Self Drive in Australia – Tips and Advices

    Self drive holidays are a satisfying way to travel around Australia and to experience its unique landscape. We really enjoyed our previous self-driving experience in Western Australia as we get to plan our own itinerary, take our own sweet time to explore as many places as we wanted.
    We headed South right after we picked up the car at 7 am from the airport. It was a nice easy drive with amazing views along the journey.
    We traveled along the South West region and our route was Perth City – Mandurah – Bunbury – Busselton – Margaret River – Augusta. We also headed up north to the Pinnacles Desert.
    Tom Tom the GPS brought us through Mandurah, Bunbury and Busselton before arriving at Margaret River, which is famous for its stunning coastline and natural beauty, amazing local produce and of course fabulous wines.
    Without wasting any time, we drove to Leeuwin Estate, one of the iconic wineries of Australia that is famous for their art series wines.
    Located right next to Leeuwin Estate is Voyager Estate, another renowned winery with beautiful gardens.
    We were told that the wealthy owner hires 8 gardeners just to maintain the beautiful landscape.
    KampungBoy, the designated driver drove to Augusta and along the way, we were surrounded by these magnificent Karri trees in Boranup Forest.
    We also stopped by Hamelin Bay with crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches. It is also famous for the abundance of HUGE mantra stingrays which frequent the bay. We saw quite a few of them!
    Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta is situated at the most south westernly tip of Australia.
    We were standing at the point where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. It felt so surreal as we stood there basking in the sea breeze.
    Bed & Breakfast is always a preferred choice over a regular hotel when we travel as we feel that they give us the personal touch and always guarantee a warm and friendly stay.

    We chose to stay in Pinda Lodge which is nestled between Margaret River and the ocean. It took us 10-minutes to drive from the town and less than that to the wineries and the beach. From the verandah we could hear the Margaret River rapids and, on a still day, the sound of ocean waves beyond. It is truly a beautiful place!

    The hosts, Jan & Rob who live on the premises are wonderful! They recommended us plenty of local attractions, helped us with dinner reservations and prepared a delicious homemade breakfast every morning. With a personal touch from the hosts, this unique guesthouse ensured our comfort in every way.
    While in WA, we also joined the 1 Day Pinnacles, Koalas and Sand Boarding 4WD Adventure tour. Here we are at Caversham Wildlife Park to meet kangaroos, koalas & wombats!
    Nambung National Park – situated approximately 245km north of Perth, is the home to one of Australia’s most unique and captivating landscapes – the Pinnacles Desert. These spectacular limestone rock structures were formed over thousands of years with a combination of water, quartz, limestone and sand. The structures then rise from the shifting yellow sands, standing high and remained strong. Such is the power of nature!
    Lancelin Sand Dunes. It was fun sand boarding down at almost 90 degree angles in the dunes! We tried it for a few times but climbing up was so tiring!
    King’s Park @ Perth is our favourite place to go as it overlooks the Swan River and Darling Range and showcases an outstanding collection of Western Australia flora. The flowers were so beautiful during spring time!

    Located 45 minutes drive from Perth, Fremantle blends the old with the new, creating an enriching cultural experience. Maritime, convict and colonial history can be explored in one of the best preserved examples of a 19th century port streetscape on Earth, while buzzing markets, lively bars and casual street cafés give you a taste of 21st century life with the locals.
    Our most memorable experience – devouring delicious seafood while watching the sun set at Fremantle beach.
    The best part of driving in Australia is that Australians drive on the left hand side of the road, just like us. However the maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 60 km/h (35mph) and 100 km/h (62mph) on country roads and highways, unless signs indicate otherwise. We followed these speed limits strictly as we wanted  responsible travelers.

    There are a lot of car rental companies and motor homes with a wide fleet of cars. Most rental T&C would state that if your license is not in English, you will have to get an International Driving Permit (IDP). For Malaysians, the easiest and cheapest way to do so is to get an official translation from JPJ. You will need to prepare a photocopy of your IC and driving license, both front and back.

    Fill up the translation application form and submit the form together with a RM10 processing fee. The official driving license translation will be ready in half a working day. Please also remember that a valid drivers’ permit must accompany the translated copy when you present it to the car rental staff in Australia.

    Petrol in Australia comes in leaded and unleaded grades and is sold by the litre. Petrol costs between $A1.10-$A1.25 per litre. LPG gas and diesel is also available. Petrol stations are plentiful in many areas and most will accept major international credit cards. We find it really convenient to refuel our vehicle throughout the trip.

    One of the questions we got asked the most was whether to pay for the insurance when renting a car. As a renter of the vehicle, it is your responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is adequately insured for all damages. It is advisable to pay for the insurance when you plan to rent a car, although the insurance amount always cost more than the car rental fee. Or else you will be financially responsible for any damage caused to the vehicle.


    We rented a 2 door Hyundai Getz from Red Spot  for AUD 243 for 3 days. The rate was inclusive of GPS rental, Premium Road Side Coverage and insurance cover with zero damage liabilities. Other reputable car companies include Hertz, Europcar, Budget, Avis and M2000 offer  competitive rates but please do read the T&Cs carefully.

    I hope this clarifies the matter as  some of our readers who plan to self drive in Australia have a lot of queries. What if I lose my way? Rent a GPS (costs about AUD 5 per day) and it is particularly useful as we relied on our Tom Tom a lot. Will I get saman (fine)? No, as long as you park legally and strictly adhere to the speed limit. Is it safe to drive in Australia? Absolutely, most of the roads are in great condition and the locals are more than willing to help up. Self drive is the best way to see the country so do not worry too much.
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    Last but not least, remember to visit to find out more information about Australian holidays and travel. There are sample itineraries; journey planner, event calendar and you can even click on the map to find out more about a certain destination. We also subscribe to Tourism Australia’s YouTube channel here. Their latest video inspires an urge to revisit Australia!


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