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.
Melbourne Driving Guide
The first thing that comes to mind with your visit to Melbourne will likely be Federation Square, the cafe culture, Crown Casino , Docklands and the famous mid city trams. But for those who have done this all before, or want to enjoy or combine it with the open road, consider some popular options within 1-2 hours of Melbourne’s CBD.
Breezy seaside villages with style and curiosity
A drive of between 1 and 2 hours, depending on how far you choose to drive, will let you combine the best of coastal living on the Mornington Peninsular. Some say it’s like Europe with an Aussie flavor, with miles of beaches and small towns oozing with charm.
If you want to get “artsy” drop into Mornington, a seaside village with cosmopolitan sidewalk cafes, take a few camera snaps to share socially with your friends and family alongside the famous bathing boxes on the beach, then maybe indulge in one of Australia’s most renowned regional galleries (MPRG — Mornington Peninsular Regional Gallery).
Get some artistic inspiration for free and suck in the ocean breeze. Take a walk down the Sorrento-Portsea Artists Trail to get a sense of what inspired some of Australia’s leading artists including Albert Tucker, John Percival and Arthur Streeton. There are 14 stands near the spots viewed by the artists that are part of a scenic coastal walk that includes Sorrento Beach, Port King and Sorrento Pier.
A few minutes away there’s 30 or more local antique dealers located in the Tyabb Packing House near to the historic fishing village of Hastings, that specialise in deco, old wares, retro, vintage and specialty items.
The Great Ocean Road
It’s hard not mention this if you’re coming to Melbourne - the Australian National Heritage listed road perhaps ranks amongst the World’s best drives. It’s comprises of a rugged coastline with numerous seaside towns, beaches, cliffs rainforest and hillsides. The 250km drive can be done in a day, but with so much to do we recommend stopping off and doing it over 2 days.
The Twelve Apostles are the key draw card of this trip, rising as limestone stacks out of the Southern Ocean. If you have friends in your car, have some fun and set them the task of counting them all of them and photographing— there’s actually only 8.
For families, there’s a bunch of free activities available at the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre, called “The Craters to Coast Discovery Program” when visiting the Shipwreck Coast region. The program loans telescopes, weather instruments, GPS units, digital cameras and compasses so that children can navigate for hidden treasure, track local fauna, learn to read history in rocks, use detective skills to uncover the secrets of Victoria's southern landscapes - and earn prizes along the way.
The main town is Torquay home to the Australian National Surf Museum that boasts being the largest surf museum on the planet and is located next to the home turf of some of the most dedicated “surfies” around. If you thought you knew it all, this place will likely re educate you on the origins of the activity.
With the money you save on your car rental using Cheaperthancars you can probably justify splashing out on a night or two’s hotel or accommodation stays, with Cheaperthanhotels in one of the many towns along the drive, to make the trip more relaxed. We really do believe that the less you spend, the more you can do when you get there.
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