Melbourne to Cairns One-Way Car Hire

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Mystery car hire
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One of the finest travelling routes in Australia is along its East coast. To enjoy the experience, you will want to drive from Melbourne to Cairns. It is a very long trip that will allow you to see the different landscapes, terrains, and landmarks Australia has to offer. Luckily, you can hire vehicles that drive you from Melbourne to Cairns without breaking the bank.

Which Car Rental Companies Offer One-Way Car Hire From Melbourne to Cairns?

The following car hire companies have rental depots in Melbourne and Cairns, offering one-way car hire.

  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Europcar
  • Enterprise
  • Keddy by Europcar

How Far is it From Melbourne to Cairns?

There are a few route alternatives that you can consider. The most picturesque route stretches more than 3000 km and will take you along the coastline. The drive will take at least 36 hours, so you must be prepared to drive a lot.

This route will enable you to pass through Canberra, Sydney, Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Airlie Beach and Cairns. If you want to shorten your travel to 32 hours, you can take the alternative inland routes.

Why Should You Choose a One-Way Car Hire From Melbourne to Cairns?

If you want to catch what the eastern coastline of Australia has to offer, then the drive from Melbourne to Cairns is an excellent option. If you plan to travel with a few people, the cost will be relatively affordable, and you will be able to see and do a lot during your trips.

The drive will require a bit of time, so it would be ideal to plan a minimum of 3 to 4 days of driving. Spend at least a day in the major cities you would like to explore during your trip.

A Quick Comparison With Other Forms of Transportation?

We’ve provided a table below that will help you compare the value of each transportation mode.

Mode of TransportationTime DurationEstimated Price
Car Hire (10 days)32 to 36 hours$878+
By Air1 hour and 30 minutes$243+
By BusHop On/Hop Off$549
Transport comparison

If your travelling party is 4 or 5 people, you will save more money by hiring a car. You will be able to experience more on your trip.

What Can I See Along the way?

There are plenty of things to see and do along the way from Melbourne to Cairns. We suggest stopping at the following locations:

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is an 11,400-kilometre stretch of mountain tops, sandstone cliffs, and lush forest-filled valleys. Folk will come across thundering waterfalls, majestic lookouts, and even fantastic wildlife when hiking the land.

Regardless of your adventure preference, the Blue Mountains is truly an excellent place for an action-packed adventure amidst the Australian natural beauty.

Sydney Opera House

Melbourne to Sydney one-way car hire
Melbourne to Sydney one-way car hire

Nestling prominently on Sydney’s historic Bennelong Point, the Sydney Opera House is a masterwork of late modern architecture. 

It was constructed by a young architect who understood and acknowledged the potential provided by the site against the spectacular backdrop of Sydney Harbor. The Sydney Opera House is an elegant piece of urban sculpture in patterned tiles, glowing in the sunlight and invitingly luminous at night. Today, the Sydney Opera House halls attract over 8 million visitors annually.

House of Parliament – Canberra

Parliament House Canberra, Australia
Parliament House Canberra, Australia

Image by helen35 from Pixabay

Built in 1988, Australia’s national parliament building is an extravagant and profoundly symbolic architecture. Resting atop Capitol Hill, the building is intersected by two axes, north-south and east-west, defining the historical progression and legislative progression of Australian democracy. There’s plenty to witness, whether the politicians are yelling at each other in the chambers.

Visitors can explore large building sections and observe parliamentary proceedings from the public galleries. Tickets are free but must be booked through the Serjeant-at-Arms.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a coastal village on the far-north coast of NSW, Australia. Home to Australia’s most easterly point and the scenic Cape Byron lighthouse, the region is known for its breathtaking beaches, unique shopping and dining experiences, world-class festivals, and lively community spirit.

Gold Coast

From theme parks to shopping centres, surfing to ancient rainforests, here’s how to make the most of the Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast’s lead attraction is its beaches, including the world-renowned stretch of sand at Surfers Paradise. It also boasts laid-back neighbourhoods, a booming culinary location and the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks. Be sure to leave enough time for a journey into the subtropical hinterland for rainforest treks and waterfalls.


Brisbane is a city that lives up to its bright potential with a firm focus on the outdoors. This includes al fresco dining, picnics by the river, islands just off the coast and national parks. Add to this a vibrant cultural precinct, abundant wildlife and effortless access to nearby icons like the Gold Coast and Great Barrier Reef, and you’ve got a destination you can’t say no to.

Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Whether pursuing action-packed, nature-filled adventures or a cosy beachside escape, the Sunshine Coast delivers the best of both worlds.

Extending for more than 60 km (40 mi) along the Queensland coast, the Sunshine Coast is as extensive as it is varied. White sand beaches and pristine waterways rest alongside lush rainforests and Heritage-listed national parks, with lovely historic villages sprinkled throughout. You’ll be pampered for choice with fresh local seafood, memorable dining experiences and many beautiful wineries and breweries. Top it off with a subtropical climate and amazing nature experiences, and you’ve discovered an ideal year-round destination.

Airlie Beach

Car hire Airlie Beach
Car hire Airlie Beach

As the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach is an excellent ground to explore these magnificent wonders.

Found in the heart of the Whitsundays region, the coastal town of Airlie Beach has long been a famous holiday destination. While it presents a convenient gateway to explore the incredible marine parks encircling it, Airlie Beach is a place worth taking your time in. The year-round tropical climate, palm-fringed beaches, waterfront parks, al fresco restaurants and lively markets encourage you to go with the flow and soak up the laid-back vibe.

Nearby, you’ll discover tropical rainforests and waterfalls in Conway National Park, while the Coral Sea’s sparkling waters offer great adventures, from sailing and snorkelling to sleeping on the reef.


Cruising through blue waters, snorkelling above gardens of coral and coastal sights more beautiful than a postcard – it’s all waiting for you in the Whitsundays. A collection of islands located 55 kilometres off the Queensland coast, the Whitsundays offer everything you’d desire from a tropical paradise; turquoise waters that meet swirling white sands, gorgeous hidden beaches and world-class luxury accommodation.
It’s undoubtedly calming, but that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter incredible adventure experiences. The closeness to the Great Barrier Reef means the Whitsundays is a mecca for sailing, diving and snorkelling. There are many possibilities to tick off some bucket list-worthy activities like swimming with turtles or flying over the celebrated Heart Reef.

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