Melbourne Car Hire
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- Car hire in Melbourne is much the same as anywhere else with a passport, drivers license and a credit card required to get you started. Then there is the usual paper work to be prepared and signed with of course the need to be especially careful to document the existing condition of the car
- Once up and going remember everyone drives on the left hand side of the road with speed limits ranging from 40kms to 110kms per hour. 40kms is typically around schools and hospitals as well as the central city with 50kms and 60kms an hour more typical in suburban areas
- There are a lots of speed and red light cameras as well as very disciplined parking inspectors. For the former the costs are a minimum of A$207 (approx. £117 GBP) for being 3kph over then quickly ramp up to as high a A$846 (approx. £482 GBP) with red light fines being one amount only of A$413 (approx. £ 235 GBP)
- Access from the airport to the city and beyond is connected via multi lane road networks including freeways and toll roads
- Drive time via toll roads to the city is approx. 30mins for non peak and 45 mins peak hour. There are non toll roads as well to the city so add a further 15mins travel time. Access to the out of town tourist destinations doesn’t require going through the city with access to the Great Ocean Road via Geelong is about 90 mins
- When in Melbourne city there are unique right hand turns call hook turns. This requires the driver to pull over to the left on a green light at a designated intersection usually where there are trams operating. The driver is to wait on the left until the lights go red then complete the hook turn
- Driving at night it is most unlikely to be any wild life in the city built up areas. However once in the outskirts or the countryside there is a need to keep an eye out especially for kangaroos which get easily dazzled by the car headlights and freeze in the middle of the road or are otherwise attracted to the lights and just jump in front. Kangaroos can get reasonable large and usually make a large amount of damage to the front and side panels. The other one is the wombat which is slow moving and like running over a small boulder and can take out the car exhaust and sump all at once
- Day time driving is less hazardous with only the need to be aware of cyclists and pedestrians especially the ones with a phone in hand
Guide to Melbourne
Melbourne is a major Australian city of with a population of almost 5 million people and growing at about 1500 people a week and is considered one of the world’s most liveable places. Like most western cities there is a diversified make up of peoples from everywhere starting with the Wundjerri peoples particular to Melbourne. They were the first Australians from 40000 years ago and since the British settlement in the 1800s there have been a steady stream of other ethnicities. Notably the convicts and free settlers arriving from parts of the UK especially Ireland then the Chinese coming here during the gold rush of the 1850s through to major immigration post WW2. Since then there have been Greeks, Italians, Ten pound poms, Vietnamese refugees, Pacific Islanders, Kiwis, Asians from all over then most recently Indians and middle eastern people.
A major international business hub
The CBD itself has loads of major international businesses, a large retail precinct as well as substantial residential high rise collectively with many buildings in excess of 40 storeys high all mostly centred around the Yarra River which flows into nearby Port Phillip Bay. Near to the city are old style markets with an offering of fresh fruit and vegetables, a fresh seafood area along with other household goods.
Apart from commerce and retail Melbourne is a major port and hub providing a gateway to the nations south east for imported goods. Melbourne is also known for its huge sporting culture with international events for tennis, the grand prix, cricket and horse racing with the local Aussie Rules football pulling crowds of 90000 plus some weekends.
With so much going on there is an extensive public transport network of mainly trains and trams with the latter being free for travel around the CBD. The tram network is the largest in the world and the train system prompt and reliable with considerable funds being allocated to infrastructure to deliver this as congestion buster.
Things to do in Melbourne
Love the animals, visit the zoo
If it’s the animals of Melbourne you’re excited to see, head to one of their wildlife parks or the Melbourne Zoo. At the zoo, keeper talks punctuate the day to explain all the most interesting facts about the animals and their day to day life, and there are a great many species that can be seen on the different trails. From the Gorilla Rainforest to the Wild Sea, visiting the zoo will feel like a global expedition. The Phillip Island Tour allows you to see a moonlit sanctuary of penguins as they rove about the terrain, and the Puffing Billy Steam Train is a magical way to experience the Dandenong Ranges and forests that seem to be right out of Tarzan. Nip to The Little Bookroom to get something to read for the little ones and keep them entertained on any of the car journeys to the various reaches of Melbourne.
Melbourne has plenty of lovely beaches, and St Kilda is the most popular. With a gorgeous sandy stretch, St Kilda is great for relaxing with a book, playing ball games with your toes in the ocean, or going for a proper dip. Brighton Beach is another great choice, known for the pretty and colourful bathing boxes that decorate the stretch and the city skyline. Parts of Brighton Beach also have various additional facilities, for barbecues and children’s play. Like Melbourne’s gorgeous gardens, all of the beaches are easily accessible by car, train and tram. Altona is a suburban beach with a dedicated ‘no-boat’ zone that makes space for loads of thrilling water-sports. With plenty more to choose from, no matter where you are you’ll be sure to get to the sand as quick as you like.
Melbourne is a city steeped in culture, including a vibrant live theatre scene with many international shows being screened throughout the year. Annually, Melbourne hosts an International Comedy Festival from March to April, offering a large spread of international acts. This is a very popular event, with locals, those further afield and tourists alike flocking to the area to enjoy the shows on offer, making Melbourne a comedy capital. Theatre
If you take a quick drive outside of the CBD, you’ll be rewarded with a number of wineries and vineyards scattered about the five diverse wine regions. Book a session to taste some of the delicious local blends, and take home a bottle or a box of bottles to remember your time in Melbourne or gift to friends and family. The most common types of wine found in this part of Melbourne are shiraz, pinot noir, and chardonnay, but each region and each individual winery boasts a unique blend. The Yarra Valley Wine Tasting Tours are a great way to experience some gorgeous blends.
To make the most of the full breadth of Victoria outside of Melbourne city and its accompanying wildlife, taking a road trip with your hire car allows you to see it all. A number of the locations mentioned above require a brief car journey, such as The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, and it is worth looking further afield from where you’re staying to see which journeys are available.
One of the best times to see Melbourne in all its glory is at night. A city that is increasingly vibrant no matter the hour, there are a number of brilliant late-night eateries and clubs to keep things exciting until the early hours, or until dawn breaks – if you can make it that long.
To get the night started, there’s no better way than enjoying a creative cocktail, and the selection at Black Pearl Bar is some of the best. A popular mainstay in the Australian bar business, you can stay from dusk until the early hours enjoying a cocktail menu that changes weekly to maintain fresh and exciting choices for its customers. The Everleigh, found in Fitzroy not too far from Black Pearl, full of colourful drinks and old favourites ready to suit every palate. Collingwood has plenty of their own bars as well, with Congress boasting an impressive wine bar and delectable restaurant, allowing for a seamless transition from your meal into a wild night.
For the party to continue after the cocktails and a bottle of wine or more, get yourself to a club like Radar or Revolver Upstairs for techno and electronic dance music, with inventive décor and a history of hosting some big names and international DJs and producers. For something with a bit less heavily aerobic exercise, the Angel Music Bar uses a collection of records to fill the various themed rooms and provide a buzzing atmosphere.
Getting around Melbourne couldn’t be easier than hiring a car and self-driving around the city. At Melbourne Tullamarine airport you can choose from a range of car hire providers by booking on Enjoy including Aerodrive, Alamo and Europcar
Eating out in Melbourne
Like most sophisticated cities these days there are loads of different cuisines with much fusion and contemporary influences. The city itself has:
Chin Chin frequented by the young and busy where cost doesn’t have a baring and atmosphere everything.
Vue de Monde is a high end multi award winning fine dinning restaurant with the rich and famous heading there most nights Japanese Teppanyaki Inn delivers a traditional Japanese experience with nothing but the finest ingredients and typically a calm and welcoming atmosphere.
Minamishima has what many consider to be Melbourne’s best sushi, which is very high praise. You can find their exquisite food in Richmond, on a street that is otherwise largely residential, which makes it something of a hidden gem if you aren’t already in the know.
Capitano is bright and loud, with delicious pizza and a fun atmosphere, all supplied with high quality service. Find it on Rathdowne Street, and pair your pizza or pasta with one of their delightful cocktails or refreshing non-alcoholic drinks.
Out of town places to eat there is:
Attica that delivers a degustation in the finest French fashion with multiple Michelin awards.
Hellenic Republic with a contemporary approach to the Greek cuisine with much seafood as fresh as the day along with barbequed lamb then saganaki with dates then spanakopita.
Rising Embers is a Sichuan BBQ restaurant in Chinatown with multiple rave reviews, and it puts you in control. A cook-it-yourself place, you will get all of your meat just the way you like it, because it is by your hand that it is made. However, never fear, you aren’t left to struggle if barbecue isn’t your thing, as the knowledgeable and expert serverse are on hand to step in at any point if needs be.
Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (code: MEL)
Tullamarine is the main airport in Melbourne as it is modern and hosts a wide range of international and domestic flights. The airport is easily accessible by taxi or alternatively take the Skybus which operates every 15 minutes and drops you at Spencer Street Station.
Buses and trains
The city is well connected by bus and rail with most other Australian cities and allows you to travel inter-state. Buses are probably the best way to get around the city. The ‘City Loop’ is their equivalent of the underground and is a comfortable, affordable way to get to most tourist spots. The tram is also a fantastic way to travel and is free for tourists to operate on all weekdays around the CBD.
Watch out for the trams when driving around melbourne, as they have the right away. You are also not allowed to overtake a tram to their left. Make sure that you are aware of the hook turns which is a unique crossing in Melbourne which involves a tram crossing the intersection and in which case you will need to be in the left hand lane even though you are turning right.
It is illegal to use your mobile phone while driving and as with the rest of Australia they drive on the left hand side!
It is mandatory to have an international drivers license for all foreign visitors.
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