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Driving in Australia

What You Need to Know

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Driving in Australia isn't simply jumping in a car and getting on the road. If you're used to driving on the right, learn to drive on the left. And do learn how to manage turns, go through roundabouts and be ready for electronic tollways.

1. Your Driver's Licence Should Do Just Fine

If you’re a visitor and hold a valid driver’s licence (in English) from your own country, fine, you’re allowed to drive throughout all of Australia. If your driver's licence is not in English, a translation may be necessary and you may also need to have an international driver's licence.

2. Some Terms You May Need to Know

Now for a few terms you may need, or want, to know. That thing you see through in front of you is not a windshield, it’s a windscreen. And you don’t put your luggage in the trunk, you put it in the boot. Don’t fill up with gas, go for petrol instead... And be a leftie.

3. Traffic Rules: Dos and Don'ts

Once you get on the road, remember — if you’re driving slowly, getting used to the traffic, y’know — the lane for you is the leftmost lane if there is more than one lane in the direction you’re going. Stay on the left lane (or one of the left lanes going in the one direction) unless you're overtaking. And there are other rules to note.

4. Parking and Roundabouts

Where to park and how to go through a roundabout. Some drivers used to driving on the right-hand side of the road may get confused when getting into a roundabout. Remember to drive clockwise through a roundabout until you exit. If turning right at a roundabout, signal you're turning right as you enter the roundabout, then signal left before you exit.

5. Doing the Melbourne Hook Turn

If you plan to drive in Melbourne, watch out for the "hook turn" signs — and be prepared to turn right from the leftmost lane. Weird? Some drivers think so, and some go out of their way to avoid Melbourne streets with marked hook turns. One probem is that you normally turn right from the rightmost lane of your traffic flow, but not in this case.

6. Sydney Metroads - Going by the Numbers

For those unused to Sydney roads, particularly visitors in Australia for a short period of time, or new arrivals, the Sydney Metroad system is an easy, convenient guide for driving into, out of, crossing, or bypassing, the city's central business district, or more specifically what some visitors may call "downtown Sydney.

7. Sydney Tollways - Get Ready to Pay

New Australian tollways feature cashless, fully electronic tolling, and older tollways with manned, old-style cash booths are being converted into an electronic tolling system. Sydney is probably one of the world's major cities with the most number of road routes attracting a toll. So learn how to pay your toll.

8. Renting a Car in Australia and New Zealand

If you're in need of a vehicle for land travel in Australia or New Zealand, you can hire almost anything on wheels — from limousines, station wagons, buses, 4WDs, beach buggies and just plain sedans to, yes, motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, inline skates, even horse-drawn carriages.

9. Around Australia on Highway 1

Highway 1, which may come under different names in various regions of Australia, takes you on a circular route, mostly along the coast, through New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland.

10. Touring the Countryside

When traveling through the Australian countryside, such as when you tour the Darling Downs in Queensland or head west from Sydney in New South Wales, or travel away from the main highways anywhere in Australia, it's best to keep a few travel tips in mind.

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