Aug 18, 2013

Road Trippin' in New South Wales

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There is something about self-driving while holidaying in Australia but it is tough to pinpoint it exactly. Is it the crisp air while cruising along the open highways? Is it the endless sea of green fields and animals dotting the picturesque landscape? Or is it the well-signed roads and relatively low traffic that makes driving a breeze?

Quite frankly, it is all of the above... and more. Because not only are self drive holidays a satisfying way to travel around Australia, it is really freedom on wheels. No waiting for buses, grappling with bus routes or squeezing with everyone else on a crowded train. We get the flexibility of planning our own itinerary, take our own sweet time to explore places that are off the beaten tracks and basically, control our own adventure.

All we need to do is just get in the car and go.

And go we did, in our previous trip to Sydney and its surrounds. We didn't require a car during our first few days in the city centre of Sydney though because its transport network is pretty much all-encompassing. That, and the fact that parking is terribly exorbitant - A$19 for an hour's worth of parking, anyone?

But once we made our way to its surrounding areas - Kiama and Blue Mountains - I knew we had to have our own set of wheels and that came in the form of a 7-seater Toyota Kluger, thanks to Hertz.

Our previous collaboration with Hertz was last year during our trip to the Gold Coast where I had the privilege of fitting the family into a Toyota Camry. This time around, we decided to up the ante and go for a MPV instead... with its awesome boot space no less!

The thing about rental cars from Hertz is that they are one year old on the average and have undergone the most stringent of quality control checks, providing a peace of mind when you are travelling on the road with your loved ones.

Oh, and did you spy the little rectangular box on the dashboard? That was my lifesaver throughout our road trip, otherwise known as the Hertz NeverLost® GPS Navigation System.

The Hertz NeverLost® provides voice and visual prompts to guide me from my current location to my destination, effectively eliminating the stress of having to find my way on unfamiliar roads.

I have said it before in my previous self-driving post and I will say it again. I had relied on maps - those hard-copy, paper ones - back in 2009 on one of our road trips in Australia. And we got lost. Faced with the prospect of fast-disappearing daylight, I turned on the 3G on my phone and sought help from the maps app. We finally did make our way to Lillydale before night fell, but it came with a price - $350 (!!!) worth of data roaming charges to be exact.

So with the NeverLost as my guide, it totally took the stress out of my driving and having the need to hunt for street signs, having to ask for directions, fiddle with maps or worse - pay mind-numbing 3G charges.

Oh, and of course having the added benefit of reaching our destination safely and with ample time to spare for the monkies to enjoy the sights and sounds of our destination.

Even up to now, I still miss driving in Australia terribly and I have to admit - part of me yearns to take another holiday in Australia again just so that I can drive on its roads once more. And since along with self-driving in Australia comes freedom, convenience and cost-saving, I reckon the wifey might just agree with me!

And here's a final tip in making that car rental booking: Making your reservation before departure. This way, you can secure the car of your choice at the location, date and time you need it, and at the best deals.

For more details or to make a reservation, book online at or contact Hertz Reservation Centre at 1800 370 3388 (local toll-free) or email Download the Hertz Australia Driving Guide - a guide which provides practical tips, from pre-trip planning to making car rental reservations to things you should look out for before and while on the road - HERE or contact Hertz at 1800 370 3388 for a FREE copy.

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