Looking for Sydney travel tips? Here is some information about roads and parking, when to buy your petrol, how to apply for a driving licence.
When you arrive in Australia as a permanent resident you can use your driving licence for a maximum of three months.
After that you must have an Australian driving licence to be able to drive.
For people coming from countries where cars are driven on the right side of the road, the first days are confusing.
Judging by the huge billboards at motorways exits indicating "Wrong way - Go back" to any porential incoming traffic, mistakes can happen.
Also there are many huge road trains running on the main roads, which make driving a small car quite intimidating.
Take your overseas driving licence to an RMS motor registry. If the licence is not in English then attach an official translation. To get your NSW driving licence you will have to pass a knowledge test and a driving test. Also pass an eye test. This is done at the counter in front of the officer handling your application.
There are different types of licences to account for the level of experience or age of the applicant:
The learner and provisional licences come with various restrictions. To get all the information you need about how to apply for a NSW driving licence, check the Roads and Maritime Services website at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/
If you fail the driving test you will have to start again with a learner licence. This means you will be driving only supervised by a person having a full Australian driving licence. And your overseas licence will be cancelled.
Even if you have a lot of experience driving overseas, book some driving lessons with an authorised instructor. They will bring you up to speed with all the requirements of the driving tests and show you how to avoid some of the common mistakes people make when attempting the test.
It can be difficult to find a street parking spot in the City and it can also be expensive. Look for signs that indicate how much time, the hours between which you are allowed to park and if this applies anytime or just to certain days.
If the sign indicates that you need to pay, then insert the money or a credit card in one of the Sydney parking metres near the kerb. Place your ticket on the dashboard of your car so that it is visible.
It is easier and usually free to park in residential suburbs where there is not much business or retail activity. You can also park at shopping centres for free for up to 3 hours.
To get a good understanding of a Sydney road trip, how to apply for a licence, what are the parking rules and much more download the Road users handbook from the RMS website.
Petrol prices vary with a number of factors. One of them is the day of the week when you buy.
Generally you can buy cheaper petrol in Sydney on Thursdays and Fridays. Prices can go down by 10 - 20 cents per litre on those days. But this is not a rule. It used to be on Tuesdays before, so things can change.
The two big supermarkets Woolworth and Coles have their own petrol loyalty programmes.
If you shop with them you can get 4 cents per litre discount for any purchase of $30 or more. So keep your dockets and show them at the checkout of petrol stations which have agreements with these retailers. Or get their loyalty cards and swipe them when you buy petrol to get your discount.
Some motorways charge tolls, others are free.
The tolls can apply only going into one direction, such as for example:
Other tolls are charged in both directions (for example M2, M7, Lane Cove tunnel). These tolls are electronic so get a tag and stick it to your windscreen.
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