4wd hire in Darwin dusk till dawn?

Looking to hire a 4wd to drive Darwin to Kakadu and stay 3 nights Avis is the best price but does not allow the car to leave city limits dusk till dawn? Does this mean the car can’t be driven at these times or has to be in Darwin?


  • +14 votes

    Hello, this is ozbargain's Avis call centre, how can I help?


      Member Since



    Check the contract, but generally it means you can't be on the open country roads between dusk and dawn. Driving within a city or town during these times is usually okay (e.g. going from accommodation to restaurant/supermarket).


    Do u mean a real 4WD or an AWD SUV?

    Use their chat facility to get clarification of their rules as a lot of the clauses are badly written. Save a transcript of the chat and ask for email clarification too.

    Some of them don't allow use off the bitumen and others allow off bitumen "for a maximum of 300 metres to reach a camp site."

    Last month I paid the deposit on the hire of a 4WD twin cab ute with camping gear that can be used "on 4WD only" tracks in the NT. Got it through Britz. $250/day if you are willing to wear the $8000 charge (not a hold) on your CC (travel insurance only covers $6k). $300/day with insurance waiver.

    As a total package (included tent, cooking gear, sleeping mats, awning, table, chairs, stove, chiller, etc) it was the best value I could find


    If you want a 4wd, look at Hertz as they have really good policies.

    4wd's are permitted on unsealed roads, without a time limit. However, offroad i.e. on rocks/rivers etc. are still banned.

    I've hired them at least 8-9 times in Darwin when going camping. Usually on unsealed but sometimes offroad lol. No issues so far. Just clean it before returning

  • +2 votes

    You'll find that hitting wildlife is an issue during those times. The way I read the rule is that you can't drive outside a major town during those times. You can drive to dinner for example but if you are staying outside the city you need to be back at camp by sundown.

    The best thing to do is email them and get clarification so you have it in writing.


    Buy 2nd hand, sell on leaving, minimal $$ lost ;)


      Buy 2nd hand, discard on animal strike.


    Avis is the best price but does not allow the car to leave city limits dusk till dawn

    I thought that was pretty obvious what it means …. ?


      And if you left the city limits at noon? No it is not "obvious". OP's question is tho "Does this mean the car can’t be driven at these times or has to be in Darwin?"


    but does not allow the car to leave city limits dusk till dawn? Does this mean the car can’t be driven at these times or has to be in Darwin?

    What did Avis say when you asked them?


    Unless you're going off road a 4wd is not required. I found most of the car rental places charged for kms more than 600km which is easy to rack up. Ended up booking through one of the tourism sites which had unlimited kms.


    This is pretty common. There was the same conditions when I looked at a rental in Broome. What if you look for a mine spec vehicle from say Hertz?


      Mine spec != bargain.


    Hi, just returned from the NT on a long road trip from Victoria. I’d say there’s two reasons for this: Firstly crime. Cars get stolen and taken for a drive until they run out of petrol. Secondly, safety. It can be dangerous driving out of the city at night where there’s no street lights. Mainly trucks on the roads overnight out of the cities and then you have animals active at dawn and dusk. I’m not sure which aspect of these two Avis are most concerned about with that policy. I suspect it’s the driving at night risk that concerns them more. Best to phone and ask. Again unless you are going off road you don’t need a 4x4. It’s disappointing to see all those massive fuel guzzlers crawling the highways in SA and the NT. Not really keeping up with the times. So bad for the environment. Get a small vehicle using less fuel and stick to the main roads.

    The whole big SUV and caravan thing makes little sense to me. Spend $80k+ on a Land cruiser then spend $60k+ on a caravan. Then pay for powered sites. Looking $150k to $200k. You could fly everywhere and stay in hotels across Australia and you wouldn’t come close to spending $150k even if you stayed in top hotels. Also I did some research and towing a big caravan wrecks the vehicle’s engine. I guess some people think of this as freedom. If you need to bring $150k worth of polluting crap with you on holiday then that’s not freedom. Flights can easily be carbon offset. How many of these grey nomads are offsetting the carbon on these fuel guzzlers burning fuel on the highways? Sorry just my two cents worth.

    Can you hire a hybrid Corolla or Camry instead? SUVs often have less room inside and use more petrol due to their mass.


      How do you carbon offset a flight?


        It’s usually an option when purchasing a ticket. Costs a few dollars more and trees are planted or areas regenerated with the money. This is in protected areas that aren’t long to be logged. In time the trees grow to collect more carbon than was used by you burning fuel getting from point a to b.


          Those are scams.

          They just buy carbon offset in china or some other random country for $1 and then they never actually offset anything.

    • +1 vote

      There are a lot of roads in Kakadu and Litchfield that are signposted "4WD Only". Sure you could do them in a hire car but that would breach the hire agreement. Even taking an AWD SUV on them would breach the hire agreement.

      I can assure you that if I could do my trip with a $50/day Corolla rather than a $300/day HiLux, I would.

      towing a big caravan wrecks the vehicle’s engine.

      "wrecks" is a strong word. Sure, pulling 1.8 tonne of caravan behind your suitably sized vehicle causes extra wear but so does driving in stop-start traffic and multiple cold starts. "Wrecks" it? that's funny.


        Driving in stop start city traffic does significantly reduce the life of an engine compared to highway driving. A city vehicle with over 200,000km is normally expected to be nearing end of life while that same vehicle travelling on highways might get 400,000km without a caravan. I read some reviews of second hand 4wd vehicles and the reviewers consistently said to stay away from something that has towed at caravan around Australia. I stand by my claim. That’s fine if you must drive off road. I was just questioning whether it was necessary.

        While up north I saw a hell of a lot of polluting v8 and large vehicles plying the roads with caravans. It just got me thinking whether it was - A economical and B good for the environment. On both of those questions I came to the conclusion it wasn’t a very good choice. There were alternatives to spend less money and travel to the same places and do less harm to the environment.


          So you are going on anecdotal evidence?

          Have a look in carsales.com.au. Plenty of 4WDs for sale with 300k+ km that have plenty of life left in them. Plenty of Landcruisers on original engines that have towed vans for many km and they will do a lot more miles yet. It's all about the maintenance regime.


      "Looking $150k to $200k. You could fly everywhere and stay in hotels across Australia and you wouldn’t come close to spending $150k even if you stayed in top hotels."

      While that may be true, at the end of a road trip you still have a landcruiser which is still valuable. Have a look at the price of ANY factory turbo landcruiser… Even a HJ61 with more than 500,000km will sell for well above $15k (good ones go for $25k+). In the HDJ80 series with a 1HDT they start at around $15k for a completely stock/high mileage version, a later model 1HD-FT still sell for $25-60k. A 100 series 1HD-FTE are in the $35-120k region even with 400,000km+ on the clock.

      Yes, buying new will depreciate, but if you buy a top spec/well maintained 80/100 series for say $40k… Do a lap around Australia and sell it a year later, you'll get pretty close to the $40k back, and if you had done that recently you'd actually be able to sell for more than you paid.

      Secondly, you say "Also I did some research and towing a big caravan wrecks the vehicle’s engine" that's mostly incorrect. Sure, hooking it up to an underpowered 4 cylinder in a SUV won't be doing it any favours, but a big 6 cylinder turbo diesel won't notice you've got a caravan on the back (especially if you fit a decent flowing exhaust and keep an eye on EGT temperatures).

      However, what will die towing a caravan around Australia is an Auto transmission. If you plan to do any long distance towing, you MUST get a really large high quality oil cooler fitted, ideally a oil temp gauge and depending on the vehicle get the transmission tuned or a shift kit fitted that allows you to manually lock up the torque converter.

      As for Caravans, buying new will always have some deprecation however if you buy something quality on the second hand market you won't lose much (if any) value on it over a 12 month period.

      In fact looking at the daily rates for vehcile hire ($250-300 a day) you would almost be better off purchasing a vehicle second hand, using it for a few weeks then selling it off. I mean a hire car will cost you $6300 for 3 weeks hire (which is insane), you wouldn't lose that much on depreciation on a 80/105 series landcruiser.

  • -1 vote

    Why doesnt OP just ask Avis and stop wasting our time.

    Now that would be a smart thing to do.


    It means after dark you can only drive it in a town, not on the open road. The town could be Darwin, Katherine etc. It is usually too with kangaroos so they don't want you driving it at night, except within the town/city limits. I had the same when I hired a car in Broome (noting this is for normal cars and 4WD's.