This is what you need to do to prepare to drive a car around Australia.
Australia — a country that’s also an entire continent — is a colossal beacon for travelers looking to take an epic road trip. With thousands of miles of beautiful coastlines, colorful deserts, and the remnants of well-eroded mountains there are options for every type of traveler. So get in a car and go.
But this is what you need to do first:
Get your documents in order
First and foremost, you need to have all of your travel documents in order. Is your passport still valid? Can you legally drive in Australia? In order to operate a motor vehicle in Australia for up to three months you must have a foreign driver’s license that is issued in English with a photo on it. If for some reason your license doesn’t have a photo then you must carry a second form of identification that does. Having car insurance is also required, so get it through your rental car company if you don’t already have it in your home country.
Rent a car
Now that you can officially drive in Australia, getting your wheels comes next. There are all kinds of options for car hire in Australia, but Rentalcars.com tends to offer some of the best deals. The type of car that you hire depends on where you want to travel in Australia. If you’re just going around to cities like Melbourne and Sydney or hanging out on the beach, then any small car will do. But if you want to go out to more remote locations in the central or western regions, then getting a more robust vehicle like an SUV or truck may be more in order. Part of the fun of road tripping in Australia is getting way out into nature, but doing so means that you need to carry your own food, water, and, oftentimes, extra fuel, so make sure you have space in your vehicle for all of this.
Know the driving laws
As with driving in any country, make sure you know the road rules before taking your road trip in Australia. Australians drive on the left side of the road. The steering wheel is on the right hand side of the car. Speed limits range from 50 to 60 kilometers per hour in residential and city areas and 100 to 110 kilometers per hour in the countryside. The legal limit for blood-alcohol is less than .05%, so that means only a drink or two for most people. U-turns are generally not permitted, unless there’s a special sign or you’re in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. Likewise, left turns on red are generally illegal, unless there is a sign saying that it’s alright.
Plan your journey
Now for the fun part: where in Australia do you want to go? You can head up to Far North Queensland and go to Cairns, taking in the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Or head over to the Gold Coast to check out Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads, and Surfers Paradise, hip little waterfront towns where people hang out and surf. Or if cities are more your thing, hang around Melbourne, which is packed with cafes and rooftop bars, or Adelaide, which is loaded with amazing food and wine. When you’ve had enough of the cities, drive out to the vineyards of the Barossa Valley. Or maybe the small seaside village of Exmouth is more your thing? Go there and then dive into the Cape Range National Park.
Like any other type of travel, road tripping means finding places to sleep. Booking hotels at Hotels.com is a sure way to get cheap prices on a wide range of accommodation all over Australia, whether you’re hanging out in bars in cities or going far into the outback.
Traveling by car is one of the best ways to experience Australia, and following these five tips will get you started the right way.
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