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.
Noosa Driving Guide
Noosa is an up market resort town with a spectacular landscape comprising of white beaches and green tropical rainforests. Shops along the main street are lined with designer boutiques and restaurants for the rich and famous, but consistent with Australia’s down to earth nature, the beaches are free and frequented by those that wear rubber thongs, board shorts or bikinis, surfies with surf boards under their arms, in a place where physical sophistication dissolves into the equality of surf gear and bronzed bodies.
We got some inside tips from people who have visited the area on ideas for short drives that you could take with your rental car, and this is what they came up with:
Noosa to Maleny
1h 7 min to Maleny (82.4 km) via M1
Head South West of Noosa to the “Hinterland” and the historical town of Maleny created around 1891, which has its origins as a timber town up until the 1920’s when dairy and fruit farming took over the town.
Now the town is a haven for “greenies” and “hippies” with a wide range of people working as artisans, artists, musicians and craftspeople mixed in with traditional residents. The town has a well known event called the Woodford Folk Festival which usually runs over the post Christmas to New Year period, but at all times through the year the community is buzzing with something happening almost every weekend. You will get a great feeling from stopping and being amongst this laid back, southern Queensland community.
Just before you get to Maleny, you may want to stop off at the sister town of Monteville, which is more orientated towards shopping. Also The Kondalilla Falls can be accessed within the Kondalilla National Park, which is at the turn off along the main road between Montville and Flaxton.
It is home to over a hundred different species of birds and the rare Pouched Frog, only found in the subtropical rainforests of south-east Queensland. Hopefully you may get lucky and see one. If not, listen out for some distinctive croaks. There are plenty of picnic areas and swimming holes, all of which have picturesque areas to capture scenes on your camera.
Noosa to Lake Cootharaba - Boreen Point
28 min to Lake Cootharaba (26.7 km) via McKinnon Dr
This may only be a short drive outside Noosa, but we recommend that if you are travelling from interstate or from overseas, to take in a pub lunch at the historic Apollonian Hotel whose original construction was created in the midst of the Gympie Gold Rush of the 1870’s. It was moved to the picturesque village of Boreen Point on the shores of Lake Cootharaba more recently in 1987. It is set inside its own bushland grounds and serves a traditional spit roast on most busy days.
Noosa to Nambour
39min to Nambour (40.7 km) via M1
Part of this road corresponds to the trip above to Maleny, but we have separated it just in case you want to dedicate some of your time to it. It’s an absolute magical drive which passes through Eumundi and Yandina. Some key places to stopover are the Ginger Factory, Nut Factory and the Spirit House maybe for a lunch.
Nambour is the home town of the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and used to be the main town of the Sunshine Coast, before Maroochydore took on the role with its property development and seaside tourism. The roads are criss-crossed with sugar cane tracks adding to the regions rural Queensland charisma.
Noosa to Glass House Mountains
1h 1min to Glass House Mountains (77.1 km) via M1
Captain James Cook the explorer aptly named these mountains in memory of the conical towers of glass making furnaces in his native Yorkshire. These volcanic plugs rise abruptly from the surrounding subtropical flat plains 20km northwest of Caboolture. The aboriginal natives of this land thought that these huge peaks of rocky formations were a family of kindred spirits. We recommend you turn off of the Bruce Hwy and use the slower Steve Irwin Way to which winds you through dense pine forests and lush green pastures for an even closer look at these natural volcanic wonders. You won’t be disappointed. This is photographic heaven.
There are several main areas of the Glass House Mountains National Park which is broken down by various picnic areas and lookout points, but there is nowhere to camp,, rather you would be better off using Noosa as you base if you want to spend additional time as it is only a short drive south and Noosa accommodation is plentiful.
With the money you save on car rentals using Cheaperthancars, you can cover the cost of your fuel, and by staying in discounted accommodation supplied by Cheaperthanhotels you can pay for a large part of the car rental. Some of the best things in life do not need to cost a lot.
We’re passionate that you can spend less to do more.
Your Cheaperthancars Team
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