Compare car hire deals and explore Sydney with the help of engine power.
Stretching from the South Pacific Ocean in the east to the periphery of the Blue Mountains in the west, Sydney is Australia’s biggest city. Needless to say this goliath is best explored by car.
Not all car hire deals are made equal, though. To help you get the best motor for your money, we’ve created a list of great deals below.
And before you buckle up, there are a few things you should know about driving in Sydney. Read on to learn more.
Top car hire Sydney deals
Road rules: What to know about driving in Sydney
For starters, in Sydney drivers travel on the left-hand side of the road plus there are a handful of other road rules you should be aware of before starting your engine, including:
- Watch out for one-way streets. Sydney has more than its fair share of one-way streets. Single-direction traffic flow systems operate on some of the city’s busiest roads, including Pitt Street, which snakes through the city centre for more than three kilometres.
- Turning rules. There are lots of roads in Sydney where drivers are not permitted to make specific turns, so keep your eyes peeled for both no-right-turn signs and no-left-turn signs. You’ll also find certain sets of traffic lights where drivers are allowed to turn left when the red light shows. Road signs will specify when this is the case.
- Keep an eye out for toll roads. You have to pay a fee to drive along some of Sydney’s roads, including Sydney Harbour Bridge and tunnel. Costs vary depending on the time of the day but all toll roads are cashless. Most hire cars will be set up with an electronic tag, which will take a record of any toll roads you use while you are renting the car. You’ll be able to check for any charges online and pay at the end of your hire period.
- Prepare for GPS black spots. In some areas of central Sydney the high-rise buildings can interfere with GPS signals. It’s a good idea to look over your planned route before you set off, so you’re not left blind if your GPS cuts out.
Popular Sydney driving routes
- Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sydney’s iconic bridge may only be 500 metres long, but when you drive it, every inch of asphalt counts. This rule of road looks out over the great sails of the Opera House and the harbour.
- Sydney to Seacliff Bridge. Head south of Sydney along the M1 and set a course for Sea Cliff Bridge in Illawarra. The journey lasts about an hour and it takes you through the bush of Royal National Park and past the wave-kissed coast of Stanwell Tops.
- Sydney to Wollongong. If you extend your Sydney to Seacliff Bridge route by half an hour you’ll get to take in Grand Pacific Drive, a tendril of coastal road that looks out over shortbread-coloured sands and surf spots. When you reach Wollongong, bijoux bars, an art gallery and a shopping mall will be waiting.
- Sydney to the Northern Beaches. Drive half an hour north of Sydney and you’ll reach the Northern Beaches – the collective name for a cluster of coastal villages and stretches of shoreline. The roads here look out over lighthouses, sheer cliffs and waters known for being whale territory.
- Sydney to Hunter Valley. Drive two hours north of Sydney and you’ll find yourself in Hunter Valley. This region is famous for its vineyards and cellar doors. You might want to book overnight accommodation if you head here, so you can try a glass or two of the area’s trademark semillon or shiraz.
FAQs about car hire
I'm on my provisional licence. Can I drive in Sydney? Yes, although some car hire companies charge drivers with P plates more.
How does car insurance work? Most rental companies offer basic accident cover, which usually only covers damage to the hire vehicle. You can pay more for additional cover and for other services like excess protection, which lowers the excess you have to pay in the case of an incident. For greater peace of mind, you can take out your own insurance policy online.