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Car rental geographic restrictions

Level Contributor
336 posts
3 reviews
Car rental geographic restrictions

Planning on visiting Australia for 1 month in feb and March 2019 and doing a road trip from brisbane south, across to perth, north and back across northern-ish australia, stopping in cairns and then back to brisbane.

Weve done several similar long road trips before and it's out style of travel. We would rent an suv along the lines of a toyota kluger.

The issue is that most car rentals do not allow you into western or northern provinces or onto kangaroo island (including alpha and apex which are often recommended on TA). And if they do, must stay on sealed surfaces. Were not planning on doing off roading per se but can't promise that we wont end up on a gravel road.

Any suggestions on a rental company to use?

24 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
12,929 posts
17 reviews
1. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

First thought is that drive cannot be done in a month.

Second, driving up North at the height of the wet and cyclone season isn’t a great idea. You’re likely to face flooded roads.

Level Contributor
678 posts
51 reviews
2. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

Agree with AmoMondo. Just going by Google Maps’ time estimates and assuming point-to-point based on the places you have mentioned only, you would need to be on the road driving an average of 5 hours every single day of the trip.

You can certainly do long road trips as part of an Australian holiday, but not that much.

Level Contributor
336 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

Thanks for the feedback. I realize it will be a lot of driving but weve done 12000km vacations in a month before in canada, Patagonia and Europe.

We really enjoy road trips and based on estimates we will have 2 to 3 days of 16 hour driving and the rest of the time it will be a few hours to half a day. We also sleep in the car (2 of us on the folded down back seats in an suv) which saves a lot of time in not being tied down to accommodations.

Note we dont plan on visiting northern territory this year due to the rain but just need to drive across so we can go from ningaloo to the west coast. If the roads are flooded we will try a more southerly route.

I just need to find a rental company that won't have issues with us crossing the country.

Edited: 02 August 2018, 01:02
Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane, Queensland
Level Contributor
12,544 posts
54 reviews
4. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

If what you enjoy about road trips is following a white line for hours, counting road kill and seeing nothing at all, then sure, go for it. If you want to see he interesting stuff Australia has to offer, you need to detour off the main roads and in to national parks/ beachside towns etc. these detours can often take 30 mins to an hour each way, plus the time spent seeing the interesting things.

It’s your holiday but your impression of Aus is going to be more “barren wasteland” than anything else. The Dutch sailors made this mistake in the 1500’s because they too did not bother to explore the interesting stuff.


Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
12,587 posts
34 reviews
5. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

This is Thrifty T&Cs - my reading would be that you can drive into WA and back to Brisbane (you can't go to Kangaroo Island). Note T&Cs on driving between dawn and dusk and accidents with animals (as you will be driving at night to do the 15,000km drive).



Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
2,093 posts
15 reviews
6. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

There is no southerly route. From Ningaloo to get across to the east coast you need to go either all they way up to the top of the country on Highway 1 and across the top via Fitzroy crossing, Kununura etc, or all they back down to the south and back across the Nullabor. The center of Western Australia is a giant desert with only a couple of 4wd only tracks such as the Tanami track. The northern route can get flooded for days on end when there’s been a big downpour.

I understand you’ve done big road trips before, but you need to appreciate that Australia is not like Canada or Europe, and we don’t have the infrastructure, road quality or climate that facilitated driving that distance in such a short time. That’s a 4 month trip, not 1 and it’s not a suitable time of year, with flooding in the north and searing heat in the desert and southern states.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,307 posts
42 reviews
7. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

The reason they wont let you go to Kangaroo Island is because you need to go on a Barge / Ferry to get there...

I'd also suggest they wont allow cross country travel is because the drive in some locations is so far away from everything that if you were to break down / have an accident the cost to get help would be astronomical...

As with others, that seems a long way to drive...

You say you've done 12000km in a month in Canada, Patagonia (Argentina) and Europe...

I can tell you straight away, those drives would be much more scenic and have alot more activities to do..

But, its your trip...

New South Wales...
Destination Expert
for Moab
Level Contributor
3,644 posts
56 reviews
8. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

The old Road Trip DE, Tet14, used to do trips like these. One time he went Brisbane to Perth across the top in a month. Another time Sydney-Melbourne-Esperance-Adelaide with a few zig zags along the way. He loved to just drive. He was also a committed Hertz renter.

So maybe try Hertz. Personally I find Hertz pretty good as well but I haven't had to deal with whatever geographic restrictions that may have.

Blue Mountains...
Destination Expert
for Blue Mountains
Level Contributor
1,193 posts
118 reviews
9. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

"Planning on visiting Australia for 1 month in feb and March 2019 and doing a road trip from brisbane south, across to perth, north and back across northern-ish australia, stopping in cairns and then back to brisbane. We've done several similar long road trips before."

No you haven't it! Agree with #4 and #6.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
13,963 posts
51 reviews
10. Re: Car rental geographic restrictions

Yes I agree try Hertz- but they are generally more expensive than others and they will still have restrictions about gravel roads.

And we too love a long road trip and have done plenty of them all over the world I do think your plan is very ambitious especially given the time of year. It wlil be hellishly hot in the north and maybe roads flooded as others have said.

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