CBD Parking in Australia: On-street, Off-street and Everything in Between

Be sure you’re parking in the best spots for the best rates across Australia.

In the final quarter of December 2022, inflation in Australia reached 7.8 per cent, marking its fastest increase in over 30 years. Gone are the days when you could go to the store with a dollar, buy bread and milk, and still come home with change. While shopping last week, I noticed 2L of Coca-Cola on sale for four dollars. On sale? Is this what we call a bargain nowadays?

Inflation in Australia from July 2020 to July 2023

Inflation in Australia from July 2020 to July 2023
Inflation in Australia has soared to unprecedented levels over the last two years. Credit: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Sadly, rising inflation means rising parking prices. Don’t get me wrong — parking in the city has long been expensive, but CBD prices are now soaring to eye-watering levels. The average cost of daily off-street parking in Australia was $34.42 in 2022, a 1.74% increase from 2019. That makes Australia the most expensive place to park in the world.

The issue with parking in the city is that there isn’t enough of it. Sadly, finite resources combined with increasing demand mean convenient spaces typically cost an arm and a leg.

Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem. As a specialist in the parking industry, I’m going to dive deep into Australia’s car park predicament, explain how much you should expect to pay in each of our capital cities, and reveal how you can save money on your day-to-day commutes when you rent with Parkhound

But before we get into that, let’s compare and contrast typical parking costs in each of Australia’s CBDs.

How much does it cost to park in Australia’s CBDs?

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Here’s how much you should expect to pay in each of Australia’s capital cities during peak times on a weekday.

Typical Parking Costs – Weekday – Peak Times (AUD)

Capital City
On-street (2 hours)
Off-street (2 hours)
Daily (min-max)

Aside from some notable exceptions, which we’ll get onto later, it’s clear that Australia CBD parking costs a pretty penny.

Before recommending the best way to save money in the CBD, it’s first necessary to examine the CBD parking predicament. Let’s explore the parking rate for each of Australia’s capital cities one by one.

Exploring Australia’s parking in the city

Let’s discuss each city in more detail to better understand Australia’s parking problem. Along the way, I’ll also share some of Parkhound’s advice to help you save money on your inner-city commute.

1. Parking Sydney (NSW)

Employees travelling to Sydney’s CBD on weekdays will spend an average of $11,031 each year on commuting and parking. It’s no surprise that the Emerald City routinely tops the charts as one of the world’s most expensive places to find a space.

  • One-hour off-street costs an average of $28.42.
  • Two hours off-street totals around $56.84.
  • One day off-street prices can quickly soar to $80 in the CBD.
  • On-street parking costs around $7.60 per hour.
  • Sydney Airport charges $21.20 for one hour and $69.90 per day.


There are no two ways about it. Typical off-street prices in Sydney are exorbitant. Drive-up fees can add an extra $10-20 to your expenses, so it’s best to book in advance. Overnight parking also costs a great deal more, adding around $40 to your daily fee. Sydney Airport prices don’t fare much better, charging $10.60 for up to 30 minutes and $69.90 for a full day’s parking.

Early bird specials (before 9:30 am) and flat day rates are great ways to save a few dollars on daily fees. 109 Pitt Street, for example, will set you back $44 if you book the early bird service online but a ludicrous $79 if you drive up on the day.

Unfortunately, reduced prices won’t help you find a space. Most car parks in Sydney are unreserved. To make matters worse, a recent study revealed that Sydney only has 142 parking spots per 1000 employees — poor odds when you’re in a rush to make a 9 am briefing.


At around $7.60 an hour, on-street Sydney CBD parking is the lesser of two evils if you’re planning a short stay. Unfortunately, kerbside parking in Sydney is hard to come by, with most streets reserved for loading zones during weekdays. 

In addition, most parking meters only allow for 2-hour stays, with a select few offering up to 4 hours at set times. The City of Sydney provides a map for metered parking on its website.

Parkhound’s advice: If you plan to enter the CBD for 2-3 hours, consider parking in North Sydney and taking public transport into the centre. There are several free and reduced-fee short-stay car parks near Crows Nest, including Alexander Street and Nicholson Street. Each offers several public transport options that will get you into the CBD in around 20-30 minutes.

2. Parking Melbourne (VIC)

Melbourne ranks as the world’s third ‘most liveable’ city according to the Global Liveability Index. Sadly, that doesn’t mean parking is any more affordable.

  • One-hour off-street costs an average of $18.15.
  • Two hours off-street costs around $36.30.
  • One-day off-street prices can set you back $79 in the CBD.
  • On-street parking costs around $7 per hour. 
  • Melbourne Airport charges a flat $12 rate for up to one day.


Finding affordable off-street parking in Melbourne City is a tough task. Most spots close to the CBD are incredibly costly and highly contested. Cheaper car parks, such as the selection of free spaces in Williamstown and Canterbury, lie over 10km outside of the centre, meaning you’ll need to travel for over an hour on public transport to reach the CBD.

Parkhound’s advice: As with many of Australia’s cities, you can secure a cheaper price through online booking. Selected car parks, like Flinders St and 383 King St, offer $21 flat day rates on a Flexi Saver scheme. While this will still cost you upward of $400-450 per month for weekday commutes, it’s a significant improvement over Melbourne’s notorious drive-up costs.


Melbourne’s on-street parking is the most affordable option for short stays in the city centre.

That said, just 5% of parking in Melbourne’s CBD is kerbside. And, with millions of people coming in and out of the city each day, finding reliable on-street parking is currently a major challenge. 

The City of Melbourne indicates that up to 30% of traffic in the CBD comes from motorists trying to find a place to park. While the city is taking key steps to fix this issue, on-street parking in Melbourne is currently an unreliable option for commuters.

3. Parking Brisbane (QLD)

Brisbane CBD is the final member of Australia’s ‘big three club’ for expensive parking costs.

  • One-hour off-street costs an average of $18.45.
  • Two hours off-street costs around $36.91.
  • One-day off-street prices could set you back up to $97 in the CBD.
  • On-street parking costs around $6.15 per hour. 
  • Brisbane Airport charges 23$ for one hour ($10 if you book online) and $99 per day.


Off-street Brisbane parking is at an absolute premium. Most of the inner-city’s parking spots will set you back at least $80 daily. 

As expected, drive-up fees in Brisbane City cost significantly more than pre-booked spaces. For example, Wintergarden Car Park will set you back $29 when you book online, compared with an astonishing $85 if you turn up on the day.

Early Bird parking makes Brisbane’s prices slightly more reasonable, with most car parks offering flat weekday rates for workers. For example, Post Office Square provides a $24 flat rate on Monday and Friday and a $28 flat rate Tuesday-Thursday.

Top tip: Brisbane City Council offers discounts for hybrid and electric car owners: King George Square car park provides free stations for EV charging. Plus, you’ll only need to pay half the standard rate until midday.


On-street parking in Brisbane is slightly more reasonable than in Sydney or Melbourne. 

Most meters will charge you a fixed rate of $6.30 per hour for a maximum of two hours. You can also park in unsigned streets for up to two hours in the Brisbane Central Traffic Area (unless a meter says otherwise).

Sadly, on-street Brisbane CBD parking is often hard to find. A shortage of spaces means spots are heavily contested. If you’re in a rush, pre-booking an off-street space is the best way to go.

Parkhound’s advice: Your best bet for a short stay in the CBD is to park in the West End and take a short bus over the Brisbane River. Some car parks, such as the Soda Factory Shopping Centre, offer the first two hours for free and 4 hours for only $6. The bus will typically get you into the CBD in under 10 minutes.

4. Parking Perth (WA)

The city of Perth is slightly more forgiving than Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane when it comes to finding affordable parking.

  • One-hour off-street costs an average of $5-$6.
  • Two hours off-street will set you back around $10-$18.
  • One-day off-street can easily rise to around $40 in the CBD.
  • On-street parking costs around $6 per hour. 
  • Perth Airport charges $16.80 for one hour and $61 per day.


Off-street costs in Perth average to around $20 per day, but prices can vary wildly. Unfortunately,  the majority of Perth’s affordable parking is highly contested, meaning that, even with the extra spaces, it can be tough to find an affordable place to park.

For example, in the Citi East Multi-Storey, you can expect to pay around $8 for 2 hours or $18 per day. Reasonable, for sure, but it can be challenging to find a space there, especially on weekdays when you’re battling with thousands of other commuters looking for a spot. You’ll have more luck finding a spot on Mounts Bay Road or The Esplanade, but costs can quickly rise to the $50 mark for a one-day stay.

Parkhound’s advice: If you need affordable parking in a pinch, head to the Northern end of the CBD to try and secure a space on Newcastle or Roe Street. While you may sometimes struggle to find a space, you’ll pay considerably less than if you were to park near Elizabeth Quay. For even better rates, consider Parkhound’s selection of Perth parking options. Some of our spots are as cheap as $10 a day or $208 per month. Plus, you can reserve them, so you won’t need to spend valuable time searching for a spot each morning.


Perth City is one of Australia’s biggest advocates for on-street parking, with around 5500 spaces across the city. The newly-released EasyPark app also makes it relatively easy to find available spots.

That said, on-street costs in Perth CBD can rack up quite quickly. And, as cheaper off-street car parking options are available, parking on streets isn’t a first choice for most commuters.

Top tip: Perth has a limited number of free 1-hour on-street parking zones on Hay Street and Royal Street. Just be sure to arrive early, as these spaces tend to fill up fast.

5. Parking Adelaide (SA)

Adelaide is the middle of the road when it comes to parking prices in Australia, and that’s saying something.

  • One-hour off-street costs an average of $5-$6.
  • Two hours off-street will set you back around $10-$18.
  • One-day off-street can quickly rise to just under $40 in the CBD.
  • On-street parking costs around $4.30 per hour. 
  • Adelaide Airport charges $12 for one hour and $44 per day.


Most daily off-street prices will usually set you back around $15-$20 in Adelaide CBD. That said, you could easily end up paying double that if you opt for car parks like Rundle Place or Flinders Link.

Early bird specials and flat rates are surprisingly reasonable in Adelaide. For example, a one-day stay at 30 Hindley Street will usually cost you around $29, but early risers can secure a $7 flat rate Monday-Thursday. 

That said, flat-rate spots are first to go when commuters enter the city, so may not always be reliable. Unfortunately, like many of Australia’s capitals, Adelaide suffers from a lack of parking options to accommodate the 130,000 who work in the area.

Parkhound’s advice: The City of Adelaide runs a number of official car parks, known as UParks. These outlets are ideal for short stays. Some, such as UPark Andrew and UPark Central Market, cost as little as $2 for the first hour. That said, prices quickly rise depending on the length of your stay, with some costing up to $37 for a full day. Early bird specials cap the price at around $20 for commuters, which will set you back around $400 a month.


Adelaide boasts around 12,300 on-street parking spaces, most of which will set you back around $4.30 or $4.60 per hour.

Almost all of Adelaide’s meters have a parking time limit of two hours kerbside. If you need to stay for longer, opt for one of the city’s off-street options, or book a space with Parkhound to reserve a cheaper spot on a day rate.

6. Parking Hobart (TAS)

Parking in central Hobart is considerably more affordable than most cities in Australia.

  • One-hour off-street is typically free. Some car parks may charge around $3.
  • Two hours off-street will cost you around $6.
  • One-day off-street costs around $20 in Hobart CBD.
  • On-street parking costs around $8 per hour. 
  • Hobart Airport charges $12 for one hour and $30 per day.


Off-street parking prices are fairly reasonable in Hobart CBD. Casual day rates will typically set you back around $20 or less. Early bird rates will typically reduce this cost to around $14. The city of Hobart also offers free parking for the first hour in most locations.

That said, Hobart only provides 2,500 off-street parking spaces. This means it often struggles to accommodate the tens of thousands that enter the city each day. 

To compound commuter woes, most of Hobart’s off-street spaces are localised within the CBD. You’ll struggle to find any day spaces in North Hobart, New Town or Mount Stuart. It’s perhaps no surprise that less than 5% of Hobart’s commuters currently use public transport when travelling into the CBD. A lack of spaces in the suburbs means competition for spaces can be ferocious at times, so arriving early is essential if you want to find secure parking.

Parkhound’s advice: Queens Domain has several car parks that offer $5 all-day stays, such as TCA South, Tennis Centre North Car Park, and 30 Aberdeen Street. These locations are all within a short walking distance of the city. Just be sure to get there early, as these spaces fill up fast on weekdays.


With prices as high as $8 per hour, Hobart is one of the only cities in Australia where on-street parking is more expensive than off-street. Plus, spaces are tough to find, especially in the middle of the CBD. 

Top tip: If you’re looking for free on-street parking, head to Battery Point or Sandy Bay. Though a little way out of the city, most on-street areas are within walking distance of the CBD. Alternatively, public transport will usually get you into the city centre within 10-20 minutes.

7. Parking Canberra (ACT)

Next on our list is Canberra City. Fortunately, Australia’s capital is reasonably priced, and a solid parking infrastructure means it isn’t too challenging to find spaces on most days.

  • One-hour off-street typically costs $3.60.
  • Two hours off-street will cost you around $7.20.
  • One-day off-street costs around $16 in Canberra CBD.
  • On-street parking costs around $3.60 per hour. 
  • Canberra Airport charges $5 for one hour and $29.50 per day.


Off-street Canberra parking is, for the most part, fairly affordable. Prices rarely exceed $3.60 per hour or $16 for a full day. That said, 1 Phillip Law Street and NISHI Parking will charge you $26 and $35, respectively, so avoid those locations if possible.

Stirling Park contains five free all-day car parks, each about  a fifteen minutes walk from the CBD. That said, they only hold about 130 vehicles in total, so trying to find parking there can be a gamble.

Top tip:  For accessible parking, head to the Car Park off Queen’s Victoria Terrace. The lot is close to Canberra centre, holds just under 400 cars, and will charge you $16 per day.


On-street parking in Canberra is similarly reasonable, setting commuters back around $7.20 for the first two hours. Unfortunately, Canberra has a limited number of on-street spots, with most limited to a select few locations like Allardyce Street, Windsor Walk and Kaye Street.

Parkhound’s advice: Canberra is one of the only cities in Australia that offers all-day on-street parking in close proximity to the CBD. Flynn Drive and Kaye Street provide around sixty parking spaces at a flat rate of $19 between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm. That said, note that these spaces cost more than most equivalent off-street spaces, so they’re best used as a last resort.

8. Parking Darwin (NT)

At first glance, Darwinians have it easy when it comes to parking. The city of Darwin boasts the lowest all-round costs of any Australian capital city.

  • One-hour off-street typically costs $2.65
  • Two hours off-street will cost you around $5.30
  • One-day off-street costs around $5-12 in Darwin CBD.
  • On-street parking costs around $1.75 per hour. 
  • Darwin Airport charges $10 for one hour and $53 per day.


Darwin’s off-street prices are the most reasonable of any of Australia’s capital cities. Most car parks will charge you around a $5 flat rate for a full-day stay. Even the pricier spaces, such as Dragonfly Car Park and West Lane Car Park, will only set you back $9-$10 if you opt for an early-bird stay.

Top tip: Almost all of Darwin’s off-street parking is free on weekends, after hours, and on public holidays.

Unfortunately, the problem with parking in Darwin is that there simply aren’t enough spaces to go around. There are only 2,000 parking spots in the city centre. That means competition is fierce, and it can be challenging to find space on a weekday.


Darwin’s on-street parking is fair and affordable. The capital of Australia’s Northern Territory will typically set you back between $1.75 and $2.25 per hour. You can also secure free weekend parking and won’t need to pay on bank holidays.

Top tip: The low price point of Darwin’s on-street parking means they are usually the first to go when commuters descend upon the city. Be sure to arrive early if you want to get a space, especially on weekdays.

Why is day-to-day parking so expensive in Australia?

The problem: Now, for the burning question: why are Australia’s CBD car parks so unreasonable? 

The answer boils down to supply and demand. Millions of people search for parking daily in Australia’s capital cities. There aren’t enough spaces to accommodate them. Desperate commuters are more willing to pay a premium price for the parking space they need. If consumers are willing to pay, companies will raise the prices. Add monopolised parking infrastructure and inflation into the mix, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for eye-watering prices.

Fortunately, there are ways to secure cheap parking in the CBD. Now that we’ve examined Australia’s parking problem let’s explore what you can do about it.

How can renting with Parkhound save you cash?

The solution: The best way to save money on parking fees and ensure you have a reliable spot whenever you need it is to secure a space with Parkhound.

Parkhound allows you to rent spaces at an affordable price on a monthly or daily basis. Our spots could save you hundreds of dollars each month on parking fees. Plus, the spaces you rent are private, meaning once you’ve paid, it’s yours for as long as you need it.

Monthly Parking Costs in the CBD (Traditional vs Parkhound)

Capital City
Traditional Rental (Unreserved)
Parkhound Rental (Reserved)
From $475
From $298
From $210
From $225
From $295
From $161
From $182
From $195
From $310
From $175
From $113
Monthly rental prices unavailable
From $240

How are Parkhound spaces so reasonably priced? In short, all of our spots are rented out by our community. That means there are no additional fees and no monopolised pricing

The beauty of Parkhound is that we aren’t limited to selling spaces in car parks. Our community routinely rents out residential driveways, carports, private garages, and 24/7 secured gate systems. That means there are more affordable options directly in the CBD, so you pay less without needing to walk for miles to get to work.

Parkhound has hundreds of spaces in all of Australia’s major cities. Whether you require night parking, an all-day stay, evening parking, or a short-stay space, we’ve got a space for you. Visit the pages below to see available rentals in your area.

For more information, check out how our service works, or visit our FAQ page today.

Have a free parking space? Rent your spot today for cash.

Got an unused driveway? Have a lockup garage that’s collecting dust? Own an indoor lot that you only use on weekends? If you’re looking for a new way to boost your income amidst rising inflation, why not rent your space with Parkhound?

Parkhound makes it easier to rent out your unused spaces. If you own a spot in the CBD, you could earn up to $400 a month in passive income by leasing your space to those who require it.

Want to find out more? Visit Parkhound today to book parking and secure a free quote to learn how much your unused space is worth.