Why you should rent a car for your next trip to Victoria, Australia

By Syaz Khan, 15 November 2017 866

Despite living in the concrete jungle that is Singapore, I’ve always been more of a nature lover than a city explorer. So when holidays roll around, I make sure to add plenty of nature spots to my travel itineraries. The only problem? Many of the gorgeous mountains, forests and waterfalls on my hit list are often located in far-flung areas that are inaccessible by public transport, especially in huge countries like Australia. For my one-week trip to Victoria, Australia this August, my partner and I wised up – we decided to rent a car to go on a three-day road trip on the Great Ocean Road and beyond. Here’s why we chose to rent a car over other travel options.

We passed these strange-looking trees while on the way to Cape Otway

It’s cheaper than booking a tour

Since the Great Ocean Road is not accessible from Melbourne via public transport, the only transport options you have are driving a rental car or booking a group tour. A group tour can run up to more than $150 per person per day, which is way more expensive than renting a car. My partner and I spent about $100 on car rental per day from Budget – which works out to only $50 per person. Even after including petrol costs (about $50 for a full tank), it’s the cheaper option overall. Plus, parking is often free in small towns and nature areas outside of the city. Bonus if you’re travelling in a larger group – you can split the cost.

This hauntingly beautiful forest was almost completely empty, save for a Hong Kong family and us

There’s no such thing as ‘too far’

Weeks before our trip, we looked up beautiful spots to visit in Victoria. Besides the usual suspects like the Twelve Apostles and London Arch, we also wanted to check out underrated nature spots in Victoria. Once we narrowed our must-see places down, we plotted them on Google Maps to figure out the perfect route. One of our favourite places that was pretty far from the nearest town was The Redwoods in Beech Forest – a surreal sight of towering Californian Redwood trees. We had to meander creepy, winding roads for almost an hour to get there, but the view was worth it. 

You have complete freedom

We passed by the stunning Lake Bellfield while leaving Grampians National Park and stopped for a few snapshots

Want to stay a bit longer to get that perfect Instagram shot? Not a problem if you’re renting a car. Unlike a group tour or taking public transport where you have a fixed schedule, renting a car lets you decide how much time you want to spend in a place. There were also a few instances where we spontaneously added more places to our itinerary. While leaving Grampians National Park, we happened to drive by the breathtaking Lake Bellfield – not found in any travel guides – and made an impromptu stop. It can also get pretty chilly when you’re on the mountains or near the ocean, so it was a plus point to be able to hurry back to a toasty car!

You can always go on a joyride

Perhaps the only downside about travelling to the outskirts of Melbourne is that there isn’t much to do after dark. Once the sun sets, it’s not advisable to journey to nature sites since there are rarely streetlamps to light the way. Here’s where a rental car comes in handy. For example, after checking in to our Airbnb in Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road, instead of confining ourselves to the room for the rest of the night, we drove around the small town to explore and check out restaurants that opened until late.

Don’t forget to grab Income’s Travel Insurance before embarking on your self-drive trip, which covers any excess resulting from accidental loss or damage to your rental vehicle. Enjoy your road trips with extra peace of mind.