Melbourne: Road Trip along Great Ocean Road

Update (13 Sep 2014): We realized that Europcar billed us an approximate AUD45 to our credit card in July when we had already left Melbourne. Multiple emails and tweets to their Twitter account went ignored, it had been almost 2 months since we touched base with them. A thorough check via Google and I can find tons of complaints about them. Lesson learnt, gonna do more research from now on and refrain from using credit card for any kind of service payments while overseas. Let’s not talk about what kind of service Standard Chartered had given to us as well. All they said was “You need to settle with the merchant, there is nothing we can do.” Bravo.

Great Ocean Road is one of the must-visit destinations in Melbourne. I did tons of research on the area before booking our farm stay for 2 nights. Will blog about our farm stay at a later date! smile

Upon touching down, we saw Europcar‘s counter and decided to rent a car to drive up to Great Ocean Road (GOR). I am so glad that we did. Driving 600km to and fro is no easy feat. Boss must be secretly happy that I have a driving license haha! bigsmile However, the issues that we experienced is mind boggling.

Make Comparisons
We paid about AUD300 for 2 days rental including insurance and GPS, not exactly cheap. The more days you rent, the cheaper it is. There are a few car rental companies near the airport and we decided to take up Europcar because of a friendly Asian lady who is working at the counter. Turns out that she don’t know her numbers well. Read on to know why. angry

Do Proper Research
I did some research on car rentals, but not enough. Europcar seemed to have a very bad reputation in Australia. Apart from the experiences mentioned, I am glad that we were not slapped with exorbitant charges. Reviews like these are scary. Moral of the story – do more research and read the reviews.

Check on Hidden Charges
We were slapped with extra charges like one-way car return to the city area. confused Turns out it was a blunder made by the Asian lady. No one told us that we need to pump the tank to full level when we returned the car. They even have charges like additional drivers which I don’t quite get it. Remember to ask questions before committing.

Rent a Good Car & GPS

We rented a Toyota Camry 2.4L and only pumped the tank once, though there are many rest stops along the way to top up petrol and have your toilet breaks. GPS rental is about AUD14 per day, quite affordable and a must-have. Most importantly, do rent a car that you are familiar with, follow the road signages and drive safely.

Road Signages

Signages along the highway are quite straightforward and similar to the ones in Singapore. The GPS was pretty accurate except for one minor boo-boo. The route given to GOR and back to the city are two different routes. There were lots of intersections, blind spots, curves and bends when we drove to GOR, but it was along the pretty coastal area. Whereas it was one straight road when we drove back to the city. A major test on our driving skills and patience.

However, nothing beats the breathtaking views that we saw along the way. AWESOME! wink

Check out my other posts on Melbourne:
heart Melbourne: Road Trip along Great Ocean Road
heart Melbourne: Johanna River Farm and Cottages at Great Ocean Road
heart Melbourne: The Twelve Apostles at Great Ocean Road
heart Melbourne: Traveling to Melbourne City
heart Melbourne: Hopetoun Tea Rooms in The Block Arcade
heart Melbourne: Puffing Billy Steam Railway
heart Melbourne: Top Paddock and 400 Gradi
heart Melbourne: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
heart Melbourne: Coldstream Brewery
heart Melbourne: Domaine Chandon & Sky High Mount Dandenong
heart Melbourne: Phillip Island – Koala Conservation Centre & Penguin Parade
heart Melbourne: Rosebud Pier & Mount Martha
heart Melbourne: Apollo Bay Bakery
heart Melbourne: Apollo Bay, Loch Ard Gorge & Twelve Apostles
heart Melbourne: Patricia Coffee Brewers
heart Melbourne: 5 Reasons to Visit South Melbourne Market
heart Melbourne: Adriano Zumbo Macarons
heart Melbourne: Beautiful Street Art at Hoiser Lane
heart Melbourne: Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters
heart Melbourne: Bringalbit Country Retreat