Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road and use the metric system, so cars are right-hand drive vehicles. Automatic transmission is easiest for those new to the road, although manual gearshifts are also widely available.

You must have a valid driver’s licence to drive in Australia and carry it with you every time you’re driving. International students will be allowed to drive in Australia using their licence from their home country, as long as it is current and valid. If your licence is not written in English, you must also carry a certified translation in English. Or you can apply for an International Driving Permit from your home country.

If you don’t have an overseas licence and want to apply for a licence in Australia, you will
need to apply through the NSW motor registry (Roads & Maritime Services) or the QLD
Department of Transport and Main Roads.If you gain Permanent Residency in Australia, you will need to apply for an Australian licence within three months if you intend to drive.


Road Rules

Get familiar with the road rules and always check which rules apply in your state. Pay attention to the speed limits, note the ban on hand-held mobile phones while driving, and the seatbelt laws. Occupants must wear a seatbelt, both front and in the back. Children under 7 must be restrained in an approved harness, right for their age.

In all parts of Australia, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content that is over 0.05 or while under the influence of illicit drugs. In Australia, police are very vigilant and do not give any waivers for those innocently transgressing a law.

Owning a car can be expensive, with the cost of annual registration ($700-$800), third party insurance, and maintenance costs. If you’re living close to the transport lines in Sydney, you might not require this extra luxury right now. (See our Cost of Living table).