Free/Almost Free Car Relocations (eg Canberra to Sydney Free (1 Days), Brisbane to Cairns Free (10 Days) @


I've used Transfercar in Aus and NZ, and it has been seamless for me. I'm not affiliated, just a fan of the model.

Just had an email from them that they have a bunch of amazing relocation prices.

The idea is - rental car places often have cars building up at one center (eg say for example, most renters drive SYD to MEL, then fly back, you'd get a build up in Melbourne). They need some way of balancing, so often offer free cars, or cheap cars for a few days. Sometimes fuel is included, or ferry costs, depending on the route. Obviously check the dates, terms and conditions work for you.

Anyway, this one, they have examples like:

Canberra to Sydney free (1 day to get there)

Brisbane to Cairns free (10 days to get there)

and many more. They also have campervans on some routes.

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  • I've done similar with imoova.

  • $2000 bond seems high isn't it?

    • Canberra Airport to Sydney Airport $200 bond. It's probably due to distance and time duration.

  • Didn't know this exists. Thanks OP

  • Looks like a good deal if dates work out …. so we just need to arrange our transport back, right?

    • Yeah I've done trips where say, I bus from SYD to Canberra, then drive back. Also went to a stag do in Queenstown (NZ), bunch of guys drove down from Chch together in cars, but I needed to get back slightly earlier, so picked up a vehicle for $1 including fuel, all the way back to Christchurch :)

    • Not likely, you still need to show proof of residency at checkpoionts. Also, if you think this is a good idea then you're exactly the kind of person I'd prefer stays put where you are.

  • Brisbane to Cairns: unless they include fuel, it's still cheaper to fly.

    So the only reason would be to take advantage of having a car, enjoy scenery or maybe avoid potentially diseased passengers crammed on the limited flights that are operating

  • Does private car insurance cover this or would this be classed as a commercial use of a vehicle?

    • unless things have changed, when I did it it was just the same as renting a car normally. If your CC or insurance policy covers car rental insurance, great. Otherwise they usually have insurance options they can sell you.

    • ex travel agent here. I would purchase a domestic travel insurance policy that covers car hire excess.etc

  • Thanks OP!

  • $5000 excess on insurance - even if you are not at fault. No thanks.

    • That's what travel insurance is for.

      • That excess the rental company's version of winning the lottery.

        I am sure their group policy would have a big excess number but not that big.

  • I've used Transfercar and can vouch for them. There is a km limit of 500kms per day from Melbourne to Sydney and we were given 3 days. We went over by 200km so 1700km total, because we drove from Melbourne to Coffs harbour, then Blue mountains and back to Sydney and they were fine with it. Because we took care of the car, no damage, there was no excess. Best rental ever, saved us about $400 at least on car rental and we took jetstar back to Melbourne.

    • Yes but if someone damaged it - scratch in a carpark, rear-ender in traffic etc - you would be up for a world of hurt if you didn't pay the EXTRA $35 per day.

      I mean the BNE-CNS car is an i20. $5000 would be a half of it's value.

      • I mean the BNE-CNS car is an i20. $5000 would be a half of it's value.

        In such a small car, going to get PTSD after that.

  • I am in if any relocation within 5km in Melbourne 😀

  • This is to relocate all those vehicles that people used last time to try to dodge the hotel quarantine. ie Drive to Canberra and catch their flight from there.

  • "Obviously check the dates, terms and conditions work for you."

    Actually I think relocation and Transfercar is a bit more complicated than this implies.

    So here are some notes about relocation if you are considering it:
    (Please correct in a comment if something is totally wrong)

    • Transfercar is a 3rd party provider/aggregator, so they connect 'users' with companies
    • The third-party elements means that Transfercar is kind of equivalent of labour market aggregators (mechanical turk, fiverr) in that they set up relationship between worker and company, but after that have little or no liability
    • When you are doing a relocation you kind of fit into a weird category between worker and customer. Different companies treat you differently, it is a situation which can be exploited by rental companies in different ways, and good to know your rights and how to protect yourself. This is especially true when using a 3rd-party aggregator because it creates ambiguities about who is responsible for something.
    • standard example: companies sometimes do not fill out condition reports effectively when you collect a vehicle. Then there is a possibility they charge you for the damage when you drop off the vehicle, even if the damage was already there. This can also happen as a normal rental customer, but it's less likely in my opinion.
    • Good to pay attention to the company you are actually getting the car from (i.e not transfercar). Transfercar only tell you this info after you made a (non-obligatory) 'reservation', but it matters a lot. Then good to build a personal relationship/communication with that company, kind of like a temporary employee. Transfercar = very hands-off in my experience, but that is not per se a bad thing (although it's great when workers are actually protected… but anyway, separate discussion)
    • Most companies in my experience view relocations as someone doing them a favour, and so they treat you nicely. Therefore it is possible to get some of the magic deals people speak about, but it can be quite a bit of work, practice, good negotiation, and to be honest some luck, as a user.
    • The situation for the companies is that they get someone to relocate for them who is not a worker for the company, meaning they don't have to pay wages, accommodation, also accept liability if something bad happens. So it works very well for them a lot of the time.
    • It is important in my opinion not to be super-annoying to these companies. You are not a customer, more like an unpaid worker. So, if you ask them questions or make demands like a customer might, it takes up the time they should be spending on customers. Having said that most companies understand you are doing them a favour and also that good communication is often in their interest as well.
    • Best situation: good negotiation with company, good communication, you need to go somewhere in a car, you get there for cheaper, company gets their car relocated. Win-win. But it can take some work to get to that point.
    • as mentioned by others, sometimes excess on a car or van is like 5000 bucks, insurance is usually something like $35 a day, it's good to factor that in and know something about insurance, as well as asking questions, so you can make choices. Even the insurance offered by the rental companies does not cover every situation.
    • It is very difficult to find the above information/discussion all in one place and it is mostly from my experience and research from other users, posts, comments etc. Someone probably needs to set up an authoritative resource for this, or actually wouldn't it be great if Transfercar itself educated people about these things. I mean, I guess that they do filter out bad operators over time, but still.

    -Take-away advice from all that: be prepared to work on good communication, protect your rights, don't approach it like a customer but more like a worker, and be aware that Transfercar is a 3rd party aggregator and is hands-off and will offer you little protection. Your agreement is with the company they set you up with.

    • some good points for thought. upvoted. Note however, that when renting/transferring any car, it's a good idea to walk around the car filming it / taking photos, for evidence in the event of an incident (or non incident but someone blames you).

      I've got a limited three times using it, but each time it's been like doing a favour for the company. They're pleased you're doing it, but as far as treatment goes, they've been great, even allowing extra time for one of them. It's always been win-win for me.

      • yes, also my experience approximately 9 times out of 10!

        agree about filming etc, that is one way to avoid the situation I describe about condition reports

  • This is a good website. Thank you for sharing.

  • I would like to tow a caravan using a hire car or car relocation. Is it legal?

    • Probably not, but you'd need to check the T&Cs of the rental company you'd actually be entering into the final agreement with. Every rental company that I've ever hired a car from has explicitly stated that towing a trailer or caravan is not allowed, and doing so violates your agreement wth them. Further, if you buy their insurance as well it would likely void that, too, so if the trailer/van caused any damage then you'd find yourself footing the entire (very expensive!) bill. I personally wouldn't do it, but as I said above check the T&Cs of rental company for confirmation.

      Edit: it just occurred to me that it's highly possible a hire car wouldn't even have a trailer hitch to begin with, unless it was a commercial vehicle (utility, small bus, etc). In that case, towing a trailer may be allowed but you'd end up spending a long time driving what might be an uncomfortable vehicle.

  • I have done this this twice in NZ on two different trips. Usually Wellington to Auckland direction.

    One car was almost new with 3000K's on the ODO. I think one car in two days I put 1200Km on the clock.

    These cars were pretty new cars, the one I actually paid for was a budget old car, that car was imported from Japan and it had a Japanese radio so that did not work in NZ. I drove from Queenstown to Picton over a few days without a radio (maybe there were no radio stations in the middle of nowhere) and being by myself, going a bit crazy. Honking the horn at the sheep/cows to make them look up to stop myself going a bit more crazy.

    Learning from that, the trip from Wellington to Auckland I bought a cheap compilation CD to play, I think I went a bit crazy listening to that a million times, It had one Eminem song Without Me and the Ketchup song, and others I don't recall at the moment.

    This was more than 10 years ago.

    But I have fond memories of that trip. NZ on the south island is (was?) beautiful.

    Make sure you pay for the insurance still.

  • We’ve booked a relocation before and they cancelled it on us.