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Travelling by campervan is an exciting and affordable way to explore more of Australia. With a campervan you are on your own itinerary, you can stop when you see something that interests you and get more out of your experience. Your campervan allows you to have the comforts of home with you all the way. Convert your living space into your accommodation to save yourself money and take the opportunity to be more spontaneous on where your journey will lead you each night. Campervans vary in size and allow you to choose whether to travel with just your partner, best friend or the entire group, family.
Visitors to Australia are always surprised at the size of Australia and the time and distance it takes to travel between places. We have included a distance guide to help you calculate your journey. These distances have been measured in kilometres, over highways and major roads not necessarily by the shortest route.
Drink Driving Rules
Strict drink-driving laws apply and random breath testing, for the checking of blood alcohol levels, is conducted in all Australian States. All insurance is invalid if drivers exceed the legal alcohol limit (currently 0.5mg per litre of blood). Having a blood alcohol limit of 0 is the safest.
An international visitor may drive in Australia on a valid overseas driver's licence for the same class of vehicle. Make sure you carry your licence when driving. If your licence is not in English, you must carry a translation. An international driver's permit is not sufficient by itself and must be accompanied by a valid driver's permit.
4WD Driving in Australia
Many of the vehicle companies reserve the right at their discretion to restrict vehicle movements in certain areas, cross borders or due to adverse road and weather conditions. With Four Wheel Drive Vehicles and Campervans there are few restrictions on where the vehicles may go, renters must stay on recognised tracks and gazetted roads. If you're not sure if the area you are travelling to is restricted talk with the Vehicle Rental company first.
Petrol (Gasoline) in Australia comes in unleaded and leaded grades, and is sold by the litre. Petrol and diesel fuel costs between AUD $1.40 and AUD $2.00 per litre and can be higher especially in country and remote outback areas (estimated July 2008). Petrol stations however are plentiful, but again, close early in the country and remote areas, so maintaining a full fuel tank is essential in country areas. Most, if not all, service stations accept Mastercard and Visa credit cards, but often do not accept other cards, again especially in the country areas.
We drive on the left side of the road in Australia and all drivers must keep left of the centre of the road unless overtaking or turning right. See Overtaking.
Between sunset and sunrise you must drive with your headlights and rear lights on. During days with conditions of poor visibility, i.e. fog, you must also drive with your lights on. In suburban areas you must use low beam. when using high beam on the open road, dip your headlights when an approaching vehicle is within 200m or as soon as the other vehicle's lights are dipped.
On the freeway or motorways drivers should stay in the left lane unless overtaking (right lane is for overtaking vehicles.) Tramcars, which operate in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, must be overtaken on the left, however. There are other special requirements relating to the overtaking of trams, and motorists should familiarise themselves with these. Crossing the centre line of the road on a blind crest or a curve is strictly prohibited.
Parking of vehicles and disabled parking is controlled by the various State, Territory and Local Government authorities. In major cities, parking areas will often have pole signage advising of parking restrictions. During business hours some public parking areas are limited to a 1 or 2 hour parking zone. Please ensure you observe parking restrictions. Some cities also use parking meters, so be sure to check for and feed the meter if there is one. Regulations vary and motorists are advised to make themselves familiar with the requirements of a particular locality.
In the event of an accident, the driver must stop and render assistance. Name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle should be supplied to other parties involved. Reporting procedures vary, but if there is any personal injury, possibility of injury or significant damage arising from the accident, it must be reported immediately to the Police. It is wise to check with the local Police at the time of an accident in relation to reporting procedures and report any accident to your insurer.
At airports, rental car plazas or other transportation terminals, do not leave luggage unattended. If there is more than one person in your party, assign someone to stay with the bags. Only the renter and any additional drivers are required to sign the documentation to rent the campervan.
Seat Belts and Child Restraints
It is compulsory for drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts at all times whilst in a moving vehicle. This legislations applies across all States and Territories of Australia. Children must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint or adult seat belt if fitted to the vehicle. Child Seats can be hired from both Europcar and Budget, ask at the time of booking.
The maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 60 km/h (35 mph), or 50 km/h in residential areas 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. Renters who deliberately speed may have their drivers licence confiscated immediately wherever they are stopped. Fines are often high and they must be paid. If you leave the country before paying a fine, notification will be sent to your country of residence. Therefore it is important to observe all posted speed limits.
Police in all States of Australia use radar and concealed remote speed cameras to check speeding motorists. Do not speed! The use of speed cameras in Australia is amongst the most sophisticated in the world, and you will be caught without knowing it and receive a large fine on returning home!
Drivers should slow down in traffic and when facing adverse weather conditions such as fog and heavy rain. Near schools, pedestrian crossings, rail crossings and intersections, or passing stationary tramcars or safety zones, particular care is always required. Special speed limits are prescribed in some States and Territories for some of these situations, such as near schools.
Vehicles towing caravans or trailers may face further restrictions on speed limits and motorists should check with the State or Territory road authority where necessary.
If you are fined, the fine for your offence will be sent to the vehicle rental company, who reserves the right to charge the renter for any traffic infringement notices, parking fines or unreported vehicle or third party damage.
Travelling in the Outback
If travelling through outback regions, ensure you have good maps. Detailed maps and motoring guides are available from motoring organisations. Stay on recognised routes and check facilities and road conditions before you depart. It's also a good idea to advise someone of your route, destination and expected arrival time. Make sure you carry adequate water supplies (five litres per person per day), fuel and food. If you do breakdown, stay with your vehicle until help arrives.
Kangaroos, cattle and other animals are major traffic hazards. When travelling outside major cities beware of animal activity, particularly at dawn and dusk, and slow down. Animals walk onto roads without warning and tend to sleep on the road's warm surface. Please be aware of this.
Your Rental Campervan
It is suggested that at the time of collecting your campervan vehicle from a rental company that you take the time to familiarize yourself with the vehicle's safety equipment including the hazard lights, windshield wipers, spare tyre, headlights, seatbelts and door locks. Check that the seating position is comfortable and that mirrors are positioned correctly. If you're not sure where everything is talk with the Customer Service Offices at the car hire depot before departing. Always ask for directions before leaving the rental counter, especially if leaving a busy airport or city centre.