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Are there restrictions on where you can drive a hire car?

While it can be tempting to just jump in your hire car and go, there are some rules to keep in mind when it comes to driving in Australia.

When you travel in Australia, restrictions may apply as to where you can take your rental car. State border closures may also affect where you’re able to go, and further restrictions for travel during dawn and dusk can apply to rural areas.

Here are some common locations that rental brands don’t allow their vehicles to be taken to:

New South Wales and Victoria

Restrictions apply if you are taking your rental car above the snow line. In New South Wales, this includes areas beyond Jindabyne, and areas beyond Bright in Victoria. Generally, snow restrictions are in place from early June to late September, and alpine restrictions may also apply to vehicles in Tasmania.

Northern Territory

Your rental car is only allowed to be driven on sealed roads in the Northern Territory — no off-road driving is permitted.

Kilometre limits often apply to rental cars picked up in Darwin, Alice Springs, and Ayers Rock, so make sure you check the terms and conditions of your rental agreement for clarification.

Restricted areas in the Northern Territory include the Gove Peninsula, Groote Eylandt, the Tiwi Islands, and the road to Jim Jim Falls in Kakadu National Park.


Your rental car will not be allowed on most of the islands off Queensland’s coast, and driving on beaches, through rivers, or in floodwaters is strictly prohibited.

Restricted areas may include K’gari (previously Fraser Island), Magnetic Island, Highway 27 west of Chillagoe, anywhere north of Karumba, the Cape Tribulation Coast Road, and anywhere beyond Lakeland in Cape York. You are not able to take your rental car on any unsealed sections of Savannah Way or the Burke Developmental Road.

South Australia

In South Australia, you may be restricted from taking your rental car to Kangaroo Island.


Vehicles collected in Tasmania are not permitted to be taken out of the state. Travel restrictions may apply to Bruny Island, although some rental brands will allow their vehicles to be taken to the island with prior authorisation.

Western Australia

In Western Australia, you are not permitted to take your rental car anywhere north of Carnarvon, into Purnululu National Park, on Cape Leveque Road, or along the Gibb River Road.

For example

If you visit Kakadu National Park...

A few restrictions may apply if you visit Kakadu National Park in your rental car. For example, vehicles picked up in Darwin often have a limit of 100 kilometres per day, so you will need to watch your mileage. You are also restricted from taking your vehicle on any unsealed roads, which includes the road to Jim Jim Falls.