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.
Some of the tollways mentioned in this article as accepting cash toll payments may in fact have already changed, so it is important to know which road routes are tollways and how tolls are paid electronically.
Sydney is probably one of the world's major cities with the most number of road routes attracting a toll.
Within the central Sydney area alone, the Cross City Tunnel charges a toll each way.
If you take Eastern Distributor to cross Sydney Harbour either by Sydney Harbour Bridge or Sydney Harbour Tunnel, this section of road levies a toll on northbound traffic.
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel also charge a toll but this is levied only on southbound traffic.
Outside central Sydney
Road routes attracting a toll outside central Sydney are the Hills M2 Motorway, M5 Southwest Motorway, Westlink M7, and the Lane Cove Tunnel.
Cross City Tunnel
The Cross City Tunnel traverses central Sydney on an underground route from the Western Distributor at Darling Harbour to William St between Hyde Park and Kings Cross, bypassing the usually heavy midcity surface traffic. The Cross City Tunnel is a fully electronic tollway.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
There are several access ways to Sydney Harbour Bridge from the south, such as through the Western Distributor and then Bradfield Highway, and through the Eastern Distributor and then Cahill Expressway. Main access from the north is through Warringah Freeway and then Bradfield Highway or Cahill Expressway. Toll is charged electronically but only on southbound traffic.
Sydney Harbour Tunnel
From the south, Sydney Harbour Tunnel is accessed through the Cahill Expressway. If coming from the Eastern Distributor to get to Cahill Expressway, a toll is charged at the toll plaza at the end of the Eastern Distributor just before Cahill Expressway. From the north, Sydney Harbour Tunnel is accessed through Bradfield Highway at Milsons Point. Toll is charged only on southbound traffic and must be paid electronically.
Hills M2 Motorway and Lane Cove Tunnel
The M2 Motorway starts at Baulkham Hills and continues from Westlink M7 as Metroad 7 meandering southeast to the Pacific Highway east of Lane Cove North. You can take the Lane Cove Tunnel from Epping Rd to access the Pacific Highway or Gore Hill Freeway. Toll on the M2 may be paid electronically or in cash. Toll on the Lane Cove Tunnel can only be paid electronically. You can bypass the tunnel by staying on Epping Rd.
M4 Western Motorway
The M4 Motorway runs from the suburb of Strathfield all the way west to the Blue Mountains foothills. The motorway runs virtually parallel to Parramatta Rd and the Great Western Highway. Toll was collected until midnight of February 15, 2010, when the M4 reverted to being a free thoroughfare.
M5 Southwestern Motorway
The M5 Motorway starts in the east close to Sydney Airport and continues west past Liverpool. The tollway is part of Metroad 5 which continues south past Campbelltown towards Canberra. Toll is collected electronically or in cash at the main toll plaza in Hammondville and at various exit points. Toll payments in cash are scheduled to cease on July 1m 2013.
Westlink M7 Motorway
Westlink M7 connects with the M5 in the south and the M2 in the north, traversing a wide arc through Sydney's western suburbs. The tollway is fully electronic and is paid each way.
How to pay your toll
Paying with cash, when allowed, should not be a problem. You can either use exact change or go through a manned tollway booth where you can get change for your money.
For the fully electronic tollways, you will need an electronic tag which is normally affixed to your windscreen. Electronic tags come by different names such as E-Toll, E-Way, Beep Tag, Express Tag, E-Tag and E-Pass.
As you pass a toll point your electronic tag beeps and your trip is recorded. The corresponding toll is usually deducted from an arranged credit card fund which may be set up beforehand.
If you're visiting Sydney — or elsewhere in Australia — for a short period of time and are renting a car, be sure to check with your car rental agency how tolls are recorded and charged.
Note: Whatever electronic tag you use, they are expected to work on all Australian electronic tollways.