The majority of roads in Australia are well-maintained and of excellent quality, and driving can be a great way to see some of the country’s natural beauty. However, in some areas of the Outback driving can become difficult as roads may revert to gravel tracks, so 4x4 vehicles are recommended if you want to explore these places. Distances are usually given in kilometres, and in Australia you drive on the left-hand side of the road.
If you hold a driving licence issued in another country, you are usually allowed to drive on it for three months as a visitor, although you may be required to provide an International Driving Permit or English translation of your documentation first. However, as the law varies from state to state, you should contact the relevant Road and Traffic Authority before driving in Australia, particularly if you are planning a road trip or driving tour across several states.
Taxis can be found in virtually every town and city across Australia. Legitimate licensed taxis are clearly marked and the driver’s photo ID should be displayed in the cab. Although useful for short hops, taxis are usually metered so for longer journeys it is often cheaper to travel by coach or train. For a rough guide to prices, visit the Taxi Fare Calculator website.
Coach services such as those provided by Greyhound Australia remain a popular and fairly cheap means of intercity travel. Particularly popular with backpackers and other tourists, they are quite a sociable way of getting around.
An extensive railway network connects virtually all the major and minor towns across Australia. Although the trains are generally considered modern, punctual and comfortable to travel on, many people are surprised to find that the network is not yet high speed – leading to lengthy journey times for such a vast continent. However, the railways remain a popular and often scenic way to travel. To book tickets for a journey, contact the local service operator.
Australia is home to two of the world’s most famous train routes. The Indian Pacific line from Sydney to Perth, and the Ghan railway from Adelaide to Darwin cut through the heart of the continent, and are considered tourist destinations in their own right.
The sheer size of Australia makes flying the standard method of travel between state capitals. Although costs are not as low as a few years ago, healthy competition between domestic carriers means there are bargains to be found. To find the best deal, try a comparison website such as Flight Centre, but remember to check the price direct with the operator too before you book. International flights to destinations around the world are also available from most of the state capitals.
Other ways to get around
Most towns and cities in Australia have an efficient public transport infrastructure. Depending on the location, these may include buses, ferries, monorails, light railways and trams. If you are planning to visit Tasmania, the Spirit of Tasmania passenger ferries run nightly between Melbourne and Devonport and offer an alternative to flying.