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Parking in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Perth (and where to avoid)

Maryse Dubois

The best areas for parking in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Parking always seems to be an issue for vehicle owners, particularly when living in a densely populated area. However, there are some areas where finding a spot requires a little more effort than usual. Difficulty in finding parking, as well as price, usually depends on the ratio of cars to designated spaces. These issues are among the many reasons why parking is such a valuable commodity. For all drivers, particularly commuters, determining the best and worst areas for parking makes life so much easier (and can help you reduce the costs of driving a car).

Parking in Australian cities

1. Sydney CBD
2. Goulburn Street Carpark, Sydney
3. Kings Cross Carpark, Sydney
4. Newtown, Sydney
5. Potts Point, Sydney
6. Bondi Beach, Sydney
7. Melbourne CBD
8. Council House Carpark, Melbourne
9. Elgin Street Carpark, Carlton
10. Brisbane CBD Parking
11. King George Square Carpark, Brisbane
12. Southbank Cultural Centre, Brisbane
13. Kangaroo Point, Brisbane
14. Perth CBD
15. Freemantle

Do You Find City Parking Expensive?

If you’re a city-dweller, crowds of people, high prices and the time-consuming task of finding parking would be familiar to you. With such high density in city areas, the limited resources drive costs sky-high, as well as competition. Whilst councils try to discourage parking in CBD’s, some public transport in emerging business hubs are struggling to keep up with the influx of people.

Do you find Parking Hard to Find?

A study done in 2014 showed that there were just over 52,000 spaces allocated to over 251,000 employees in the Sydney CBD. This means that one in five workers are lucky enough to find a space for the day. This gap is even larger than that of Boston in the United States, which has 70,000 spots catering to approximately 236,000 people. So if you find parking hard to find, you’re certainly not alone.

Worst Suburbs for Parking

There are so many places in populous cities that are a struggle to park in, but which parts are more challenging than others? Here are a few suburbs to avoid when parking your vehicle.

Sydney Parking Challenges

Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and therefore, has the most expensive parking in the country. In Sydney, on-street parking costs on average $77.61 per day and is considered to be the most expensive Australian city for short-term stays, at $7 per hour. However, a lot of the locals struggle to afford parking along with things like food, rent and home loans. The value of a spare car parking space is huge, with a Sydney CBD car space auctioning for over $400,000 in 2015.


Parking in the Sydney CBD: Goulburn Street Carpark

The Goulburn Street car parks are some of your best bets for Sydney city parking that is more affordable. This carpark is run by the City of Sydney and is close to Central Station and Pitt Street.

Goulburn Street Parking: Daytime rates

  • 0–½ hour: $5
  • ½–1 hour: $9
  • 1–2 hours: $20
  • 2–3 hours: $30
  • 3–4 hours: $40
  • 4+ hours: $49
  • Maximum rate: $49.

Evening, weekend and special rates

Monday to Friday evenings, entry after 5pm, exit before 6am next day: $10 flat rate
Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays: $12 flat rate

Rooftop parking

Entry between 6am and 9.30am, exit between 3pm and 7pm.
Monday–Friday: $17

Sydney City King Cross Carpark rates:

  • 0–½ hour: Free
  • ½–1 hour: $8
  • 1–2 hours: $16
  • 2–3 hours: $25
  • 3–4 hours: $32
  • 4+ hours: $40

Casual parking rates
All rates apply per entry per day (each day starts from 6am)
Kings Cross Carpark Night rate $15

Available Monday to Thursday with entry after 6pm and exit before 6am the next day. The first 30 minutes are free and then the night rate will apply thereafter.

Kings Cross Carpark weekend day rate $15

Available Saturday and Sunday with entry after 6am and exit before 6pm the same day. The first 30 minutes are free and then the weekend day rate will apply thereafter.

Basement parking $17

Available Monday to Friday with entry from 6am to 9am and exit from 3pm to 7pm

Suburbs to avoid are;


Located in the Inner West 4 kilometres from Sydney CBD, this bohemian suburb is known for its diverse food choices but not so diverse parking options. The issue with parking lies in the narrow sideroads. If you do manage to find parking in one of these narrow streets, you then run the risk of having the odd speedy vehicle driving too close to your vehicle and potentially damaging it.

If you do find yourself needing a carpark, for a cheap option take a look at the Dendy Newtown Carpark.

Location: 261-263 King Street

Newtown Carparking Rates:

  • 0 – 1 Hour: $3.00
  • 1 – 2 Hours: $6.00
  • 2 – 3 Hours: $9.00
  • 3 – 4 Hours: $12.00
  • 4 Hours +: $15.00

If you're looking for unrestricted parking, you can find it north of Salibury Road and west of Edgeware Road in Newtown.

Potts Point

This suburb is one of the hardest ones to find a parking spot in. There are more than 2000 residents in this area who don’t have a parking space, forcing them in the next neighbourhood or within a half hour walking distance radius. Both Newtown and Potts Point also have strict, high parking fees, should you be caught staying over your limit.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach also makes the list of Sydney’s most difficult suburbs to find parking. As a very popular area for tourists, both locals and commuters struggle to compete for space, particularly when their parking needs are long term. Because of the high number of visitors, the need for frequent turnover of parking spaces is very high. This means that on-street parking is limited to 2p-3p Zones and is closely regulated.

The main Bondi Beach carpark is operated by Waverley Council, and is the Queen Elizabeth Drive Car Park which is quite expensive. The rates vary depending on the time of year.

Melbourne Parking Challenges

Much like Sydney, Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia and has a population to match its size. Recently deemed to be the highest density city in the country, parking prices have skyrocketed prompting a huge unenthusiastic response from locals. The other suburbs vying for the top position are all in the state of NSW, however, it is a substantial difference between first and second place, with the Victorian suburb being almost double the population of Potts Point/Woolloomooloo, the suburb in second place. So which suburbs are the worst?
Melbourne CBD

Unsurprisingly, Melbourne’s CBD has been named the most densely populated suburb by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This boom in population can be attributed to the wide influx of students settling in the city of Melbourne. To give some idea of numbers, on top of the increase in domestic students, 43,000 international students were admitted to Melbourne Universities in 2015 alone. Both short-term on and off-street parking are cheaper in Melbourne than in Sydney and Brisbane. However, in some areas, parking prices can reach $100 for an 8-hour stay.


Some of the cheapest Melbourne CBD parking can be found:

Melbourne Arts Centre

Early Bird $17

To get the early bird parking rate at the Melbourne Arts Centre, from Monday - Friday, enter before 10:00am and exit by 6:30pm. The offer isn't valid on public holidays or weekends.

Council House car park in the Melbourne CBD

Location: The car park has entrances on Russel Lane, Royal Lane and 200 Little Collins Street:

Melbourne Council House parking rates:

  • Less than 30 minutes: $5
  • 0.5 to 1 hours: $12
  • 1 to 1.5 hours: $15
  • 1.5 to 2 hours: $18
  • 2 to 2.5 hours: $22
  • 2.5 to 3 hours: $32
  • 3 to 3.5 hours: $40
  • 3.5 to 4 hours: $50
  • 4 to 4.5 hours: $60
  • 4.5 to 5 hours: $60

Weekend daily maximum: $60
Weekend daily flat rate (2+ hours): $12.
Night rate, Monday to Sunday (enter after 6pm, exit before 6am): $10.

Street Parking in Melbourne
Most parking bays in the CBD have a limit of 1P (one hour) during the day. After 6:30pm, most bays will have a 2P (two hour) limit. After 8:30pm, most restrictions on Melbourne CBD parking will finish.

As city density isn’t as high outside of the CBD the time restrictions tend to be a little more generous, but again it will vary depending on the area you are in.

For a Melbourne city on-street parking bay, the hourly fees generally are $7 per hour, but make sure to check where you’re parking to confirm.

Carlton Parking

It is Melbourne’s second most populated suburb and featured on the list of Australia’s most densely populated, coming in at number 6. The suburb is extremely popular due to its 5 star health rating. However, this doesn’t help to combat the need for parking spaces, as locals and visitors are finding it hard to finding street parking.

If you are looking for parking in Carlton, the Elgin Street carpark is a good place to find more affordable rates.

Elgin Street Carpark, Carlton

Location: 215–217 Elgin Street, Carlton

Carlton Carpark rates:

  • Less than 1 hour: $5
  • 1 to 2 hours: $7
  • 2 to 3 hours: $10
  • 3 to 4 hours: $12
  • 4 to 5 hours: $14
  • 5 to 6 hours: $15
  • Daily maximum: $18
  • Night rate (enter after 5pm exit before close): $8

Brisbane Parking Challenges

Being the capital city of Queensland, Brisbane undoubtedly has the population to match its status. To accommodate for the rising population, more high rises are being built, giving citizens more housing opportunities. However, a side effect of this is the increasing crowdedness of the suburbs fringing the city. Car parking in the Brisbane CBD has the highest off-street parking charges in Australia with an average of $73.74 for all day parking. This is in part due to the rapid increase in population, and also due to a limited number of competitors owning private car parks, giving those businesses little reason to reduce their rates.

Brisbane City Parking: King George Square car park

This car park is managed by the Brisbane City Council, and while it is still quite costly, it is slightly more affordable than many of the privately owned car parks in Brisbane. The car park is located between Adelaide and Ann Street (underground), and is conveniently located right near City Hall. From here you can easily access the busway at King George Square busway, or Queen Street Mall and the CBD.

Brisbane City King George Square car park

Location: Between Adelaide and Ann Street

0-15 minutes: FREE
15-20 minutes: $5
20-30 minutes: $10
30 minutes to 1 hour: $18
1-1.5 hours: $22
1.5-2 hours: $25
2-2.5 hours: $27
2.5-3 hours: $30
3-3.5 hours: $32
3.5-4 hours: $35

Maximum daily rate is $35 (for cars leaving before 6pm)

Park at Southbank Cultural Center in Brisbane for cheaper parking

Southbank is on the other side of the river from the CBD, and is home to a large, manmade beach, and a variety of shops, restaurants and events. It's a great area to visit, and is easy to access from the Southbank train station, or the Southbank bus stop.

Southbank all day parking for $17 in Brisbane
There are three car parks in the Cultural Centre that offer over 1000 car park spaces, with 28 being Mobility Impaired bays (PWD). These car parks are ideal if you're looking to access the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Museum, State Library Queensland or the Gallery of Modern Art. You can also take a bus from the Cultural Centre busway into the Brisbane CBD, or it's a short stroll across the Victoria Bridge.

You can access these via Melbourne Street, or by Stanley Place through the Cultural Centre Tunnel.

P1, P2 or P3 are the car park locations for the Cultural Centre.

Important: The carpark closes at midnight - afterhours exits will incur a fee of $40

Kangaroo Point

Located on and along the riverside, Kangaroo Point suburb has over 9000 residents. Earlier this year, a number of car parks were demolished in order to make way for a new bikeway and pedestrian path. This has created a problem for residents and workers, making finding parking that much more time consuming and tedious, particularly as the public transport options are under construction.

Perth Parking Challenges

Perth comes next in the list of most populous cities in Australia. It is the most expensive city for commuters who prefer to travel by car. Some people have no choice, especially when they don’t live close to a train station or have any access to public transport. This makes the parking situation that much more important to deal with. On-street all day parking costs between $12 and $57 a day, substantially cheaper than its interstate counterparts.

Fremantle Parking

Being a large and popular place to live, parking remains a huge issue for commuters and locals. In the past year, the City of Fremantle has been in the process of building various parking bays in order to make parking a little bit easier on drivers. The Stan Reilly Centre is currently being expanded and the additional 155 bays are scheduled to open in April 2019. Queensgate car park, when opened, will also have an added 470 bays for drivers to use. For now, however, it is certainly a suburb to avoid.

If you're planning to visit one of these cities, it's worth your time to plan your parking before you go, so you don't have to feel stressed when you visit. It's important to remember a lot of the carparks we've listed do not offer bookings in advance. If you'd like to have a guaranteed parking space for your trip, why not check out Spacer, Australia’s leading parking marketplace.

And don't forget...have a great trip!

*Prices correct at the time of posting, check online for up to date prices.

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