Self-driving travel experience in Gold Coast, Australia

27/04/2016 English


There are so many reasons for you to select self-driving travel in overseas countries, like the roads are broad and flat, the local transportation is not convenient, the distance between attractions is too far away, the car rental cost is even cheaper than taking public transport, cars there are right-steering, etc. The Editor had enjoyed a very relaxing trip in Australia’s Gold Coast by self-driving travel. Let’s share the first-hand experience through!

International Driving Permit

You should know you will have to apply for the International Driving Permit with the fee of HK$80 and validity of one year before your self-driving trip! Many people are saying that you can drive legally in Australia holding a Hong Kong Driving License. It’s theoretically true. However, it’s better for you not to save this little spending. That’s the law in Australia. But the policy of a car rental company will be another issue! The car rental companies there will mostly check your International Diving Permit mainly because the Hong Kong driving license has got no photo for further identity verification of the driver. It will be a pity that if you lose your chance of self-driving travel because of this!

Select car rental company carefully

Gold Coast Airport has got only one terminal. The immigration for all international and domestic flights are all here. There will be around 5 to 6 car rental companies located in the area near the domestic flight counters. Self-driving tourists will go straight to the car rental companies after getting back their luggage. You should carefully select one. The price is, of course, a major consideration. But you will also need to pay attention to the reputation and any hidden terms included in the car rental contract.

Select car type

It depends on your preferences and needs throughout the journey. For many people travelling, with kids or elderly, or many luggages, a bigger or family car will be more suitable. If there’re only two people travelling, a small 4-seater car pretty enough for your luggages will be fine. In Gold Coast, there are many small or funny cars with a variety of sharp colours available which are relatively rare in Hong Kong. That will be nice for those who like to take pictures for uploading and gaining LIKEs!


Purchase car insurance or GPS

The basic and compulsory car insurance fee has already been included no matter which car type you rent. But safety will always be the first priority of self-driving travel. You can further purchase car insurance like the zero excess so that you won’t need to spend a huge amount of compensation in the event of any accident or collision! For the rental of GPS, we strongly suggest you not to save this cost unless there’s someone who is very familiar with the local traffic travelling with you. The navigation function of your mobile phone or the road signs are absolutely not enough for taking you to the destination!


Time, location and method for car pick up and return

The car rental fee is counted per day by 24 hours. So, you will need to know clearly when you can return your car. Rental fee will be counted as a full day even you’ve been late for only an hour! For car return, most of the rental companies allow customers to return it in the city’s main attractions. But the first choice will always be the airport. For car pick up, after completing the registration and payment, you will receive a car park map from the staff. You can then easily locate your car rented by finding the parking area of your car rental company and the relevant parking number! A separate car park is offered for all car rental companies in the Gold Coast Airport. So, you can feel free to leave the car park by simply exiting the gate.

Parking tips

Australia is famous for its extremely large territory. In Gold Coast, there’re plenty of spaces for parking. So, many famous attractions have got a car park with at least a hundred parking lots for free! We had visited the three major theme parks there, including Wet’n’Wild, Country Paradise and Warner Bros Movie World. All of them (except the one of Country Paradise with only a few dozen parking lots) have got a very huge car park offering free parking throughout the day. However, the parking area is large, and so as the number of visitors. We arrived at around 1pm during the day visiting Wet’n’Wild and the car park was full already. We should keep driving for a while until someone left. So, we suggest you to start your day early there! For the problem of hotel parking, see if your hotel has got its own car park. And the parking fee varies. So, you should also take a look at the parking facilities and fees of your hotel booked for a more planned budget.


Renting a car in Gold Coast, the rule is mostly getting and returning a car with full fuel tank. You will need to reserve some time for fueling before returning your car. Or you will get delay for your trip back to the airport. Like many countries in Europe, fueling in gas station is self-service. Park and turn off your car in the gas station, input your desired amount of money on the screen, you can then start the fueling yourself. Once done, you can then approach the staff in convenient store with your parking number and pay by cash or credit card. You may feel very confused for your first time of self-service fueling. If you really can’t handle this yourself, just feel free to request the staff in convenient store for help. You may start to like it after getting familiar with this method of fueling which is more convenient and flexible!

For more details about the protection of your trip, feel free to visit the travel insurance page of DirectAsia.



About the Author

Mark Cheng

PR人、freelance 寫作、配音人,典型80後,愛分享,甚麼都喜愛放上Facebook 「炫耀」及暢談一番,深信文字創作能給別人帶來正能量!