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Driving in Melbourne

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Melbourne.
|-Driving in Melbourne

1. Understanding the Road Rules

Driving in Melbourne, is generally safe and straightforward, but it’s essential to understand the local road rules. Australians drive on the left side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. Speed limits are strictly enforced, and there are many speed cameras around the city. Also, Melbourne has a unique road feature called ‘hook turns’ in the city center, which can be confusing for newcomers. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these before you start driving.

2. Choosing the Right Car

There’s no specific type of car recommended for Melbourne. It depends on your personal needs and preferences. If you’re planning to stay mainly in the city, a small to medium-sized car would be sufficient. However, if you’re planning to explore the countryside or go on road trips, a larger car or SUV might be more suitable.

3. Parking in Melbourne

Finding parking in Melbourne can be challenging, especially in the city center during peak hours. Most parking spaces in the city are metered, and the cost can add up quickly. However, there are several parking buildings and lots where you can park for a flat rate. It’s also worth noting that many residential areas require a permit for street parking.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Melbourne with an international license, but there are some conditions. If your license is not in English, you’ll need to carry an official English translation or an International Driving Permit. If you’re on a temporary visa, you can use your overseas license for as long as it’s valid. However, if you’re on a permanent visa, you can use your overseas license for six months from the date you first entered Australia or from the date you were granted the visa if you were already in Australia.

5. Getting a Local Driver’s License

If you’re planning to stay in Melbourne long-term, it’s a good idea to get a local driver’s license. The process varies depending on your country of origin. Generally, you’ll need to pass a knowledge test, a hazard perception test, and a driving test. You’ll also need to provide proof of identity and residency. It’s best to check the specific requirements with VicRoads, the local road authority.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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