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Driving in Newcastle

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

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Newcastle is generally a pleasant experience. The roads are well-maintained and the traffic is not as congested as in larger cities like Sydney or Melbourne. However, Australians drive on the left side of the road, which can be confusing for those from countries where driving is on the right. It’s important to familiarize yourself with this rule to avoid accidents.

2. Car Recommendation

As for the type of car, it really depends on your personal needs and preferences. If you’re planning on exploring the outback or going on road trips, a 4WD might be a good choice. However, for city driving, a smaller, more fuel-efficient car would be more practical. Australia has strict emission standards, so consider a hybrid or electric vehicle if you’re environmentally conscious.

3. Parking in Newcastle

Finding parking in Newcastle is generally not a problem, especially compared to larger cities. There are plenty of parking spaces in the city centre and in residential areas. However, parking can be expensive in the city centre, especially during peak hours. It’s advisable to check the parking rates and restrictions before you park.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Australia with an international license, but only for a limited period. If you’re on a temporary visa, you can use your international license for up to 12 months. If you’re on a permanent visa, you can use your international license for up to 3 months. After these periods, you’ll need to get an Australian driver’s license.

5. Getting an Australian Driver’s License

To get an Australian driver’s license, you’ll need to pass a knowledge test, a driving test, and an eyesight test. The process varies slightly between states, so it’s best to check with the local transport authority in New South Wales for the most accurate information. Note that some countries have reciprocal arrangements with Australia, which means you can simply exchange your foreign license for an Australian one without taking any tests.

6. Be Aware of Speed Limits

Speed limits are strictly enforced in Australia, with heavy fines for violations. The standard speed limit in urban areas is 50 km/h, unless otherwise indicated. On highways, the limit is usually 100 km/h or 110 km/h. Always pay attention to the speed limit signs and adjust your speed accordingly.

7. Watch Out for Wildlife

Australia is known for its unique wildlife, and unfortunately, animal-vehicle collisions are not uncommon. Be especially careful when driving in rural areas at dawn and dusk, when animals are most active. If you see an animal on the road, slow down and try to avoid hitting it, but do not swerve as this can cause a more serious accident.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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