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.
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).
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.
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 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.
Hobart Driving Guide
This harbor-side small city retains much of its historical convict origins as seen in its architecture and layout. It’s actually one of Australia’s oldest and most walkable cities with Salamanca Square and Markets, Battery Point and the country’s oldest maker of beer — the Cascade Brewery a longer walk out of town.
But if you’re into doing some renting a car to have some driving fun and take in some sites further out there are quite a few great options.
Zig Zag to Mt Wellington
A 25 minute drive out of town, zigzagging up to Mt Wellington at 1270 metres above Hobart, is a sight not to be missed. The view is breathtaking, and if you’re heading there in winter there’s a good chance it will be covered in snow.
The Convict Trail
For something more historical, take the road down to Port Arthur, stopping off at Richmond along the way. The total journey time is around 90 minutes, plus stops. Richmond was a military outpost on the road to Port Arthur and is arguably one of the best preserved historical towns in Australia.
The drive down to Port Arthur along the Tasman Peninsular is another one of the country’s best, with a combination of stunning landscapes, awesome cliffs of 300m reputed to being amongst the highest in the Southern Hemisphere. Port Arthur, itself, comes next and you’ll get to experience first hand the inescapable penal colony with many of its sandstone buildings in-tact.
Heritage Highway - Hobart to Launceston
This drive trip is a little over 2 hours, but to make the most of it, it deserves frequent stops. The road traces most of the route built with convict labor in the early 1800’s and will have you gawking with delight at the beautiful rolling farmlands and Georgian villages. Many of the people in these villages directly descend from those early settlers, so if you might want to strike up a few conversations with some, to learn what they know about their forefathers.
At Cheaperthancars and Cheaperthanhotels we offer a wide range of choice and discounts on your car rental and accommodation in and around Hobart. We really do believe that when you spend less you will have more to do when you get there.
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