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Vast and diverse, Australia offers visitors everything from coral reefs to snowy mountains and cosmopolitan cities. You ll need your own set of wheels to tour the spectacular coasts, red centre and national parks of this huge country, with driving through the outback a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Driving Tips for Australia
Navigating Australian roads is easy, even in the country s biggest cities. While the rewards of driving in remote areas are great, travellers should make sure they are properly equipped with spare fuel and water before hitting the tarmac.
Driving licences: a valid UK driving licence permits a driver to drive in Australia for up to three months. An International Driving Permit must accompany licences written in languages other than English.
Which side does Australia drive on: the left.
Highways and freeways: 68-81mph (110-130kph)
Major roads and small highways: 37-56mph (60-90kph)
Outside built-up areas: 62-68mph (100-110kph)
Built-up areas: 31-37mph (50-60kph)
School zones: 16-25mph (25-40kph)
Alcohol limits: stricter than the UK limit of 0.08 percent, at 0.05 per cent. Random breath tests are common. Offenders face a court appearance and a fine or suspension of license.
Driving age: 16 to 18 years depending on state or territory; 21 to 24 years for car hire.
Seatbelts: mandatory for all passengers, if fitted. Children under seven years must be seated in an appropriate child restraint.
Mobile phones and GPS: the use of a mobile phone while driving is only permitted in conjunction with a hands-free kit. Dashboard GPS units are legal.
Cost of fuel in Australia: cheap, at around 50 per cent of the cost of fuel in the UK.
Car hire and fuel payment: both petrol stations and car hire suppliers accept payment by major credit cards.
Insurance: basic insurance is included with car hire but optional excess reduction is recommended.
Traffic and parking: city traffic is typically congested at peak times, but navigating cities by car outside of rush hours is often as fast as using public transport. City car parks are expensive while metered street parking has strict time limits, yet train station parking is often free. Outside urban areas, parking is easy to find.
Australia s rail network is rather limited, partly due to the sheer distances between most major cities. Taking the train is a more expensive, slower, yet often more scenic, alternative to flying. The train can be a good choice for accessing regional towns that don t have airports. Some of the most popular routes are: Adelaide to Alice Springs and Darwin, Brisbane to Cairns and Sydney to Perth, operated by Great Southern Railways. Additionally, most major cities have suburban rail networks, with Sydney also boasting light rail and monorail lines. Single inner-city train rides typically cost between 2.00 and 4.00.