Driving in Australia - Tips for Tourists

kangaroo road sign

Driving in Australia should be an amazing experience. Tourists often ask questions regarding road rules and general information when renting a car in Australia, so we have compiled a list of items you should be aware of and some helpful hints and tips.

General Information

  • In Australia, you drive on the left hand side of the Road.
  • Seatbelt's are to be worn by all passengers at all times. It is illegal to drive or be a passenger without a seatbelt. Anyone found without a seatbelt will be fined by police.
  • The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level in Australia is 0.05. If drivers are found over this limit, you can be subject to fines, loss of licence or even jail. The 0.05 BAC limit can generally be applied by following the following rules - 2 Standard Drinks in the first hour to take you up to the 0.05 limit - then 1 Standard Drink every hour after that. Sticking with these rules will ensure you are at or below the legal drink driving limit in Australia. Alcohol is a killer on the roads so drivers really need to stick to these legal limits.
  • The Legal age for driving in Australia is 18 years old.
  • International Drivers Licences are accepted.
  • Speed limits in Australia differ depending on the road you are travelling. Police patrol roads ensuring everyone is following the speed limit and various fixed and mobile speed detectors are found in all areas of Australia.
  • Speed limits are clearly marked on Australian Roads. Built up areas are usually about 60km and hour. Freeways and Highways within the country range between 100-120km/hours.
  • Parking in No Standing Zones or Clearways will be subject to a parking ticket.
  • The use of Mobile Phones / Cell Phones on Australian roads are illegal. Doing so not only endangers your life, but also the lives of other drivers and passengers on the road.
  • Australian Freeways are lined with Toilets, Petrol Stations and Rest Spots. If you are feeling tired or sick please ensure you stop on the side of the road or at a dedicated rest stop to ensure you are in a well enough condition to be in charge of a vehicle.
  • If you are towing large caravans or trailers please ensure you have the proper mirrors to ensure you are able to see other vehicles on the road.
  • Please keep any items well secured in cars, trailers or caravans to ensure no items are damaged or able to be thrown from the vehicle.
  • Please use Headlights during the night or during times of low visibility (eg. during hail storms or fog)
  • Kangaroos are very dangerous on Australian roads and have been known to kill when hit with a car head on. Either that or your car will be severly damaged from the impact.
  • Please ensure you take due car of other animals that may be travelling on the road next to you or crossing in front of you.

nullabor road sign

Crossing the Nullabor

If you intend to cross the famous Nullabor Crossing - you will need to be prepared. The distance by road from Adelaide to Perth is 2700km and crossing the Nullabor will take almost half that trip. In time, it will take you approximately 13.5 hours by car. You will need to ensure you have a reliable car as you may not see another car for 2 hours! Please take plenty of water and extra fuel as the longest distance between fuel stops can be up to 200km. You will not want to have a break down or mechanical issue as it might be a very long time before you get your vehicle fixed or repaired.

Melbourne Hook Turns

Melbourne Hook turns are uniquely Melbourne! Hook Turns are only applicable in the CBD (City) and South Melbourne. They are clearly marked with a road sign. To perform a Hook Turn, please ensure you follow the instructions in the video below:

Melbourne Trams

Navigating Melbourne streets can be difficult, especially when you have a tram line within the centre of the road. Drivers need to give way to the trams and it's passengers. For the rules when approaching or overtaking a tram, please refer to the instruction video below:

Toll Roads

Australia has many Toll roads and Tunnels in the capital cities which are usually run by private operators. In Melbourne the operators are Citilink and Eastlink. In Sydney please refer to the Sydney Motorway Toll Information and in Brisbane have a look at the Queensland Toll Information.

Outback Roads

There are a large number of unsealed roads in the Australian outback. You will need to ensure you have the correct vehicle where in some cases only 4WD are allowed to enter. Flash flooding can sometimes cause havoc on the roads. Please be aware that Permits are required in some parts of Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia in various sacred Aboriginal areas.

road trains in australia

Road trains

If you see an oncoming vehicle as large as a train, in Australia these are usually referred to as Roadtrains (pictured). Roadtrains carry large amounts of goods and cattle between various cities within the country. If you are approaching a road train please ensure you slow down as the vehicle passes as they will usually be followed by a gush of wind.

Our travel experts at Crazy Car Hire can provide you with the perfect vehicle to safely navigate the roads of Australia. We have a large range of vehicles available at the click of a button.

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