The sixth biggest country in the world, with the same
approximate landmass as mainland America, Australia is
the only country in the world to occupy an entire
continent. It is inevitable that in a country of such
scale there is bound to be a myriad of weird, wild and
wonderful attractions to seduce tourists, and sure
enough, Australia is a massively popular tourist
destination with countless travellers flocking to the
country every year to experience life down under.
Backpacking, a working holiday, a family trip or a
honeymoon, whatever brings you to Australia, use a hire
car to take you from place to place. Australia is a
country of great contrasts, presenting a bounty of
differing experiences to its visitors, from the remote
rural retreats of Australia's 'Outback' to the vibrant
urban streets in its numerous modern cities.
Important things to note
The maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 60km/h or
50km/h in residential areas and 100km/h on country roads and
highways, unless signs indicate otherwise. Police regularly
check motorists' speed with radar and camera devices. Renters
who deliberately speed may have their drivers license
confiscated immediately wherever they are stopped. Fines are
often high and they must be paid. If you leave the country
before paying a fine, notification will be sent to your
country of residence. Therefore, it is important to observe
all posted speed limits. Police in all States of Australia use
radar and concealed remote speed cameras to check speeding
motorists. The use of speed cameras in Australia is amongst
the most sophisticated in the world, and you will be caught
without knowing it and receive a large fine on returning home.
Driving culture in Australia
What are the driving laws?
Traffic in Australia drives on the left. Seat belts must be
worn at all times while driving in Australia. Strict
drink-driving laws apply and random breath testing, for the
checking of blood alcohol levels, is conducted in all
Australian States. All insurance is invalid if drivers exceed
the legal alcohol limit (currently 0.5mg per litre of blood).
Having a blood alcohol limit of 0 is the safest. Between
sunset and sunrise you must drive with your headlights and
rear lights on. During days with conditions of poor
visibility, i.e. fog, you must also drive with your lights on.
In suburban areas you must use low beam. When using high beam
on the open road, dip your headlights when an approaching
vehicle is within 200m or as soon as the other vehicle's
lights are dipped. On the freeway or motorways, drivers should
stay in the left lane unless overtaking (right lane is for
overtaking vehicles). Tramcars, which operate in Sydney,
Melbourne and Adelaide, must be overtaken on the left. There
are other special requirements relating to the overtaking of
trams, and motorists should familiarise themselves with these.
Crossing the centre line of the road on a blind crest or a
curve is strictly prohibited. Weather hazards can seriously
impair driving as road conditions can change rapidly. Sudden
storms and strong winds can make driving difficult. Motorists
should take particular care when driving on unmetalled roads,
4WD tracks and desert/beach roads. In July 2010, Northern
Territory Police issued a warning for tourists to stay off
unsealed tracks in remote areas of Central Australia following
several reports of stranded motorists.
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