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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.

Darwin Driving Guide

This is the “Top End” city and gateway to Asia with a harbour bigger than Sydney’s.

It’s modern, yet in some parts, retains it retains its history well. It is also a unique melting pot of different cultures and laid back lifestyle.

If you’ve planned your visit to take in the local attractions the chances are that you have already thought of feeding the fish on a high tide at Aquascene in Darwin city  around Doctor’s Gully,  visiting Cullen Bay Marina or soaking up some special eats at the Stokes Hill Wharf and Darwin Waterfront Precinct.

But the Northern Territory is more than just Darwin, much more. And even though the distances to get to places are a little further than you’ve likely been used to we think the benefits justify the extra time to get there.

If you’re adventurous, we’ve come up with some places that we recommend that you take your rental car to, and return home with some lifetime memories that will make you feel closer to being like a real “Territorian” local.  Crocodile Dundee ... eat your heart out.

The Mary River National Park and Wetlands

150 kms and around a 3 hour drive east of Darwin,  along the Arnhem Highway, you can find yourself in this fabulous park full of freshwater billabongs, paperbark and monsoon forests, allowing  for excellent wildlife watching,  fishing,  bushwalking and photography. Yes your social media friends who couldn’t make the trip are waiting for your photo updates.

Access to the area in the dry months from May to September is good, but you need to be aware that from time to time road closures will occur through the tropical monsoon season.

The Mary River Wetlands are also home to the largest concentration of salt water crocodiles in the World and tours are available for those wanting to get up close.  Do observe the safety signs if you are driving alone around the various creeks.  This is crocodile territory, so show some respect for their lands.

Discover Natural Wonders at Litchfield National Park

A drive 90 minutes south of Darwin, down the National Highway 1 will have you amongst the rich greenery of the Litchfield National Park.   Here you can see enormous towering termite mounds, find places to swim near beautiful fresh waterfalls and even take boat rides out down the Adelaide River to see huge crocodiles that also live in the area.

Some of the safe spots to swim in the park include Wangi, Florence, Tjaynera Falls and Buley Rockhole.

There is definitely NO SWIMMING permitted in the Reynolds River.

If you want some Aussie sophistication to go with the visit, mix it with some sparkling wine and luscious, big fat, juicy prawns at one of the picnic areas available at Florence Falls, Tabletop Swamp, Greenant Creek, Wangi Falls and Walker Creek. If you don’t want the hassle of bringing your own food, there is always the Wangi Falls Cafe at the Wangi Falls Centre.

At Cheaperthancars and Cheaperthanhotels you can find great discounts and a wide range of choice on your rental cars and accommodation.  We really do believe that to spend less will give you more to do when you get there.

Your Cheaperthancars Team

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