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Australia Driving Tips

New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia — these are all areas within a huge, diverse continent that beg to be explored. Of course, the best way to see anything is off your own back, and a road trip could seriously enhance your time in this beautiful land we call Australia.

Driving within the various states of Australia is becoming a hugely popular way to see the country. Of course, this brings with it various questions about driving in a foreign country, especially if you are using a rented car. So let’s look at the basics.

Driving license/paperwork

You are able to drive within Australia on a foreign driving license, valid for the same class of vehicle, for three months after your arrival in the country. That being said, rules and regulations vary from state to state, and in some you may be required to carry an international license as well as your foreign license, and some may ask for a formal translation, which is the International Driving Permit (IDP).

Age restrictions

You must be at least 21 years of age to drive in Australia. Anyone 70 years and over will be asked to take regular medicals and eye examinations.

Let’s talk the law

  • In Australia, vehicles are driven on the left side of the road
  • Do not use mobile phones while driving, except a hand’s free kit
  • Give way to right hand side traffic
  • Always abide by the speed limit
  • Always wear seat belts while driving, including passengers
  • Drive in the direction of arrows marked on the road surface
  • Don’t overtake with white lines
  • Always carry your license while driving
  • Traffic signals and road signs must always be obeyed
  • Never take U-turns at traffic lights
  • While turning, always use indicator
  • At pedestrians crossings, always give way to pedestrians
  • Children under seven years of age should always be seated in the back seat of the vehicle


The normal speed limits on Australian roads are as follows:

  • 100 km/h (62 mph) on freeways and major highways
  • 50-80 km/h (31-49 mph) on local road

Never be tempted to speed in order to get anywhere faster, as you’ll be caught by one of the many speed cameras, and fined. Road signs will give you the exact speed limit for that area.

Drunk driving

Laws with regards to drinking and driving are extremely strict in Australia, and police will carry out random breath tests. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.05 g/100ml is permitted for full license holders. For provisional and learner licences, the BAC is ZERO. It is advisable not to drink at all, regardless of the legal limit, and that way you know you’re not in trouble. Being caught out over the limit is a serious criminal offence and may carry possible prison punishment.

Parking regulations

Parking in Australia has both free and paid types. For parking in cities, there is always a time and a fee. For parking aid, there are quite comprehensive parking signs in Australia, which will help you find your way. For example, a sign stating 1/2P means you can park there for half an hour, and similarly, 3P means you can park for three hours. ‘Ticket’ means pay and display. It’s worth mentioning that S in a red circle with a diagonal red line through it means no stopping.

Brisbane Driving Guide

Travelling to Brisbane for the first time, you’ve probably got your camera ready to snap a few photos on the Southbank, holding a koala or taking one of the many ferries down the Brisbane River; then maybe visiting the iconic City Hall, before heading into one of the many eateries around town. Queenslanders affectionately call this Brisvegas.

But if you’re looking to do something different with your time, consider jumping in your rental car and heading 1-2 hours out of town, to take in some of the unique experiences that the area has to offer.

Drive west to take in country atmosphere

  • A quick 45 minute drive out to Brisbane’s west will have you in an atmosphere like a country town.  Samford and Mount Nebo has plenty of “artsy” cafes, craft shops, museums to wander into, while being surrounded with mountain scenery.
  • The Samford Valley Heritage Trail is a leisurely stroll that will not cost you a cent in the same area.  You get to walk past 13 historical sites with several points of interest including galleries. If you continue up to the nearby Mount Nebo or Mount Glorious you can also take in a mountain walk, topped off with some afternoon tea at one of the location’s cafes.
  • Day trip out to Moreton or Stradbroke Island These huge islands of sand sit off the east coast from Brisbane, protecting the city from the Pacific Ocean.  Both islands are a short ferry ride from the shore, and offer exceptional beaches.
  • Try “glamping” on Moreton in style

If you want to turn your back on your comfortable city accommodation and stay in something alternative, why not consider “glamping” on Moreton Island.  For those not into lugging tents around, pitching them and digging latrines, you get to choose from a range of permanent tents with queen sized beds, en-suites and rooms either for 2 or 4.

It’s a little more than 2 hours away which will involve a ferry crossing. You can take your car or choose to park it and go without it, then pick up one of several transport options available when you get off to get you to your place to stay for the night.

Driving south to New South Wales?

If you’re heading south to New South Wales and want to take the scenic route, avoid the busy M1 motorway by taking the Nerang to Murwillumbah road. The trip takes around 2 hours each way, and is made up of narrow country lanes traversing some mountain ranges and deep valleys. There are plenty of places to stop for a coffee and a snack. If you’re returning back to the bright lights of Brisvegas try the Mount Lindesay Highway which will keep you in the country.

At Cheaperthancars and Cheaperthanhotels we provide deals and a wide range of choice on car rental and accommodation, so that when you visit Brisbane you will be able to spend less and do more with the money you save.

Your Cheaperthancars Team

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