The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Australia

Australia is a popular vacation destination, but people don’t always realize just how large the country is and how much space there is between destinations they might want to visit. Having a rental car that you can use for the beaches, cruising the city, and visiting the Outback can be a good idea. Consider all of the places you can visit including the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the Sydney Harbour, Kings Park & Botanic Garden, the Sydney Opera House, and a drive along the Great Ocean Road.

Why choose a rental car?

Australia has quite a bit to see and do, and without a rental car, you are at the mercy of taxis and other forms of public transportation. Having a rental vehicle will make it much easier to get to all of the places you want to visit on your own schedule. When you rent a vehicle, make sure you get the agency’s contact information, including an emergency number in case you need to get in touch with them.

Road conditions and safety

Australia is massive. It is as large as the continental US, but there is only a fraction of the population in the country. Therefore, the road network does not always get the attention it deserves. When you are on the roads close to the coastal areas, where the bulk of the population lives, you will find that the roads are in good condition, paved, and well maintained. However, as you head inland, the roads will have more cracks in the pavement, and many of them have no pavement at all. There are often very long distances between towns, as well as places to get food, water, and fuel, so you need to plan your trips carefully. Be sure to have a map with you as well.

When you drive in Australia, the traffic flows on the left side of the road. You are able to drive with a foreign license for up to three months when you come to Australia. If the license isn’t in English, you will need to get an international driving permit. The law requires that all of the occupants of the vehicle have their seatbelts on. The seatbelt laws are strict, and the police do enforce them.

The drivers in Australia tend to obey the law for the most part. You will still want to drive defensively, especially if you are not accustomed to driving on the left side of the road.

Speed limits

The speed limits are clearly posted, and you need to abide by them. The general speed limit for different areas are as follows.

  • Urban areas with street lights – 50 km/h

  • Outside of the Cities – 100 km/h in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia. 110 km/h in the Northern Territory and up to 130 km/h on major highways. The police use speed cameras and speed checks to ensure people are following the speed limit.

Toll roads

The tolls in Australia can vary greatly from one area to another. Some of the bridges, motorways, and tunnels in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne require toll payment. The tolls can vary, but the some of the main toll roads include the following.

  • AirportlinkM7
  • Clem Jones Tunnel
  • Gateway Motorway
  • Legacy Way
  • Logan Motorway
  • Go Between Bridge

Because there is so much to do and see in Australia, consider the benefits of hiring a rental car.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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