Parking your car in australia

Where is it most expensive to park in Australia and what are the most unusual parking rules?

A recent report commissioned by the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) has found that Brisbane has very high off-street parking charges, overall more than any other capital city. So how much does it cost to park in capital cities around Australia? We’ll run through the findings of the recent report and take a look at some of the more unusual parking laws that are in effect.

Brisbane Central District

According to the RACQ report, the average price for off-street parking in Brisbane is as follows.

Time period Average price
30 minutes $16.04 (1% increase from 2016/17)
1 hour $28.32
2 hours $45.86 (3.8% increase from 2016/17)
4 hours $68.82 (3.7% increase from 2016/17)
All day parking (8 hours) $73.74 (6.6% increase from 2016/17)

Source: RACQ report

For 2.5 hours of parking, the price has increased by 7.2% since the previous year. The report also discovered that three times more parking stations were charging the maximum allowable daily price of $89 than there were in 2016. When we looked into prices charged, one car park was charging $92.

Since 2001, Brisbane central parking rates have quadrupled. Drivers in Brisbane are no doubt feeling the effects of these price increases. RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner made some frank comments on Brisbane parking prices.

“It’s an absolute rip off and sadly these high prices only deter motorists from popping into the CBD for a meal or to go shopping, and drive them to suburban shopping centres where parking is cheaper, or better yet free,” Turner said.

The release pointed to a case of oligopolistic pricing, where a small number of parking vendors dominate the industry and the price is controlled by each vendor reacting to the price movements of the others. The report also highlighted a confusing pricing strategy.

“As if the short-term money grab isn’t bad enough, when we look at longer stays in Brisbane’s CBD, there’s not much difference between parking for 4 hours or staying for the full day,” Turner said.

In fact, 62% of the cost of the average 8-hour stay is accrued in the first 2 hours. After 2.5 hours, the price increments level off.

Those looking to save money on parking should use the cheaper council-owned sites or book ahead of time online for early-bird discounts. Council car parks, in particular, have had steady prices for the last few years.

There is some good news for Brisbane commuters, though. The city has cheaper on-street parking than Melbourne and Sydney. In Brisbane, the average on-street parking ticket cost $4.40 per hour. Sydney drivers could spend as much as $7.00.

Why have prices risen so sharply?

Employment has increased over the last decade, while the council has restricted new parking space development and businesses have rushed to lease parking spots. The report hypothesised that with a larger number of commuters taking up spaces, there are less casual, short-term free spots available for everyone else. Consequently, prices have escalated.

It’s tempting to go looking for an ad-hoc parking space and end up leaving your car on a footpath or blocking a driveway. Don’t! The council operate an illegal and dangerous parking report line and you could receive a fine or have your car impounded.

Adelaide parking prices and laws

The price of off-street casual parking in Adelaide ranges from $15 to $48 for a whole day within the central business district.

However, if you park in front of a driveway, even your own, you could receive a fine or have your vehicle impounded. It is also an offence in Adelaide to park between a road and a property boundary or within one metre of a fire hydrant.

Be careful when swinging open your car door in Adelaide. If you open it in a manner deemed dangerous, you could receive a $225 fine.

Canberra parking prices and laws

Car parks operated by Canberra Council usually cost just $14 for a full day’s parking. Private car parks can cost as much as $34 for the same period. During the 2015/16 financial year, Canberra parking rangers issued 100,000 fines. The suburb of Civic alone chalked up $3.5 million worth of fines.

In Canberra, it is illegal to have anything on your dashboard that resembles a parking ticket but is not actually a ticket. Also, when parking at night, you must leave your front and rear lights on, unless parked under or near street lighting that makes your vehicle visible from 200 metres away. Time to get out your trundle wheel.

Darwin parking prices and laws

Darwin motorists benefit from some of the lowest all-day parking costs. In a council car park, you could pay as little as $3.20 for a full day. Privately owned car parks may charge up to $17 for the same period.

Darwin motorists were slugged with 29,000 parking fines in the last financial year, and parking inspectors even ticketed some of their own council colleagues. Parking rangers, known locally as Blue Bombers, will not hesitate to impound a vehicle that has sat in one place for 24 hours or more that has been judged to be abandoned.

Hobart parking prices and laws

All-day casual parking prices in Hobart start at $12 in the city and can reach around $20.

Hobart drivers are carefully monitored by 1,700 in-ground pressure sensors that record the exact time you enter a space. Rangers receive alerts for vehicles that have overstayed.

Melbourne parking costs and regulations

Off-street parking in Melbourne is substantially cheaper than it is in both Brisbane and Sydney and the fines for parking violations are lower, but that didn’t stop the council from generating $257 million worth of fines in 2014/15 financial year. Browsing online, costs range from $15 to a whopping $100 for 8 hours’ worth of parking.

In Melbourne, be careful that you always park more than three metres from a postbox. You must also make sure that after parking your car, the road is still more than three metres wide. These are both finable offences. It’s probably easier to hop on the tram.
Figures from RACQ report

Perth all-day parking costs and regulations

Prices range from $12 to $57 for all-day parking in Perth and Perth Council issued a sizeable $10 million worth of fines in the last financial year. In Perth you cannot advertise a car for sale with a sign in the window.

Also, perhaps one the of the more bizarre laws, if you happen have a few of big bags of potatoes in your boot, you could receive a large fine. Section 22 of the 1946 Marketing Potatoes Act states that anyone selling, delivering, purchasing or taking a delivery of 50kg+ of potatoes, or even what appears to be 50kg of potatoes, can receive a fine of $2,000. The only way around this to become a member of the Potato Corporation. That big batch of chips that you were planning on cooking could suddenly become rather una-peeling.

Sydney parking laws and costs

Sydney is the most expensive capital city for 2-hour parking on weekdays. Sydney drivers pay on average $77.61 for all-day parking. Confusingly, 4 hours costs $76.78.

In New South Wales, if you forget or fail to lock your doors, or you leave your window open by more than 5cm, and you then proceed to walk three metres from your car, you’ve committed an offence. If caught, you’ll have to pay $108. Left the ignition key in the car? That’s another $108 fine!

Hanging your arm out the window to catch a cool breeze? That’s a $325 fine and 3 demerit points for a protruding limb offence.

If you use your horn in an unnecessary manner, like to alert your mate that you’ve arrived to pick them up, there’s a fine of $325. Parking an unregistered car on the road or street will net you a $650 fine.

Finally, if a police officer deems the noises from your stereo to be offensive, you’ll drive away with a $150 fine. It’s time to get rid of that James Blunt album.

Parking space rental prices

In an effort to avoid expensive parking fines and to guarantee a spot, you could consider buying or renting a parking space. According to, parking is most in demand in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. The most popular street nationwide is George Street in NSW.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to rent out a parking space of your own, check out our guide to investing in parking spaces.

Average monthly parking space rental costs

State Average rental rate (inc city and suburbs)
New South Wales $385
Victoria $371
Queensland $480
South Australia $316
Western Australia $462
Australian Capital Territory $306
Tasmania $205

Average parking space sale prices

State Average parking space sale price
New South Wales $73,000
Victoria $50,100
Queensland $45,320
South Australia $42,200

In Sydney, a double parking space in a secure underground car park was recently advertised for $475,000. Another sold for $125,000. Melbourne motorists could pay as much as $60,000 for their own private parking spot, while in Brisbane you’ll need to shell out over $40,000.
Picture: Unsplash

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