Getting behind the wheel for driving practice is the best way to become a better driver. Whether you’ve just passed your learners test or you’ve been logging hours for your upcoming driving test, gaining confidence and familiarity with driving in Melbourne is going to help you on your way to getting a full licence.
But as a new driver, you’re probably a bit nervous to throw yourself into high traffic areas too soon. That’s why it can be helpful to know which areas of Melbourne are best for novice drivers.
With this Parkhound guide to the most beginner-friendly portions of Melbourne, you’ll know which areas of the city will be best for every driving task you’d like to master. From parallel parking to roundabouts to 3-point turns and more, these areas will be perfect for your driving practice.
A good place to start might be your own suburb
If you live in a quiet, residential suburb, there are some advantages to starting out with a few laps around your own neighbourhood. On the one hand, you’ll already be familiar with the driving landscape, which can help you feel relaxed and confident.
The other advantage is that this is the area where you’ll be driving around the most. Getting comfortable behind the wheel in the streets around your home will be a huge part of your overall driving experience.
But, if you don’t live in a low traffic area or you’ve already mastered the basics of driving in your suburb, then it will be time to seek out other parts of Melbourne.
Melbourne suburbs great for driving practice
Finding low traffic suburbs in Melbourne is helpful for any driver looking to hone their diving, turning and parking skills. The key is to stick to the residential sectors, car parks, industrial parks, and other low traffic or spacious areas. Here are a few ideas:
- Epping: This suburb has a great mix of peaceful residential streets and industrial areas. This makes it ideal for you to practice parking without a fuss. Be sure to steer clear of Cooper Street and High Street. Especially around Epping Plaza Shopping Centre, until you’re ready for more traffic. It is worth testing out your parking skills in one of the many spacious car parks in that shopping area though. If you’re uncomfortable driving around the shopping area, you might have your driving supervisor navigate you into the car park before taking over yourself.
- Bundoora: This is another mostly residential area where you’ll have an easy time practicing parallel parking. Three point turns and other key driving test practice tasks can also be practiced here. Bundoora does have some tricky intersections. In particular where Watsonia Road and Greensborough Road meet, so be sure to stick to the residential roads for easy driving.
- Essendon: Apart from the bustling little commercial centre around Mt. Alexander Road and Fletcher Street, Essendon is filled with family-friendly residential streets. This suburb is particularly helpful in practicing roundabouts. There are a couple low-pressure roundabouts on Richardson Street between Thorn and Thistle, and you can dial up the difficulty by adding the roundabouts on Edward Street just one block over.
- Moorabbin: This suburb is a driving practice favourite because of its wide roads and low traffic on weekend mornings. We’d say, get an early start so that you can spend a bit of time driving up and down Cochranes Road, and then head north towards the residential part of Moorabbin as traffic picks up around the commercial areas in the afternoon.
As you can see, wherever you are in Melbourne, you likely have a nearby suburb that’s great for driving practice. We would suggest that while you’re at this stage, you might consider renting a parking space for your car in the suburb where you’ve chosen to do your driving practice. That way, you won’t have to navigate high traffic roads on the way to your driving practice session. With Parkhound, you can find affordable, convenient parking spaces for rent in Bundoora, Moorabbin, or wherever you do your driving test practice.
Melbourne areas for when you’re ready to take your driving practice to new levels
The more comfortable you get behind the wheel, you’ll want to branch out to more populated areas. Don’t push yourself too early, of course. But consider portioning some of your driving practice time to areas that have more cars on the road or more complex intersections.
And, once you’re ready to start practicing in slightly more challenging areas, here are a few friendly suburbs for intermediate drivers:
- Brighton: As with any beachside suburb, Brighton does tend to fill up on the weekends, and you probably don’t want to get caught up in the Esplanade traffic. That said, it’s a great place to practice driving in a residential area with some moderate activity during the week. Even one of the busier thoroughfares, New Street, is pretty manageable for beginners.
- Brunswick West: This suburb has been rising in popularity for some time, so it does have more traffic and activity than some of the other suburbs that we’ve covered. It’s this mix of residential areas and the relative bustle of Melville Road that makes this suburb great for intermediate drivers.
Best times for driving practice
One thing that we should note about the suburbs we’ve covered in this guide is that traffic often changes throughout the day. Even the quietest family suburbs will see an increase in traffic around morning rush hour or at the end of the work day. So, when you’re just starting out, consider driving at these times:
- Very early morning. There’s a wonderfully peaceful time in the morning between sunrise and morning rush hour that is absolutely perfect for driving practice. Just make sure that you give yourself time to get off the roads before the morning crowd wakes up.
- Mid afternoon. After the lunch crowd goes back to work, you’ll also have a good chance of driving on traffic-free roads. It will be a bit busier than early morning, but the streets should be pretty clear.
- Late night. Eventually, you’ll want to become comfortable driving at night. And luckily, you won’t hit major traffic. But with lower visibility, you might want to hold off on driving at night until you’ve logged a few driving hours.
- Weekdays versus weekends. Whether you drive in the week or on the weekend will really depend on your area. Uni campus car parks tend to clear out on the weekends, whereas shopping centres will be filled. Conversely, commercial areas will probably be calm during weekday mornings when very few people go shopping. If you can, keep an eye on traffic patterns in the areas you’re planning on holding your driving practice, so that you can choose the best time to drive.
Don’t forget these common driving mistakes
Now that you have a plan on where to practice driving, you’re ready to get on the road! As you start the exciting process of logging your practice driving test VIC hours, keep these common learners mistakes in mind so that you can be a better driver from day one:
- Use your indicator lights properly
- Check your blind spots
- Know when to give way
- Drive within the speed limit
When you practice in peaceful suburbs with low traffic, you can more easily build good driving habits that will help you pass your test. Have suggestions on the best suburbs for driving practice or parking Melbourne? Reach out to the Parkhound team with your driving practice Melbourne tips!