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What You Need to Know Before Driving in Australia

Aug 11, 2008
Do you want to hire a car when visiting Sydney? Thinking about Sydney, although it is fairly large, Sydney is quite a compact city. It is unique in the sense of there are very wide variety of things to do within the Sydney CBD, there are all sorts of cultural and urban attractions, museums, there are tourism icons such as the Harbour Bridge and The Sydney Opera House, things that people really want to see.

Also, its beautiful beaches are one of the things that Sydney is very well-known for as well. While Sydney is a fairly compact area, there is a wide variety of attractions and things that you probably would want to see if you come here, so that is one thing to understand.

Secondly, public transport in Sydney. Now as a rule, it is quite a good standard. It is far from perfect and any Sydney local will tell you that. It is reasonably frequent, most of the major attractions are fairly accessible by public transport and it is a relatively inexpensive way for you to get around.

Some other aspects of Sydney that are fairly important are parking. Within the Sydney CBD and in the city itself, parking is available but it can be quite difficult. Within the CBD itself you are really going to look at the parking stations to park your vehicle and they can get expensive. For an overnight stay, you can pay over $20 without any problems at all.

If you are staying in or around the city, I will really recommend that you do, especially if you are here for a short stay, it makes a lot of attractions accessible or within walking distance.

I have recommend many people on a short stay that they should stay in the city, in which case parking could be quite expensive as well. So all those things are probably what you would be thinking about when you are determining whether you should hire a car?

I suggest that if you are here for short stay, if just want to see some of the major attractions on a short stay, it is probably not worth your while to hire a car to get around. Most of these things are accessible by public transport.

One of the things about Sydney is its heavily reliant on tourism, all major attractions are made accessible by public transport and those few that are not can be really worthwhile and very cost effective just to get a taxi to those locations.

So as a rule, if you are staying less than a week, I would suggest that you probably will rely on public transport rather than getting motor vehicles.

I suggest the opposite though if you are looking to get outside of Sydney and to start looking at rural New South Wales, country Australia, because one thing about Australia is some vast open spaces.

If you really want to get the most out of any trip to Australia, then driving can perhaps be one of the better ways to go about it.

So, here are my recommendations, if you will be staying in Sydney for a relatively short period, you probably better off using public transport. However, if you are looking to get outside of Sydney, for a greater Australian trip, then you probably would look at hiring or driving a motor vehicle.

So if you decide to drive in Sydney, here are some things to keep in mind.

The first one is licensing. In New South Wales, if you have an overseas license, you will be able to drive using that license and only that license anywhere in New South Wales. As long as you have a valid drivers license overseas, you can drive in Sydney and in New South Wales. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep your drivers license on you. It is an offense in New South Wales to not have your drivers license on you if a policeman asks you to produce it.

Some driving tips if you decide to drive in Sydney. Overall, Sydney and Australia is a very safe place to drive, it is not as chaotic as a lot of counties, people are fairly orderly and it is a pretty pleasant place to drive.

There are a lot of fatal motor vehicle accidents in Australia, speed is largely responsible for these, people exceeding the speed limit and also the fact that Australia being so geographically large means a lot of vehicles are traveling at high speeds.

The first and most obvious thing to remember is you have to drive on the left. If you are from one of those countries that drive on the right-hand side, it is really important that you remember that. It could be chaotic and dangerous if you do not remember to do that. So always drive on the left, the easy way to remember is that you as the driver will be closest to the center of the road.

It is a law in New South Wales and everywhere in Australia that you have to wear a seatbelt whenever you are driving a motor vehicle. If you did not wear a seatbelt, you or your passengers will likely to be fined by a police officer.

Alcohol is another one. Everyone likes to have a few drinks when they are on vacation that is for sure, but it can be very dangerous to operate a motor vehicle when you are on the influence of alcohol. The legal limit for adults is .05% alcohol, .05 means if you have 3 standard drinks in the first hour, you will be over the limit and you will not be able to drive a motor vehicle.

There are very heavy penalties for people who drive motor vehicles whilst they are under the influence of alcohol, including fines and imprisonment.

Speeding. Speed limits vary a great deal in Sydney, and as a result you really need to keep an eye out, make sure that you are traveling within the appropriate speed limit for that area. There are plenty of highway patrolman out there that will give you a ticket or take some sort of action against you if you speed whilst driving.

These are some of the things you might want to consider when driving in Sydney and Australia.
About the Author
Garry Searle has lived in Sydney, for 15 years. His podcast, The Sydney
Visitor, is the free authoritative guide to experiencing the sights and sounds
of Sydney Australia. To
instantly hear more inside information on visiting Sydney Australia, go to
www.thesydneyvisitor.com.
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