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Introduction

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.

Road
Driving Side
Urban
Speed Limit
Rural
Speed Limit
Motorway
Speed Limit
Car Hire
Car Hire
Car Hire
Car Hire
LEFT
50 km/h
100 km/h
110 km/h
 

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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