Getting around without car

Old Jul 31st, 2002, 01:14 PM
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Getting around without car

Question for husband and I will be spending some time in Sydney & Melbourne on an upcoming trip....My question is how feasible is it to get around to places (like Dandendong Ranges, Penguin Parade, Soverign Hill, Blue Mountains, wine regions) without a rental car, and without signing up for a tour. I think I'm mostly concerned about Melbourne. We don't want to restrict ourselves to day tours every day we're traveling, and so would like to know our options on, say, catching a bus, or taking a mass transit type travel to some of these places. I believe taxi would get expensive, and we might not find anyone willing to take us an hour out of the city. I just cringe thinking that to do some of these things, I either need a car, or I need to schedule a tour. I've heard bad things about renting a car in Melbourne (because of the streets, and how they're set up), but are there places that will let you rent a car on the day you decide to and only for a few hours? Any help would be appricated!
Old Jul 31st, 2002, 05:33 PM
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Hi, Excited!
I will let Melbourne people answer your main concern, but just let me reassure you about the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. You won't need a car. Take the train (hourly) from Sydney Terminal. In one hour you're in the Mountains, in two hours you're in Katoomba, the place most people would say was the best for a one- or two-day tour. A car would be a nuisance in Sydney.
I have a feeling that the Melbournians will give you the same advice, but I don't know about the wine regions, which I think may be far from the city.
Old Jul 31st, 2002, 11:46 PM
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It would be difficult and very time consuming to get to the Dandenongs or the penguins by public transport, and also not cheap. To get to the Dandenongs, you could get a train to Belgrave or Fern Tree Gully and from there, rely on the public bus system but this wouldn't give you the opportunities to stop and look at views, shops, cafes etc.
For the penguins, I would really suggest taking a tour. The birds don't come in until dusk which means returning to Melbourne in the dark - not the best in a strange country.
You could take the train to Ballarat for Sovereign Hill but you would probably need to take a taxi to get around there. Incidentally, also see the Gold Museum, opposite Sovereign Hill, plus the sound and light show at Sovereign Hill is worth staying overnight in Ballarat.
There are lots of wineries in the Yarra Valley - about 45 minutes from the city by car. If you do this by car, make a full day of it and drive as far as Healesville (great sanctuary for Australian birds and animals) or Marysville for magnificent trees and scenery.
There are plenty of hire car companies in Melbourne and it should be easy to hire a car. The street system is not difficult as long as you are aware of how to pay the tolling system on our City Link freeways.
Hope this helps.
Old Aug 2nd, 2002, 07:10 AM
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I drove a rental car in Melbourne last year. It isn't difficult if you keep off the streets that have trams. If you don't want to drive in the city center, you can choose a rental office somewhere else (airport?). The larger companies such as Hertz and Avis have many locations around town.
Old Aug 2nd, 2002, 12:48 PM
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Thanks everyone!
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