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Hiring a Car in Perth

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Source: Flickr | disco_ecstasy"

Need to hire a car once you move to Perth? Find what driver's licence you need, which hire scams to avoid and driving tips for Western Australia here.

When you first move to Perth, you’ll most likely want to spend a little time getting your bearings and learning how find your way around. If you’re staying in temporary accommodation you’ll also want to check out potential places to set up a new home.

Since Perth and its suburbs are rather spread out - certainly in comparison to European cities - and though the city’s public transport system is useful for those who live and work near the city centre, hiring a car is a sensible way to get around town.

In the age of online reviews, comparing Perth’s myriad car hire companies poses very little problems. However, there are still some essential factors to consider when it comes to hiring a car - and driving it - in Western Australia.

Australian car hire companies

Mostly Australian car hire companies work the same as in other countries and you’ll find all the usual big players, e.g. Budget, Avis, etc.

Some unusual practices to look out for include taking a damage deposit off your card at the beginning of the rental period rather than billing you at the end. If you use a company that does the make sure you carefully inspect the vehicle on pick up and make sure that all existing damage is documented.

As you’re in a new country and looking to build up your credit score, greater peace of mind might be gained by taking out the additional insurance rather than risking a large bill for damage.

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Driving in Western Australia

An International Drivers Permit is not required by law, but is recommended while you apply for a Western Australia driver’s licence. These are available from the authorities in your country of origin (in the UK they can be bought from the Post Office for just over a fiver and will cover you for a whole year).

To apply for a WA driver’s licence you’ll need to go in person to one of the several Driver and Vehicle Services Centres in Perth and take your current licence, proof of identity (e.g. passport), proof of residence, a document that shows your signature and the application fee (74.10 AUD at the time of writing).

Whether you’ll need to take theory and practical tests is determined by your age and the country that issued your current licence. For example, if you have a UK licence and you’re over 25 years of age, you’re exempt from having to take any tests.

Once you’ve taken any necessary tests you’ll have your picture taken, your signature captured and be issued with a WA driver’s licence.

Car hire tips for Perth

  • Australians drive on the left hand side of the road. Overtaking is on the right. At some traffic lights you can turn left on a red light (but only if there’s a sign which indicates that’s the case).
  • The default speed limit in Western Australia is 50 km/h , varies between 60 and 90 km/h on arterial roads, is 100 km/h on the freeway and 110 km/h outside built-up areas.
  • There are both fixed and mobile speed cameras in operation.
  • It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 or above.
  • Winter downpours in Western Australia can create hazardous driving conditions - be careful in wet weather.
  • Picking up your hire car at the airport after a long flight might not be advisable. Why not get a taxi to your accommodation and have your hire car delivered there the next day? You’ll save money and reduce your chances of having an accident caused by tiredness and unfamiliar surroundings.