Can You Hire a Car on Your P Plates in Darwin

Can You Hire a Car on Your P Plates in Darwin?

Obtaining your driver’s license is an exciting milestone that opens up a world of possibilities for adventure and freedom. However, as a provisional driver, commonly known as a P plate driver in Australia, you need to navigate certain restrictions and regulations during the early stages of your driving journey. If you are planning for Darwin, you might wonder whether you can hire a car on your provisional license or not.

No, you can not hire a car in Darwin as per the rules and regulations of the region. However, some rental companies still find the edge and offer car rental on a provisional license, surcharging on a daily basis. It’s not worth it considering the customer’s safety, no insurance coverage, and daily additional charges. 

Read on to explore the possibilities, limitations, and alternative options for P plate drivers when it comes to renting cars in Darwin.

What are P Plates? Understanding Them and Their Licensing Restrictions

Before we dive into the specific regulations in Darwin, let’s get familiar with the concept of P plates and the licensing restrictions imposed on provisional drivers in Darwin. P plates are special license plates that depict the person as a provisional driver. In most states and territories, including the Northern Territory where Darwin is located, you will meet two levels of provisional licenses: P1 and P2.

If you hold a P1 license, you are in the initial phase and a beginner driver who recently obtained his license. To be on the road, you must display red P plates on your vehicle and adhere to specific restrictions, such as a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit, limitations on towing vehicles, and restrictions on high-performance vehicles.

On the other hand, if you have a P2 license, you are considered an intermediate driver who has passed the P1 stage. You should now be eligible to have green P plates with fewer restrictions compared to P1 drivers. However, you still might face limitations on high-performance vehicles and towing.

Car Rental Policies for P Plate Drivers in Darwin

When it comes to car hire in Darwin, the policies for P plate drivers are strict and may vary among different car rental companies. Some companies may have strict restrictions, while others may be more accommodating to provisional drivers at the cost of additional charges.

To ensure a smooth rental experience, Territory Car Rentals comply with Darwin’s rules and regulations as they prefer customer safety over their profit. For other rental companies, it is essential for P plate drivers to research and understands the policies before attempting to rent a vehicle.

1. Minimum Age Requirements

The majority portion of car rental agencies require drivers to be at least 21 years old to rent a vehicle. The rental companies, which are lenient about car hire to P plate drivers, strictly demand a minimum age requirement of 25, limiting the available options.

2. License Duration

Rental companies usually ask drivers to show a full driver’s license that has been credible for a minimum period, typically one to three years, before allowing them to rent a vehicle. Since P plate drivers are still in the provisional stage, they may not meet this requirement, making it challenging to rent a car in Darwin.

3. Vehicle Restrictions

Some car rental agencies commonly impose restrictions on the type of car P plate drivers can choose from their fleet. The limitation is usually on high-performance or luxury vehicles. In order to protect their name in the market, some rental agencies may prohibit P plate drivers from renting larger vehicles or those intended for towing.

4. Insurance Considerations

Insurance coverage is a crucial factor to be considered for car rentals. P plate drivers may face additional insurance surcharges or exclusions by the company due to their provisional license status. It is important for P plate drivers to inquire about the insurance details and any potential extra costs associated with renting a vehicle beforehand.

5. Parental Consent

Some rental agencies may require P plate drivers to provide written consent from a parent or guardian, acknowledging their understanding of the restrictions and responsibilities that come up with renting a car.

Alternative Transportation Options for P Plate Drivers to Explore Darwin

While renting a car may present challenges for P plate drivers in Darwin, there are safe alternative transportation options available to ensure convenient and safe travel within the city.

1. Public Transportation

A well-developed public transportation system rests in Darwin, including buses, ferries, and taxis, that can provide reliable transportation options for P plate drivers who may need access to a rental car. Public transportation gives individuals the opportunity to travel within the city and its surroundings without the need for a private vehicle.

2. Ride-Sharing Services

Ride-sharing services like Uber and DiDi are popular among tourists in Darwin, offering convenient and affordable transportation solutions for P plate drivers. These services connect provisional drivers with licensed and insured drivers who can transport them to their desired destinations without any hassle.

3. Car Sharing Programs

Car sharing programs, such as CarNextDoor, are not among the affordable options like car rentals but they give the leverage to rent cars from local owners on an hourly or daily basis. This option may be more accessible and convenient to P plate drivers, as some programs have fewer restrictions compared to traditional car rental agencies. However, it is still important to check the specific policies of car-sharing programs to ensure compliance with P plate regulations.


As a P plate driver in Darwin, it is essential to understand the restrictions and options when it comes to exploring the city. While some rental agencies may impose strict limitations, others may offer more lenient policies with hidden charges. Additionally, alternative transportation options such as public transportation, ride-sharing services, and car-sharing programs can provide viable alternatives for P plate drivers who are looking for an adventurous trip. Remember to prioritize safety and adhere to the licensing restrictions in place to ensure a responsible and enjoyable driving experience in Darwin.

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