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Travellers looking for a big city with a small city feel should look no farther than Brisbane. Often overshadowed by the popular Melbourne and Sydney, Brisbane has more to offer than most of its visitors realise. The capital of Queensland has even been named the most liveable city in the country. Positioned perfectly in the middle of the eastern coast, Brisbane makes for a great landing point from which to explore the rest of the coast. Both local and international car rental agencies are on hand to assist travellers in arranging vehicles for their trip.
Who to Book With
Avis, Europcar, Budget and a few local companies, such as Alpha Car Hire and East Coast Rentals, are all available to provide car rental services to travellers in the area. The offices of most agencies can be found at the airport, at the central railway station and at many different locations in the CBD. Online booking of vehicles is recommended, especially during peak tourism season.
Best time to go
Brisbane’s climate can be best described as subtropical, boasting hot summers and mild winters. The best time to go is during autumn, when the temperatures begin to cool a bit. November makes for difficult driving conditions, as bursts of torrential rain, thunderstorms and gale-force winds are experienced.
Need to Know Essentials
Don’t forget to take the following documentation along when collecting your vehicle:
- A valid driving licence or an International Driving Permit
- The credit card used for making the booking or a $500 surety deposit
- A form of photo identification, like an ID card or passport
Driving around Brisbane city centre is generally reserved for locals and travellers who are familiar with the roads. There are many surprise one-way systems and several narrow roads. Rush hour in the CBD is also not pleasant, as drivers can become trapped in traffic jams. Driving outside of the city is generally much easier, however, and there are a variety of routes that visitors can use to see the sites on the outskirts.
Parking in the city is not too much of a problem, although it can be quite expensive. There are many parking stations in the CBD where drivers can leave their vehicles for the day and walk to their destinations. The average fee for a whole day is around $40, which is quite steep. On-street parking is also available in some areas, but after 16:00, all roads need to be clear. Any cars found on the roads after this time will be towed.
Drivers who choose to make their way out of the city will find that a car comes in most handy. Travellers should, however, be aware of the fact that Brisbane’s roads are home to several toll gates, none of which accept cash as payment. Those crossing the toll must open a prepaid account and use a transponder to make the crossing.
The public transport system in Brisbane is extremely well-developed and has even been called the best in all of Australia. Comprising of a comprehensive network of buses, trains, taxis and ferries, the system is well equipped to deal with any traveller need. Getting to the outskirts of the city is also possible with local transport, but it is often best done by hired car. Brisbane’s surrounds are breathtakingly beautiful, and hiring a car is the best way to take everything in.
Travellers will have no problem getting around with the quick and efficient Citytrain network. The network is extensive, running from one end of the city to the other. The trains usually operate from 06:00 to midnight, but extended hours are observed on the weekends. Tickets can be purchased from all train platforms before departing on the journey.
Catching a taxi in the city is a breeze, as most taxis can be waved down from the side of the road. If there are no taxis in sight, they are sure to be at one of the many taxi ranks in the city. Alternately, you can always book a taxi in advance with such companies as Black & White Cabs and Yellow Cab Co. While taxis are convenient for short journeys, they are not always recommended for longer ones as the trip can become quite expensive.
Travellers have two options when using the bus network in Brisbane. Those wanting to explore sites in the city centre can make used of The Loop, a free bus service operating exclusively in the CBD. There are several stops around the centre, including Queen St Mall bus station. Alternately, travellers wanting to explore outside of the CBD can hop on one of the regular local buses operated by Translink. Fares are based on zones. Outside of peak hours, tickets can be bought on the buses themselves. However, during peak times, passengers will need to purchase a ticket from the bus station beforehand.
The CityCat and ferry services are great for getting around Brisbane and experiencing the Brisbane River. CityCats are fast catamarans travelling to a few well known points on the river, while the ferries are slower but stop more frequently. The services operate from Northshore Hamilton to the University of Queensland between 05:50 to 22:30. Fares are determined by zones, but the average price of a ticket is around $2.20.
Brisbane is the perfect place for travellers who enjoy long Sunday afternoon drives. Just outside of the city centre are several gorgeous routes. While most routes lead to fascinating landmarks, most travellers simply enjoy the mesmerising drives themselves.
Mount Nebo Road - Visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to spectacular drives near Brisbane, but one of the most popular runs is along Mount Nebo Road. Located right on the edge of the Brisbane Forest Park, the road is lined by hordes of eucalyptus trees. Mount Nebo is just around the corner, and drivers will have prime views of this majestic range the entire way.
Brisbane Botanic Gardens - Those looking to get in touch with nature should look no farther than the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Located in Mt Coot-tha, only a seven kilometre drive from Brisbane’s city centre, the garden is the ideal destination for a short daytrip away from the metropolis.
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary - What is a visit to Australia without an encounter with the national animal, the koala? Luckily for visitors to Brisbane, such an encounter is entirely possible. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is only a 15 minute drive from the CBD and is the largest of its kind in the world. There are not only koalas in the sanctuary, but also a couple of kangaroos and even a few dingoes.