Driving in Australia can be different from other countries so it’s a good idea to be aware of some road rules if you are planning on driving there. The most important difference from driving in the US is that they drive on the left side of the road. Other than that our guide will get you comfortable with getting behind the wheel whether you plan on exploring the Outback or enjoying Australia’s cities.
Rules and Regulations
- Seat belts must be worn by all occupants traveling in the vehicle. The driver is responsible for making sure that all passengers wear seat belts.
- Children and babies must be restrained in approved child booster seats, including children under the age of 7.
- The blood alcohol limit is 0.05% throughout Australia.
- You are not permitted to use a handheld mobile phone when driving.
- Park on the left-hand side of the road away from all traffic. Do not park facing the oncoming traffic as you will face a fine.
- It is illegal to turn left on a red traffic signal unless signposted.
- In some states, it is illegal to do a U-turn at a traffic signal unless otherwise noted by a sign. In Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, this move is allowed on a right arrow except where signposted.
- If you’re traveling on a highway or freeway, Australian traffic rules say you should stay on the left lane (or one of the left lanes if there are more than two lanes going in the one direction) unless you’re overtaking. There would be signs to remind you of this.
- If you are entering and crossing an intersection the vehicle to your right has right of way unless they are stopped by a STOP or YIELD sign.
- At a T intersection, the motorist driving straight through has the right of way.
Below are common speed limits for normal cars without trailers. The limits might vary if there is inclement weather or if you are driving a truck or towing a trailer or something else.
|Within towns and cities||50 km/h (31 mph)|
|Highway outside cities||100-110 km/h (62-68 mph)|
|Freeway||100-130 km/h (62-81 mph)|
|School Zones||25 km/h marked otherwise|
What to Bring Along
- Driver’s license
- International Driving Permit (IDP)
- Proof of insurance
- Some freeways, bridges, and tunnels in or near Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney require payment of tolls. In some cases (especially in Melbourne and Sydney), some tolls can only be paid electronically with a transponder fitted inside the car – not in cash. If you drive on such a road without a transponder, a photo is taken of your vehicle’s number plate, and you have a day to phone a number or visit a website and arrange payment (plus an additional processing fee) before a fine is issued. There are information signs about phone numbers and websites at toll collection points.
- Permits are often necessary to travel through Aboriginal tribal lands in certain remote areas. Most of these are in Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory.
- Outside of major cities and the main routes between some state capitals, Australian highways are mainly two-lane, undivided, sealed asphalt roads. Conditions can be dangerous because there is no barriers or dividers from oncoming traffic and the roads can be in bad condition.
- Be careful when driving at night as native animals become active at this time and can appear on roads.
- If you are traveling between towns and cities in remote areas make sure you have plenty of fuel in your car as there can be long distances until the next gas station. Make sure you also have a spare tire and plenty of food and water too.
- 000 is the number for emergency services in Australia.
Rent a Car with SIXT in Australia
With more than many rental locations in Australia, you can rent with us near many tourist destinations including Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and the Gold Coast. There is no shortage of things to do in this land of diversity. You can visit the rainforests in the north, try your hand at surfing on the eastern coast or hang out in cosmopolitan Sydney. Whatever your plans for an adventure Down Under, rent with us for a stress-free experience.