Driving in Australia is a fantastic way to see this beautiful country. You can go where you want, when you want, at your own pace and with peace of mind. If you have not driven in Australia before it is important that you are familiar with the rules and regulations of our roads, as well as the distances between top tourist locations. The driving distance calculator table will assist to decide where to go, and how long it will take you.
Before you get started on your driving holiday please make sure you make yourself aware of these tips to ensure you are fully prepared for your journey.
Always drive on the left side of the road. If you drive on the right side of the road in your own country, please remember to keep left when pulling out onto the road – it’s easy to forget.
Wear your seat belt
By law, everyone in the vehicle must wear a safety belt or child restraint – whether they’re in the front or back. Children under five years of age must be secured in an approved child restraint.
Adhere to speed limits
Speed limit signs show the maximum speed you can travel. At times you may need to drive at a slower speed due to road, weather or traffic conditions. Different speed limits apply throughout Australia – look out for the speed limit signs. Speeding is a serious offence and speed limits vary from state to state, so ensure you adhere to the speed limit signs posted along all major roads, all the time.
Do not use your mobile phone
It’s illegal to use your hand-held mobile device while driving, even if you’re stopped at a red light. This includes making or receiving calls or texting.
Do not drink and drive
Australia has strict laws about drinking alcohol and driving. You are not permitted to drive a car if your blood alcohol level is 0.05 per cent or higher. If you’re going to drink alcohol, it’s safer not to drive at all.
Fatigue can be as dangerous as drink driving or speeding and contributes to many fatal accidents. Stop every 2 hours to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Try to time your day’s travel so that you arrive at your overnight destination with time to relax and unwind.
You should plan fuel stops before you depart. Prices are higher in remote and country areas, so it is advisable to ﬁll up the tank before venturing to the countryside.
Bush Fires or Floods
Check road and weather conditions regularly as there could be unforeseen closures that may have an impact on your journey (e.g. temporary closure of highway due to forest ﬁre).
Lost Out There/Vehicle Breakdown
Do not leave the vehicle under any circumstances – a missing vehicle is easier to locate than missing people. In case of a vehicle breakdown, refer to the information on the 24-hour roadside assistance service that is provided with your Hertz car. Depending on the severity of the breakdown, a replacement vehicle may be made available.
Most major roads are now sealed with bitumen and provide excellent driving conditions.
Only 4WD vehicles are permitted to drive on unsealed roads. A 2WD vehicle may only drive on unsealed roads when accessing National Parks, State Parks or holiday accommodation. 2WD are not permitted on Kangaroo Island. No vehicles are permitted to be driven off road, or on beaches and exposed to salt water.
Occasionally in the Wet Seasons roads may become impassable through flooding. Do not attempt to travel through a submerged section of road unless it is absolutely safe to do so. Some crossings are often deeper than they appear. Travelling fast through water can be dangerous and cause vehicle damage for which the renter is responsible.
Distances are vast across the whole of Australia, in particular the Northern Territory and Western Australia, therefore do not underestimate travelling time required. Check distances carefully when planning your itinerary. Allow an average speed of 80 kilometres per hour in your calculations for travel on bitumen roads.
For further information please consult our Distance Chart.
Always ensure fuel requirements are estimated conservatively. Petrol stations can be several hundred kilometres apart.
Night driving is not permitted in the Northern Territory, Kimberley region and remote parts of Western Australia and Kangaroo Island.
Road trains can be up to 50 metres in length and weigh in excess of 50 tonnes. Caution should be shown when overtaking.
It is advisable to always carry water.
Nearly all of the Northern Territory and Western Australia is cattle station country. Hence most roads are unfenced, so please be aware that cattle, buffalo, horses or kangaroos can wander across the road at any time.
Below are some common signs that may be seen on your journey.
Railway crossing signs