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Australian Outback Roadtrip

Driving Rules & Tips in Australia

September 15th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Driving, Road Trips

Australia attracts many holiday makers and travellers, and why wouldn’t it? It’s an enormous country that’s full of wonderful sights! Tourists, however, who come from all over the world, will undoubtably have a different driving mannor than what Australians do. With this in mind we think it’s really important you are across the driving rules in Australia.

Driving Rules In Australia

To make things a little eaiser, we collated the most important things a tourist should consider when driving in Australia.

1. Australians Drive on The Left Handside

Make sure you are aware of this, driving on the wrong side of the road can be fatal. Be a leftist!

2. Make Sure You Have A Valid License

All drivers in Australia require a valid driving licence. Foreign licences in English are considered valid for driving in Australia for visitors for three months on a holiday visa or 6 months on a working visa. If your driving licence is not in English, you will need an International Driving Permit which is issued in your country. Also, If you don’t have enough driving expirence, you may be required to wear an Australian P plate. Details on international liceincing can be found on the RTA International Driving page.

3. Plan your route, know the distance.

Australia is massive, so road trips between cities and attractions are usaully very long. Make sure you plan your road trip well in advanced. Calculate how long it will take you and how far the distance between your start and end point is. Use Google Maps Australia to give you an accurate distance reading in KMs or Miles.

4. Be Fuelwise

In rural Australia including remote suburbs or outside of major cities, do not assume that fuel will be available late at night, in the early morning, or even on a Sunday. Even on major roads, service stations (servos) close late at night. If you are planning a long drive overnight, make sure you know where and when you are going to get fuel. If you travelling through remote areas, like the outback, always ensure you carry an additonal tank of fuel with you in what’s known as a Jerry Can.

5. Parking Rules In Australia

If you’ve got a car, you’re going to need to park it and in Australian cities parking fines can be extremely expensive. So, when you are parking follow these simple rules.

  • Pay attention to parking signs, P means parking. Each P has its own rules. P1 means parking for 1 hour, P2 for 2 hours P1/2 means half an hour.
  • Off-street parking is allowed where no NO STANDING, NO PARKING, or other restrictions apply.
  • When parking on the street you must park your car or campervan with the flow of traffic as you can be fined for parking the wrong way round.
  • You can park where there are parking meters so long as you feed them with the right money and don’t overstay.
  • Areas marked as no stopping, or bus zones or taxi zones are illegal to stop in, even to pick up and drop off. Areas marked as no standing or no parking zones are those in which you may pick up and drop off, but you can’t leave your car.
  • Always read the parking signs, Traffic ranger’s patrol the cities at all times and WILL fine you.

6. Australian Road markings

Parallel dividing road markings indicate that overtaking is legal. A broken dividing line indicates that you may move to the other side if the road to overtake if it is clear. A solid, or sometimes a double solid, dividing line indicates that no overtaking is allowed at all.

7. Rural & Outback Driving

When driving in rural areas, including the outback and remote areas, be extremely careful of:

  • Potholes and rough surfaces
  • Wildlife, avoid driving at dusk. Kangaroos can cause serious accidents and damage
  • Soft or broken road edges
  • Blind corners
  • Road surfaces changing without notice
  • Livestock crossing the road
  • Road Trains – Trucks as many as 8 trailers

8. Don’t Drink or Drug Drive

The blood alcohol limit is 0.05% throughout Australia. Learner and provisional (P plate holders) drivers are not permitted to have any alcohol in their system whilst driving, that includes the morning after. If you are not sure if you are over the limit please do not drive.

9. Driving at Night

When driving at night particularly in the Outback care should be taken to lookout for wildlife that may stray onto the road. Animals are attracted by car lights. Collisions with animals such as the Red Kangaroo can cause substantial damage to your vehicle.

10. Hitch Hikers

Hitch hiking is illegal in Australia but still a common sight along the east and west coasts among backpackers. We highly recommend you don’t pick up hitch hikers from the side of the road. If you really have to, try and get to know them first.

11. Speed Limits – Watch you speed!

In most the majority of Australian States the maximum speed limit on freeways is 110kph and major highways it’s usually 100kph and local urban road speed limits can range from 50 – 80 kph. In all states, speed limits are clearly marked and enforcing is place with mobile and static speed cameras. Any fine incurred in Australia is the responsibility of the driver and if not paid it can hinder your re-entry into Australia and your fines will be very large.

Not Sure? Get in touch with a road mortaring

We can only give you so much information, and if it’s not covered here highly recommend you get in touch with the driving agency for which ever Australian state you intend to travel in.

We hope you find this article on Australian Driving rules helpful, please share it with your friends. For more information on driving distances in Australia see the CSU University.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • John Millard

    Great Tips, thanks for sharing with us. Can you drive Campervan on Red P Plates in QLD? I know you can drive on them in NSW, just not sure about Queensland.



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  • Carla White

    Great driving tips. I’m coming to Australia in January 2011. I’m from America so we drive on the right. i have been rather nervous about driving in Australia.

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