Flag of Australia

Flag of Australia


  • Australia is divided into 6 states: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania; and 2 territories: the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
  • Population: 22.9 million
    • Most people live around the eastern and south-eastern coastlines.
    • A very multicultural country.
  • Major language: English
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 80 years (men), 84 years (women)
  • Currency: Australian dollar (AUD)
  • There are three times zones in Australia.
    • Australian Eastern Standard Time ( AEST ): New South Wales , Australian Capital Territory , Victoria , Tasmania and Queensland
    • Australian Central Standard Time ( ACST ): South Australia and Northern Territory
    • Australian Western Standard Time ( AWST ): Western Australia


  • Area: 7.7 million sq km (2.9 million sq miles)
    • Sixth-largest country in the world. There are massive distances between cities.
  • Maps: OpenStreetMap // Google Maps


  • Canadians require a visa and must also be in possession of an electronic travel authority (ETA) to visit Australia.
  • Australian Tourist Commission, Sydney: +61 (0)2 9360 1111 or Australia.com


  • Temporarily importing an overland vehicle to Australia is highly problematic.
    • Must be absolutely clean.
      • Other overlanders have spent 2 weeks cleaning their vehicle, and driving it straight into a container, only for Australian officials to find a small piece of dirt on the undercarriage which meant outrageous fines and a very expensive cleaning by an officially recognised company.
    • No part of the vehicle or vehicle build may contain wood or wood products.
    • For extended overlanding, it is cheaper and a lot less trouble to fly over, buy, and modify a second hand vehicle, and sell it before leaving.
      • Consider a 2007-2014 Nissan X-Trail SUV, Subaru Forester, Suzuki Grand Vitara – all small, economical, with better 4wd systems.
      • Then ship this vehicle to New Zealand and tour that country.
  • A Carnet de Passage is required for a non-resident to bring a vehicle into Australia (Source)
  • Drives on the left side.
    • Vehicles are generally right hand drive (RHD)
  • There are massive between major cities
    • Always know where you are going to get fuel up next before you set out as distances can be great between fuel stops.
      • 860 km between Sydney and Melbourne on the Hume Highway
      • 964 km between Sydney and Brisbane on the Pacific Highway
      • 2695 km between Adelaide and Perth on the Eyre and Great Eastern Highways.
  • Fuel stations may be closed at night and Sundays.
  • It’s important to consider that mobile phones will not work in many parts of Australia.
  • Roads which are OK in the dry season may become impassable in the wet season – especially in the northern part of the country.
    • The dry season usually runs from April to November.
  • You are legally required to stop and help if you have been in an accident where someone has been hurt or injured.
  • Be on the lookout for animals such as kangaroos. If you do hit a marsupial you are legally required check whether they had any young in their pouches.
  • Seat belts are required for all occupants.
  • It’s unlawful to operate a mobile phone while driving in Australia.
  • Each state has it’s own traffic laws. Victoria, for example. bans U-turns at traffic lights while some other states may not.
  • Parking is expensive in the major cities.
  • There are an increasing number of toll roads in Australia as well as toll bridges and tunnels.
  • Overlanding is a very popular activity across Australia.

Australian Automobile Association
103 Northbourne Avenue
G.P.O. Box 1555
Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

Phone: +61 2 6247 73 11 | Email: | Fax: (61 2) 6257 53 20


  • The norther part of Australia has distinct “wet” and “dry” seasons
    • Wet season is roughly November to April, and many of the accommodations and roads in the Kimberly will be closed or inaccessible.
    • Cairns and Darwin are also affected by the “wet”.
  • The interior (Alice springs, etc) is very hot in December/January – 40+.

Amateur Radio

World Rankings


  • Australia ranks as one of the best countries to live in by comparisons of wealth, education, health and quality of life.

Safety & Security

  • Always tell someone when you are leaving for a long road trip and provide them with your planned itinerary.
    • If your vehicle breaks down in the Outback stay with it and do not attempt to walk out.


  • Emergency Services Numbers: 000 (112 also works)
    • Sat phone – check with your provider
  • The Australian Search and Rescue team, who can find you if you are lost in the Outback, are at 641.
    • There is little cellular service 30 km outside developed areas.
  • Royal Flying Doctors Service

Foreign Embassies in Australia

  • British High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6270 6666
  • Canadian High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6270 4000
  • Embassy of Ireland, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6214 0000
  • New Zealand High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6270 4211.
  • South African High Commission, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6272 7300
  • Embassy of the United States, Canberra: +61 (0)2 6214 5600

Travelling with Pets

  • Australia puts many controls on the temporary importation of animals, including cats and dogs.
    More information, including helpful step-by-step guides, can be found here.
  • Most national parks in Australia do not allow dogs




This page was last updated on 2021.07.15 by Robert Vinet