If you've hired or bought a vehicle, you'll find driving around Victoria simple, with major roads between cities and country towns well signposted and of a high standard.
The most important rule for travellers in Australia is that you drive on the left-hand side of the road. You must also wear a seatbelt and have your licence with you when you're driving or you will be fined. In Victoria, the speed limit on the open road rises to 100 kilometres per hour and, in some sections of freeway, 110 kilometres per hour. For comprehensive information about driving safely in Melbourne and Victoria, visit the VicRoads website Alternatively, you can pick up a copy of the Victorian Road Traffic Handbook from bookshops and VicRoads offices.
Licence to drive
A driver's licence from home will suffice for up to three months in Australia, as long as it has photo identification and it's for the same class of vehicle you intend to drive. If you're staying more than three months, you'll need to get a Victorian licence.
Driving in Melbourne
Melbourne is an easy city to drive in due to its wide thoroughfares and simple grid city plan that is well sign-posted. As well, Melbourne's three major freeways: the West Gate, the Monash and the Tullamarine; are conveniently linked by CityLink, a non-stop expressway.
The hook turn is an unusual road rule specific to Melbourne. To ensure that trams get a clear way through some intersections, drivers turning right must do so from the left-hand lane. It will be clearly marked if this rule applies to an intersection.
To make a hook turn, simply move forward in the left-hand lane and wait on the far left-hand side of the road. When the lights turn orange, and the road is cleared of oncoming traffic, make a wide turn to the right.
Tram lines share the roads with cars so therefore drivers need to take care. Trams stop often and passengers often have to cross in front of a line of cars to get to the pavement. Cars must always stop behind a tram when it is stationary and the doors are open to give way to passengers stepping on or getting off the tram. Failing to do so not only lands you with a hefty fine but you could easily hit someone alighting from the tram.
Even though Melbourne has thousands of parking meters and parking lots, it's still a pain – and an expense – to find space for your vehicle. Coin-operated meters are the norm (there are hefty fines if you let the meter expire); for parking lots, expect to pay around $5 an hour, or $10–20 daily, although some offer discounts to moviegoers and shoppers.