Driving in Australia

Australians drive on the left hand side of the road as they do in England and some of the Caribbean countries such as Jamaica and Barbados. This can be confusing for Americans and Continental Europeans but after a short time on the road you usually get the hang of it. You can become complacent however and problems may occur, especially after making a turn. If you are not concentrating, you may find yourself facing oncoming traffic once you have made the turn at an intersection. Take your time and think about it. If you are on a road with two way traffic you will most likely be closer to the center line on the road if you are the driver than if you are the passenger. The reason for this is that the drivers seat and steering wheel are also on the opposite side of the vehicle compared to America. Think about it. Take your time. It's probably best to start out in an automatic car as the manual stick shift cars in Australia have the gears shifted with your left hand.
In most cases, the maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 60 km/h (35 mph) and 100 km/h (60 mph) on country roads and highways, unless signs indicate otherwise. Police regularly check motorists' speed with radar and camera devices.

Australia has very strict drink-driving laws and random breath testing is conducted in all Australian States. The limit is only 0.05 compared with 0.08 to 0.1 in the United States.

All drivers must hold a current drivers licence (with an English translation shown on the licence) from their country of residence, or an International drivers permit. State laws stipulate that licences must be carried at all times when driving.
Australia is a huge country. Please allow yourself plenty of time if you plan to drive around the country. It is a wonderful way to see Australia but many people from the northern hemisphere are surprised by Australia's immense size.
Driving Distances in Australia
From-To
Kilometres
Miles
Sydney to Brisbane
1,022
639
Sydney to Canberra
285
178
Sydney to Melbourne
1,045
653
Sydney to Adelaide
1,568
980
Melbourne to Adelaide
945
591
Adelaide to Perth
3,194
1,996
Adelaide to Alice Springs
1,529
956
Alice Springs to Darwin
1,490
931
Perth to Darwin
4,355
2,722
 
Distance Conversion (Kilometres to miles)
km
=
miles
 
km
=
miles
100
 
62
 
750
 
466
200
 
124
 
1000
 
621
300
 
186
 
1500
 
932
500
 
311
 
2000
 
1243
 
  • Shell Gasoline Prices: This site will give you the current prices of gasoline (petrol) for each state in Australia. Remember that all prices are Australian cents per litre.

  • Driving in New South Wales: Some quick tips on what to see and do in New South Wales when driving from Sydney.