From long trips into the heart of the outback to less adventurous, but just as rewarding, journeys around its stunning coastline, driving is a great way to see all that Australia has to offer.
Most Australian roads are relatively quiet and enjoyable to travel on but you do need to take care on routes within the outback and prepare for the very long distances that can be involved in exploring this wonderful country by car.
Hertz has around 230 branches across Australia, mostly based at the country's main airports and cities such as Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Hertz has branches in every Australian state including Tasmania.
• To drive legally in Australia you'll need an International Driving Permit as well your licence from your country of origin.
• On two-way roads Australians drive on the left hand side and seat belts are compulsory for all passengers. Children aged seven or under must travel in an appropriate child restraint.
• There are strict rules around overtaking in Australia, if the road's centre line is single and broken, crossing the line to overtake is permitted. If there are two lines down the middle of the road you may only overtake when the line closest to you is broken.
• Speed limits are also strictly enforced, especially in school zones and residential areas and there may not be as many signs stating the speed limit as you are used to back home so be sure to familiarise yourself with the statutory limits. In most states you need to stick to 50kph in built-up areas and 100kph (62mph) in other areas. These limits do vary in certain states though so it's important to check the local regulations.
• There are serious penalties in Australia for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Similarly, using a handheld mobile phone while driving is also strictly forbidden.
• Because Australia is such a big country, rest areas are located every 80 to 100km on the main highways and if you're feeling tired it is expected that you pull over and use one.
Australia has a long and rich automotive history and is packed full of motor museums which are situated throughout the country. One of the best is the National Transport Museum in Inverell, New South Wales which boasts more than 120 vehicle exhibits including motorcycles and classic, veteran and vintage automobiles. The National Transport Museum is open every day except Christmas Day.
Conversely, the amazing Lost In The '50s American Classic Cars Museum, also in New South Wales, holds just ten viewings days every year. 45 classic cars are on permanent display including Cadillacs, hot rods and even a Batmobile. There are also more than 3500 items of Americana memorabilia on show. The museum also sells classic cars during its open days.
• Minimum car rental age: You need to be 21 or over to rent most cars in Australia but certain larger vehicles are only rented to those aged 25 or over.
• Average speed limits: Speed limits in Australia are relatively low and they are strictly enforced. The two default limits are 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas (except for the Northern Territory where the limit is 60kph (37mph). Outside of built-up areas, the default speed limit is 100kph (62mph) except in the Northern Territory and Western Australia where the limit is 110kph (68mph).
However, speed limits often vary from the default limits particularly around schools so its very important to look out for signs.
Driving in Australia
Drive on the left and pass on the right but make sure that you see a broken central line before you overtake. A solid central line closest to the lane you are in should not be crossed under any circumstances.
You must present a valid IDP (International Driving Permit) when you pick up your vehicle as well as your photo licence from your own country. You will need to have held your licence for more than a year to rent a car in Australia.
Tolls and fees
The best way to deal with Australia's many toll roads is to purchase a Toll Day Pass from Hertz. That way you don't have to worry about paying as you go which can involve paying online or carrying cash.
Driving with children
Children under the age of seven must travel in a suitable car seat. For children that weigh up to 9kg a mounted rear facing seat is required. For children that weigh between 8kg and 18kg you'll need a mounted face forward seat and children weighing up to 25kg will need a forward facing seat.