Driving in Australia

sign for driving in Australia

If you plan any driving in Australia you need to know a few things. This page deals with legal requirements and rules for driving in Australia.

For more colourful information on driving in the Austrailian Outback go here.

License Requirements For Driving In Australia

If you hold a valid driver's license from another country and the license is in English, then you can drive all over Australia for up to 12 months.

But if your license is not in English, then you should also carry an international driving permit or an approved translation of your license.

In some states the international permit alone will not be enough.

If you want to be on the safe side get a recognised translation of your driver's license.

Driving In Australia - Road Rules

The most important bit first: in Australia we drive on the left side of the road! So if you come from North America, Europe (other than the UK), or anywhere else in the world where you drive on the right hand side of the road, take care!

And take it easy, especially when turning at intersections, pulling out of driveways, around parking lots and similar. The lifestyle in Australia is leisurely, and so is our driving style. We'll wait until you worked out where you're supposed to be (and found the indicator)...

Coming to think of it, maybe don't schedule your first attempt for the rush hour.

Here are a few traffic rules that you need to be aware of when driving in Australia:

  • Driver and passengers must of course wear seat belts at all times.
  • Don't drive if you're blood alcohol level is above 0.05%.
  • The speed limit on highways and country roads is 100km/hr (62mph) or 110 km/hr (68mph), depending on the state. (Unless of course a lower speed limit is sign posted.) Only exception is the Northern Territory, which does not have a speed limit. It still makes good sense to stick to the 110km/hr if you want to arrive safely.
  • The speed limit in residential and built up areas has been reduced from 60km/hr (35mph) to 50km/hr nearly everywhere now. Stick to 50km/hr and you are safe.
  • The slowest lane is the left most lane.
  • Give way to the right (if there are no traffic lights, stop signs, etc.)
  • Give way at T-intersections. (The vehicle driving straight through has the right of way.)
  • Go around roundabouts clockwise.

Now that should get you where you want to go without trouble.

When first driving in Australia, if you're not used to driving on the left side, you might turn on your windscreen wipers when you reach for your indicators, and maybe hit your hand on the door when trying to grab the gearstick in a hurry. I know I did. You might also climb into the car from the left side before you realise the steering wheel is on the other side. I did that, too.

All in all you should get a few laughs out of it, that's for sure!

Hope you enjoy driving in Australia.

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