Driving vacations are holidays that my family enjoys! Having driven in Korea, Malaysia and in Australia, the benefits of a driving trip are numerous. In fact, driving in Australia is one of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors and the beautiful scenery. However, as there are child and safety requirements for children, drivers must also bear in mind the requirements when driving in Australia. In this post, we are going to furnish readers with 7 tips for Renting a Car in Australia.
We last drove in Perth, Western Australia in our undergraduate days, and therefore, we have had some experience with the roads in Australia. Most of all, we had many fond memories as well. So without any further adieu, here are:
7 Tips when renting a car in Australia:
- Road and Driving License Requirements:
The minimum age to rent a car in Australia is 21 years for most car groups. Drivers aged 21–24 years will be eligible to rent, subject to an age surcharge. At the time of rental, you must present a valid full driving licence issued from country of residence that has been held for a minimum of one year (three years in Tasmania) and an International Driving Permit (IDP), if required. For Singapore drivers, we do not need an International Driving Permit.
Drive on the Left side of the Road. Drivers from Singapore and Malaysia will have no problems driving in Australia, as they will be familiar with the traffic regulations. Speeds here are mostly in the 100-110 km/h range, so do bear in mind that this is not the autobahn.
2. Reliable Car Rental Company
Perth is targeted for families who drive. When you exit the International Airport and you will find large car parks with rental cars filling up the car park lots. In fact, we were greeted by an array of Car Rental booths the moment we stepped out of the restricted area.
As the airport is quite a distance from the city itself, the best way to get into town is either by the Bus or by driving. Forget about the expensive Taxis and there are no subways in Perth.
Car can be picked up from the Airport or in the City. The great thing about established Car Rental companies, is that you can return the car at the airport. This saves the hassle of returning the car to an outlet in the city.
3. Choose a car that fits your party
For our family trip to Perth, Western Australia, we had a party of 7. Yes! A total of 4 Adults, and 3 kids (Ages 11, 9 and 8 years old). We did not just need a car that could fit the whole party, but one that could contain all our luggage. The Kia Festival comes with 3 rows of seats, and comes equipped with back row air-con blowers.
Singaporeans may be familiar with cars like a Toyota Wish, Picnic or a Honda Odyssey. Full sized MPVs like a Honda Odyssey may be a great people mover, but it does fail in its ability to contain the Luggage. In total, we had a total of 5 luggage for the whole family, and a Honda Odyssey does not have enough “boot” space for such a load.
However, Hertz carries the Kia Carnival, which surprised us in its capacity. The Kia Carnival may be foreign to many Singaporeans, but it is a full sized MPV, with an extra depth of capacity. The luggage space is deep enough, such that an 11 year old, can stand in the boot.
However, to effectively put in all the luggages, we could not have any family member bringing a large suitcase. We therefore planned to bring at most 2 large suitcases and the rest were cabin sized bags. This arrangement made it possible for us to store the luggages of all 7 passengers.
4. Car seats are required for Kids
It is important to drive safe in Australia. They have strict rules about car seats and boosters for kids. While Nicole and Nathan have passed the weight limit for these seats (yup, traffic rules there go by weight of the child!), Nadine had to use a car seat.
Here are the child safety requirements for Australia. Children under seven years of age must wear a child restraint or booster seat when travelling in a car for improved safety.
– Infant Safety Seat (CSI). For children 0-12 months old (0-9kg)
– Toddler Safety Seat (CSB). For children 1-3 years old (8-18kg)
– Child Safety Seat (CST). For children 4-7 years old (14-26kg)
– Children aged under six months must wear an approved, properly fastened and adjusted, rear facing child restraint.
– Children aged between six months and under four years must wear an approved, properly fastened and adjusted, rear facing child restraint OR a forward facing child restraint with an in-built harness
– Children aged between four years and under seven must wear an approved, properly fastened and adjusted, forward facing child restraint with an in-built harness OR an approved booster seat which is properly positioned and fastened
We informed Hertz when we booked our car, and were expected a booster for her. Afterall, she was just 1-2 kg below the requirement. Well, this was what we found in the car! A full size, super comfortable Baby Car Seat!
It was very comfortable, and I dare say, she had the most luxurious seat in the car! We didn’t have to struggle with setting up the seat, or seat belts. Hertz did it all. All we had to do was to strap the child in!
5. Car Recovery and Assistance
Driving in Australia is safe, but accidents and breakdowns do happen! What does one do, when your car breaks down.
If you are a member of the Royal Automobile Association (RAC), they provide Roadside assistance even in the countryside. Therefore, they are your best bet in these times of distress. If not, one can work through companies like Hertz, which offers 24 hour Emergency Roadside Assistance while travelling in Australia. All Hertz Rentals provide standard Roadside cover.
6. Avoid Driving at Dawn and at Dusk
Singaporeans love to maximize their travels, and we have a habit of driving in the night at Dusk. Many of us like the cooler nights, as compared to the hot afternoons.
However, Australia is full of wildlife, and the Australian Wildlife emerges at night, and at dawn or at dusk. It is therefore not surprising to see carcasses of dead animals on the road, due to vehicles that travel at night. As most Rental Cars do not have a Kangaroo bar, the wildlife and your car be severely injured/damaged in such collisions.
If you encounter wildlife, do not sound your horn, as you will startle them and slow down. In the event that it is too late to avoid them, do not swerve your car to avoid them. It is safer to just brake in a straight line.
7. Rent a GPS or Use Google Maps
In my undergraduate days, we use to drive with Maps and get road assistance from locals at a nearby Petrol station. However, with a GPS and Google Maps, you can get pinpoint updates on your location. The GPS option is available for Rental at most Car rental companies.
If you are using Google Maps, download your Maps onto your Phones while in your home country. This ensures that you can have continued navigation ability, even without much network reception. This is important, as the countryside has some blind spots while were not covered by Optus or Vodafone. In Western Australia, the best network coverage is offered by Telsta.
As an additional tool of convenience, one can get a Hertz wireless Mobile Wifi unit (up to 5 units), and your whole car can be connected online at once. The unit comes with a car charger, so one does not need to afraid that one runs out of juice throughout the day.
Overall, we really enjoyed our drive in Perth, Western Australia, and we would gladly do it again. There is definitely no better place to catch up with the family, as one sets off on a travelling vacation together. And if you are looking to travel to Australia and New Zealand before 31 December 2017, Hertz has got some value vouchers for it’s customers. Featuring offers from Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and New Zealand for Hertz customers to enjoy valuable savings. The voucher booklets are available online free at Hertz Vouchers.
Do also check out HotelsCombined to compare the best hotel deals for your next trip to Perth.
(Disclaimer: ED Unloaded was sponsored by Hertz Car Rentals for this post.)