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Driving in Australia

Driving in Australia can be an adventure. With large distances between major cites, and plenty to see and do along the way. The main thing to remember is that Australians drive on the left hand side of the road, in right hand drive cars. Speed limits and distances are expressed as Kilometres.

Distances between cities graph

Distances Between Cities

Here there is a table representing distances between some of Australia's most popular destinations. Figures are expressed as Kilometres. It serves as a guide and do vary depending on route taken.

Australian Road Conditions

Roads in major centres are in generally good condition, roads in rural areas are also generally good, however, it is advised that you check rural road conditions with local authorities before your begin your journey.


It is compulsory to wear seatbelts in any vehicle in which they are fitted. This includes buses fitted with seatbelt restraints.

Speed Limits

Speed limits vary throughout Australia and are measured in Kilometres per Hour (Km/H).

Residential Areas & School Zones 40/50 Km/H

au road drive motorway

All residential zones are 50 km/h unless signed otherwise. It is good practice to maintain a speed of 50 km/h if you are uncertain of the speed limit.

School Zones are signed, and operate between 7am - 9am and 2:30pm - 4pm during School terms. Speed limit during these times is 40 Km/H.

Built-up areas and main roads. 50/60 Km/H

Built-up areas include main roads, industrial and commerce districts. All major roads are clearly signed.

Freeways and Motorways: 100/110 km/h

Freeways and/or Motorways are clearly signed. Some seasonal limits may apply.

Speeding and Speeding Fines.

Speeding is a major problem on Australian Roads, with a large majority of crashes being speed related. Speed limits are heavily enforced in Australia. Particularly around peak holiday and travel periods such as Christmas. It is not uncommon for fines during these periods to be doubled.

Police are equipped with a number of methods for speed detection. These range from:

  • Fixed Position Speed Cameras
  • Mobile Speed Camera Vans
  • Hand Held Laser and Radar Guns

road signs australiaWhat happens if I receive a speeding fine in my rental car?

The car hire company will take one of the following actions:

  • Charge your credit card for the amount detailed on the fine. (may also be subject to local surcharges and taxes)
  • Supply your information to law enforcement agencies, who will in turn issue a fine to your postal address.

In any case, it is advisable that you pay any fines you receive before leaving the country. Failure to pay fines received in Australia may result in refusal of a hire car, refusal of entry or cancellation of a visa on a return visit.

Drink Driving / Driving Under The Influence.

Drink driving or driving under the influence of a band substance is a serious offence in Australia. Police has the authority to stop a driver at any time and conduct a breath test. The legal limit in most places is 0.05% blood alcohol limit. In New South Wales, however, the limit for a person driving a car hire is 0.02%. If you are found to be over the legal limit, you will be arrested and required to take a full blood test at a hospital or health institution.