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Where is Melbourne's Cheapest Parking?

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
Published November 7th 2012
You know the scenario. Friday night, you're running late for the show / movie / restaurant booking, it's raining, and you're driving around the city streets looking for an elusive free parking spot.

You finally realise that the chances of finding one are about as good as Damien Oliver riding in another Melbourne Cup, so you head into the bright lights of the nearest parking station to find that the price of parking convenience in Melbourne can be very steep indeed.

Melbourne may currently have bragging rights as the world's most liveable city but it also has the unenviable reputation as the most expensive city in Australia to park. The fourth annual Colliers International Global CBD Parking Rate Survey in 2011 found that Melbourne is the third most expensive city in the world to park. The sad truth is that it can cost you as much as $88 for four hour's parking in Melbourne, with a median daily rate of $69.53. That's even more expensive than New York, Tokyo, London, Paris, and Sydney. Finding out the true cost of parking can be quite tricky because you're not always comparing apples with apples.

Metered Parking

If you want metered parking which, although elusive, is usually a cheaper option than a parking station, the cost will depend on where you park, and for how long. On-site signs will give you the information you need. The City of Melbourne website even helpfully explains that you need to "read the sign from top to bottom and from left to right". If this is for the benefit of those with reading difficulties or those whose first language isn't English, one would think they probably couldn't read these instructions anyway. But I digress. Over the last few years they have introduced a range of new technology for metered parking spaces. These innovations include in-ground sensors and licence plate recognition, so you're not going to get away with much. Since September 2011 they have also been conducting a trial of "pay by phone" for metered parking charges.

Car Parking Stations

Commercial Car Park prices vary enormously. Just to confuse you even further there are full day rates, hourly rates, flat rates, weekend rates and early bird rates, making it difficult to compare.

The City of Melbourne operates two city car parks and one in Carlton, all managed by GreenCo Parking. Their aim is to encourage short-term parking with prices that mirror on-street parking rates. The city stations are City Square Car Park (202–208 Flinders Lane) and Council House Car Park (200 Little Collins Street) and parking here will cost you from $2.50 for less than 30 minutes to $40 for 5 hours. Their Carlton station is at 215–217 Elgin Street, Carlton where parking convenience is available for $2 for less than hour and a maximum daily rate of $14.

Most Melbourne parking stations are run by either Wilson Parking or Secure Parking. Download Secure Parking's Melbourne Parking Guide here. If you join their Club Secure you can receive parking discounts and member offers. You can also apply for their Advantage Parker Card for 20% discount until September 2013 at a selected Secure Parking car park.

You can check out Wilson Parking's Melbourne CBD Parking Locator here and join their Platinum Park program here. Wilson and Secure both offer specials and discounts occasionally, usually to coincide with special festivals and events so it pays to check before you leave home. and Apps

A different player in the parking game is At this website you can input information about your destination and proposed arrival and departure times. It will then compare the costs of nearby parking stations and how far they are from your destination, allowing you to make a decision based on both price and convenience. You can also download their free Cheap Parking App at either the iTunes App Store or Android Market.

Over To You

The key to cheap parking in Melbourne, as in any other city, is to know your enemy and plan. A bit of research before you head out to that brilliant event or restaurant you just found out about on Weekend Notes can really pay off.

We'd also like your help. If you know of any parking bargains then please share them with our readers in the comments section.
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Thanks so much for sharing info about Cheap Parking app - what a great tool!

When I go to the eateries/theatre at the 'Paris' end of Melbourne CBD, there is often metered parking available at the top of Spring Street, just before Victoria Parade (if you don't mind a short walk). Abby.
by abbyl (score: 2|115) 2258 days ago
Everything e we go to Melbourne we park at harbor town car park it's a flat rate of $6.00 all day and we catch the city circle around the city and that's free and runs later through summer it's such a cost efficient way to spend the whole day in Melbourne
by alana (score: 0|9) 2257 days ago
If you're looking for parking around the CBD and arrive after 10AM where the early bird rates finish up, the cheapest rates I found are (i) QV $17 all day parking (requires additional $1 purchase - just buy a bottle of water from Woolworths) (ii) Franklin Street public carpark near Queen Vic Market (takes coins only and is about $13 or $14 for 12 hours) - limited spaces if you're lucky to get a spot (iii) small church along Lonsdale Street between Russell St/Exhibition St (same as option #2, limited spots usually taken by early bird parkers)
by Ms Kay (score: 1|12) 2252 days ago
very useful information. Thanks for sharing :)
by Joy (score: 3|1904) 2256 days ago
The city of melbourne's just released the street parking data from their electronic sensors. I've already built a little tool you can use to close by street parking. by availability and turnover. I've just released it
by peter (score: 0|2) 1709 days ago
Docklands has parking for $7 per 24hrs. In the highrise car park opposite the Wheel & Costco, beside Harbourtown. Access is via first set of traffic lights city side of Citylink. You're only a short tram ride from Bourke St (86) or Flinders St (70). And if you scan on your myki after 6pm weeknights, your 2hr ticket lasts all night ($3.58) or use the free city circle tram.
by peterh_oz (score: 0|2) 1842 days ago
I second the info on Habour town parking. $6 for 24 hours. However, that price is likely to change once the Southern Star is up and running.
by Alimi (score: 0|2) 2048 days ago
If you think Melbourne is the most expensive for city parking, you should come to Brisbane city and be my will be shocked that Melbourne's price is NOTHING compare to Brisbane. Brisbane is the worst. Never park in David Jones Queens Plaza secure carpark. If you pocket enough money and prepare not to curse after, then it's ok to park there.
by (score: 0|2) 2130 days ago
The Wilson Parking is the most cheating and worst parking company in Melbourne CBD. The customer service was very very rude. I paid $23.6 for only 2 hours. I paid $10 online for the daily ticket. however I again was charged $13.6 when I arrived there. The funny reason was " I was late to arrive there in 5 minutes". This does not mention on the Terms and Condtions or any confirmation letter. At last, the customer service was very rude, dodgy. Never ever go for Wilson Parking!!!
by jingu (score: 0|2) 2156 days ago
Today was my first experience with Star Airport Parking and I am very impressed. They were certainly the most affordable car rental and parking and their staff were fantastic, going well above and beyond to make sure I got to where I needed to go. airport security
by godha (score: 0|2) 805 days ago

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