Guide to the best airport parking choices in Australia

Whether I’m jetting off from Sydney or touching down in Melbourne, finding that perfect spot for my car always tops my to-do list. And in my quest, I’ve dealt with drive-up rates, managed my bookings online, and even changed plans last-minute.

Each experience taught me something new about airport parking, from the value of shuttle bus services to the convenience of short-term spots right next to the exit gate.

Because of that, I’ve come up with a list of my favourite airport car parking spots that made my traveller lifestyle incredibly easy. Here are my top picks for the best airport parking choices across Australia:

  1. Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine Airport)
  2. Hobart Airport
  3. Perth Airport
  4. Canberra Airport
  5. Sydney (Kingsford Smith Airport)
  6. Brisbane Airport
  7. Darwin Airport
  8. Adelaide Airport

Melbourne Airport

1. Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine Airport)

From the hundreds of times I’ve parked at Melbourne Airport, I can confidently say that they’ve got the parking situation down to an art.

For one, their online booking system was a cinch. Seriously, it was like ordering pizza online – pick your options, enter your entry and exit times, and boom, you’re set. Plus, the QR code they included in my confirmation email was very handy. No digging around for my credit card, just a quick scan at the gate, and I was through.

The best part for me is their range of airport parking options. I’ve tried a few based on my trip—from Value to Valet Parking—and they never disappoint.

Plus, most of the parking spaces are just a few minutes’ walk to the airport terminals. And when I parked at their Value Car Park, the free shuttle bus was a lifesaver. It didn’t matter when I landed or needed to catch my flight. I never had to wait more than 15 minutes for one.

Also, seeing all those CCTV cameras around made me breathe easier. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that your car is being watched over is priceless.

Had a trip where my plans flipped at the last minute. Hit up the ‘manage my booking’ online, and fixed my dates without having to talk to anyone.

It’s all unbelievably straightforward that Melbourne Airport has set my standards for airport parking, whether in Australia or abroad.

Hobart Airport

So, I recently parked at Hobart Airport, and it was quite the experience.

Walking from the car park to the terminal was a breeze. Whether it was the valet, long-term, or short-term parking, nothing was more than an 8-minute stroll.

And those first 15 minutes of free parking in the long term and saver options? A small but appreciated touch, especially when just dropping off or picking up.

Accessibility is another thing they’ve got figured out. Parking for people with disabilities is well-placed, ensuring a short walk to the terminal. Plus, the 40 minutes of free parking in these bays is a thoughtful detail, showing they’re really considering everyone’s needs.

Hassle-free, simple, and straightforward, it’s clear they’re putting a lot of thought into making travellers’ lives easier. And for someone who values convenience and reliability, that’s everything.

Perth Airport

3. Perth Airport

Parking at Perth Airport was an experience I just have to talk about. It’s convenience, variety, and peace of mind rolled into one.

Right off the bat, booking online was as easy as pie (not to mention snagging the best rates). Locked in my spot with a few clicks, and the confirmation email hit my inbox faster than I could say, “Let’s jet.” The best part? They offer free cancellations up to 2 hours before arrival. It’s a game-changer, especially when my travel plans change unexpectedly.

Then there’s the variety. Whether I was leaving my car for a few hours or a few months, they’ve got short-term and long-term car parks that are just right for my needs. And with reasonable parking rates, too!

Motorcycle parking? They’ve thought of that too. Designated spots for bikes mean you’re not left hunting for a safe place to park. They’ve even got ACROD parking bays right up front, making accessibility a breeze.

4. Canberra Airport

Canberra Airport’s parking? Let me walk you through my experience.

No need to book ahead threw me off at first, but honestly, it made everything so much easier. Just rocked up, grabbed a ticket, and I was in. And paying? A breeze, with options at the pay stations or right at the exit gate.

Now, I’m the kind of person who always seems to be cutting it fine, time-wise. So, the proximity of both indoor and outdoor parking to the airport terminal was a lifesaver. A quick stroll and I was right there at check-in, no frantic rushes or last-minute panics.

I also got to test out the free 10-minute passenger pick-up in the RED outdoor car park, too. Perfect for a quick pick-up and drop-off. Plus, there’s a waiting lounge if you’re a bit early or your ride’s running late. It’s those little comforts that make a difference.

Syd Airport

5. Sydney (Kingsford Smith Airport)

Parking at Sydney Airport turned out to be smoother than I expected. From the moment I hit the website to pre-book my spot, I felt like I was in control. The site was straightforward, letting me choose a parking option without any fuss.

The day I flew out, I zipped right into the P2 area. Most of the airport car parks are just a short walk to the terminals. So, it was just a short stroll, and there I was, ready to check-in.

What really stood out was how well everything flowed. There were LED lights in the indoor parking, guiding me to an empty spot. And even though I didn’t need it this time, knowing there was valet service at T3 gave me ideas for my next trip.

Then there’s the shuttle service from the Blu Emu lot. Running every 15 minutes during peak times meant no waiting around, just a smooth ride right to the airport terminals.

Easy booking, clear signage, quick walks to the terminals, and a shuttle that’s ready when you are. It’s these kinds of details that make or break the start of a trip, and Sydney Airport nailed it.

Brisbane airport

6. Brisbane Airport

Parking at Brisbane Airport, for me, turned into something I didn’t expect – surprisingly easy. The night before my flight, I decided to book online. Not just for the discount (which, don’t get me wrong, was nice), but to dodge the morning scramble for a spot.

Dropping off the family for a weekend getaway, I opted for ParkShort. Right there at the terminal, it meant we weren’t dragging bags for ages. But being able to park without circling the parking area like a hawk was priceless, especially when you’re running on a tight schedule.

And here’s a tip: the shuttle service from the AIRPARK lots is your best friend for budget parking. Waiting for the shuttle and chatting with fellow travellers even added an unexpected layer of camaraderie to the start of my journey.

Darwin Airport

7. Darwin Airport

Let’s be honest, parking at an airport can often be a forgettable part of travel – something you do because you have to, not because you want to. But Darwin Airport managed to make it part of the adventure, making my trip hassle-free.

The touchless entry system was my first pleasant surprise. No grabbing tickets or dealing with payment machines. Just drive in and, later, drive out without stopping to fumble for my wallet.

Each car park being just a short walk from the terminal was another win. Short Stay, Long Stay Plus, or Long Stay Saver, each was just a short walk away.

But here’s something I really appreciated—the clarity around picking up and dropping off. Darwin Airport lays it out straight: where to pause for a quick goodbye or hello, and where to park if you’re lingering a bit longer. That first 10 minutes free in Short Stay was perfect for a swift goodbye.

Adelaide Airport

8. Adelaide Airport

When I headed to Adelaide Airport, I had one question on my mind: would parking be a hassle? Turns out, it was the opposite.

I booked a spot at the Terminal Car Park. Imagine my delight when I realised that there was a covered bridge straight to the airport terminal.

It’s like Adelaide Airport knows how much I loathe getting drenched in sudden downpours. And the walk – if you can even call it that. More like a short, pleasant stroll, all undercover.

Electric vehicle charging spots caught my eye, too. Not that I was driving one, but hey, it’s 2024, and seeing airports keeping up with the times is a tick in my book. Plus, charging is on the house. How cool is that?

If I may say so, I think Adelaide Airport has taken what everyone dislikes about airport parking and turned it on its head. Now, if only the rest of my travels could run this smoothly.

Summing Up Australia’s Premier Parking Options

After rounding up the best airport parking options across Australia, I’ve got to say I’m pleasantly surprised myself. I just realised that there’s so many incredible parking options Down Under.

Yes, everyone has different needs and preferences, but I hope my insights help you park smarter on your next trip. Here’s to less stress and more smooth sailing (or flying) on your next adventure!


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