The Real Cost of Popular Car Rental Journeys in Australia
Australia is a big country, and many tourists want to try and see as much as possible. The best way to do this is by road, so often people plan one-way car rental bookings and spend a few weeks travelling between popular destinations. Before you make your booking, you should be aware that the one-way fees in Australia can be quite expensive in some cases. And of course, with covering such large distances the fuel costs can add up as well.
While you might think that a quick trip from Sydney to Melbourne may be more cost efficient than travelling across the country, you may be incorrect. VroomVroomVroom has put together a quick guide to some of the most cost-efficient routes in the country.
The below prices are an average price based on travel dates in August and March, 2019, based on the cheapest available vehicle. We've divided the price by the estimated distance of the road trip itinerary. The price is inclusive of any applicable one-way fees, but excludes any optional extras such as fuel and insurance, and does not include the cost of any toll roads. These prices are only an estimate and the rates are not guaranteed.
The Western Australia Coast - $0.86/km
|Start: Perth, Western Australia|
|Finish: Broome, Western Australia|
|Distance: 2783 km|
|Attractions: Monkey Mia, Ningaloo Reef, Cable Beach|
Anyone who has seen pictures of the pristine Western Australian coastline will undoubtedly want to follow the Coral Coast and visit all the different beaches along the way. If you're picking up your rental car and driving down to Perth, you may find the one-way fees and kilometre limits add up. Cars picked up in Broome often have a limit of 100km a day, which means you'll need a bit of time to make the 2350km journey to Perth - particularly if you are planning on detours.
While vehicles picked up from Perth will still be subject to a one-way fee, generally kilometre limitations do not apply, so you may find your rental is a lower price.
Crossing the Nullarbor - $0.72/km
|Start: Adelaide, South Australia|
|Finish: Perth, Western Australia|
|Distance: 3308 km|
|Attractions: Esperance, Cape Le Grand National Park, Margaret River|
Unfortunately, however you choose to visit the Nullarbor is probably going to add up. Even travel by train here is generally expensive. This is a beautiful part of Australia, and well-worth a visit to see some of the most remote, desert scenery. You can choose to pick your rental car up in either Adelaide or Perth and drive inland to the Nullarbor, however both journeys will attract a hefty one-way fee.
Although expensive, the scenery along the way will be well-worth it. As you cross into Western Australia, visit fantastic sights like Esperance and Cape Le Grand National Park. The Margaret River region is also a popular stop along the route.
The Great Ocean Road - $0.70/km
|Start: Melbourne, Victoria|
|Finish: Adelaide, South Australia|
|Distance: 976 km|
|Attractions: The 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, Bells Beach|
Most visitors to Australia want to visit the famous Great Ocean Road. It is one of the world's most famous drives and features spectacular scenery like the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and charming coastal towns like Port Fairy and Lorne. However, a one-way trip from Melbourne to Adelaide could end up costing you.
To avoid the one-way charges, you can always drive back to Melbourne and drop your car at the same depot from which you collected it. On your return drive, visit inland attractions like Ballarat.
Darwin to Adelaide - $0.69/km
|Start: Darwin, Northern Territory|
|Finish: Adelaide, South Australia|
|Attractions: Kakadu National Park, Ayers Rock, Coober Pedy|
It might be one of the longest routes in the country, but crossing the Red Centre along the Stuart Highway is not necessarily one of the most expensive. Along the route, visitors get to see incredible sights like Ayers Rock, Katherine Gorge, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs and more. However, a trip from Adelaide to Darwin could set you back anywhere between $1300 - $2300 in one-way fees.
If you're looking for a more cost efficient way to see the Red Centre, and experience some of the smaller outback towns that make up the Stuart Highway, allow yourself a bit of extra time and travel from Darwin to Adelaide instead. While the one-way fees are generally lower, a kilometre limit will apply.
Sydney to Brisbane - $0.63/km
|Start: Sydney, New South Wales|
|Finish: Brisbane, Queensland|
|Attractions: Port Stephens, Forster, Coffs Harbour, The Gold Coast|
The route from Sydney to Brisbane will take visitors past some of the popular New South Wales coastal resort towns. Don't miss popular spots like The Entrance and Coffs Harbour. With many short detours and scenic lookouts, it is easy to see why Sydney to Brisbane is one of the most popular routes.
If you're planning on travelling this route, keep in mind that you will be subject to pay a one-way fee. Make sure you get your money's worth and stop at all the top NSW coastal attractions along the way.
Melbourne to Sydney - $0.35/km
|Start: Melbourne, Victoria|
|Finish: Sydney, New South Wales|
|Attractions: Wilson's Promontory, Phillip Island, Hyams Beach|
Compared to other popular routes in the country, the journey between Australia's two largest cities is a short one. One of the best ways to travel from Melbourne to Sydney is along the coast. In Victoria you'll see sights like Phillip Island, Wilson's Promontory and Lake's Entrance. In New South Wales, visit some of the top beaches along the south coast including Hyams Beach.
One-way fees, fuel costs, and rental rates can all add up when travelling between Melbourne and Sydney. However, if you haven't visited before the cost is completely worth visiting these two unique cities and seeing some of the great coastal scenery.
Tasmania - $0.24/km
|Start: Hobart, Tasmania|
|Finish: Hobart, Tasmania|
|Attractions: Wineglass Bay, Stahan, Cradle Mountain|
Want to enjoy a long road trip in Australia without the big price tag? Consider a road trip through Tasmania, visiting popular sights like Strahan, Cradle Mountain, Wineglass Bay and Port Arthur. By picking up your car in Hobart and dropping it off in the same location, you avoid any one way fees. The drive between Tasmania's two largest cities - Hobart and Launceston - is only just over two hours, so you can also save on fuel costs.
Brisbane to Cairns - $0.20/km
|Start: Brisbane, Queensland|
|Finish: Cairns, Queensland|
|Attractions: Sunshine Coast, Whitsundays, Townsville|
It is one of the most popular drives in Australia. Many travellers pick up a rental car in Brisbane and head to Tropical North Queensland, where sights like the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest await.
Generally, one way fees between Brisbane and Cairns are about $150 - $400, meaning you can enjoy all the best sights of the Queensland coast without having to return your car to the same location.
* Note that prices are subject to change. The above prices are an average based on travel dates in March and August (durations vary based on the itinerary). The price does not take into account any added extras such as insurance, fuel, additional drivers, GPS, child seats or similar items. The above is inclusive of any relevant one-way fees.