Hertz So Bad (Sydney, Australia)
spending a night in Tumbarumba, a night in Cowra, and a few days in Bathurst, a pleasant city of 30,000 surrounded by the
rolling wheat fields of the Central Tablelands, I
drove a few hours east through the Blue Mountains and back to bustling Sydney.
After spending the previous week meandering through the bucolic countryside,
Sydney was major culture shock. Nevertheless, the boxes of camping gear that I had mailed to myself while in
Auckland had finally arrived, so I picked them up at the Post Office and headed down to the airport, where
I turned in my Avis rental car and got my 2-month rental car from
really starting to hate Hertz and I wonder why I keep patronizing them. A
few months earlier in Los Angeles, they ripped me off but I didn't notice it
until too late, so this time I was on my toes. When I got to the desk at the Sydney Airport, the Hertz agent, a woman in her
mid-20's, was going to charge me US$25 a day for a car that I'd reserved via Hertz's website
at US$17 a day. That difference of $8 a day
carried over two months worked out to about $500, so I was pretty ticked
off. Fortunately, when I made the reservation the previous week I had copied the Hertz confirmation webpage into
so I dragged out my laptop, opened the file, and showed her. After a few
calls to the manager, the Hertz agents were adamant: "We can't rent
it at $17 a day. We couldn't make a profit at that rate." Of
course, I was thinking, "Who cares if you make a profit? A deal is a
was polite but firm and so after another hour, I finally got my car. Even
better was that Hertz didn't have any more compact cars available, so I got a
free upgrade to a Toyota Camry, which will be my home for the next two
months. Not a bad deal -- a brand-new 30-mpg Toyota Camry with air-conditioning
and a good stereo system for only $17 a day. Both Hertz and I hope the
Camry comes back in one piece.
that taken care of, I left Sydney and headed south along Highway 1, starting my
two-month trip around Australia.
left: At the Sydney Airport,
exchanging my one-week rental car (right) for my 2-month rental car (left).
center: Jervis Bay, south of Sydney.
right: Murray Beach at Booderee National Park.
left: The Botanical Gardens at
center: Bateman's Bay, a pleasant resort town a few hours south
right: The Bega Valley, in southern New South Wales, where I'm
writing this update.
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Hertz So Bad