DRIVING TIPS IN THE OUTBACK

DRIVING IN THE OUTBACK

Touring Australia by campa offers a unique freedom and more and more people choose to traverse this beautiful land on their own four wheels. For New South Wales and the Queensland coast, no special considerations need to be taken into account when renting a car. Just make sure the seats are nice and soft, as you’ll be in the campa for long periods.

It is generally a hassle-free experience to rent a campa in Australia. As long as you are staying for less than 6 months, you can drive anywhere with your driving licence from home providing you comply with all local laws and that your drivers licence is printed in English. If your licence is not in English then an International Drivers Permit and / or an official English tranlation will be required.

The road rules are fairly straightforward and common sense should prevail. Everyone in the campa must be strapped in with a seat belt, while 0.5mg/ml is the legal alcohol limit. The police conduct random stops in all states. Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Expect to part with anywhere from A$1.30 to A$1.60 per litre at the pump. You may notice prices are higher in the outback compared to those on a highway near Major cities.

In developed areas, Australia’s motorways are excellent. They are all paved, wide and uncongested outside of the big cities. They are also simple to navigate with all signs being well-marked.

The motorways are classified as ‘A’ routes. Their speed limits are between 100 and 110kph (60 and 68mph). ‘B’ routes are smaller highways, usually having two lanes, but are equally well-maintained. When you get into suburban areas or city driving, this will be considered a ‘C’ route and your speed should not exceed 50 to 60kph. 30 to 35mph

If you’re heading to the outback, regular highway rules apply, except on the Northern Territory’s remote roads. These roads are long, narrow and straight. For the most part, these routes are hassle-free, but be prepared for a few potholes, the odd kangaroo and adverse weather conditions. A dust storm will reduce your speed to a crawl.

Service stations are spread roughly between 100 and 300kms (60 and 200 miles) along motorways, many of them open 24 hours, making it easy to travel continually. A few hours is all you should undertake in one driving session before stopping to rest. The best way to travel is to plan ahead to stop somewhere overnight. Having more than one driver will also help the long journeys to pass more easily.

In the outback, it’s not so cut and dry. The operating hours of service station are erratic, and you may not find it as easy to use your overseas credit card. As with everything in the outback, it’s always better to plan ahead as there are many more chances to be stranded in this massive desert. One precaution could be to join an auto club. In case of emergency, dial: 1300 369 349 for roadside assistance.