avoid any additional charges. Here are a few convenient, centrally-located petrol stations in Sydney.

  • Caltex, 2 Market St, Sydney.
  • Coles Express, 387-427 Wattle St, Ultimo.
  • BP, 185 Bondi Rd, Bondi.

Unmissable attractions

Sydney is famous around the world for its wealth of attractions. In central Sydney, visitors can see the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Luna Park, Darling Harbour and the Sydney Tower Eye. With a rental car, travellers can also stop by Bondi Beach and Sydney Olympic Park.