Bus, train, tram and ferries
Public transport can be a great way to get around in Australia. There are lots of measures in place to help keep you safe. These include security officers, guards, help points, good lighting and security cameras.
Follow the below tips to stay safe on buses, trains, ferries and trams.
- If travelling at night, plan to travel with someone you know.
- If travelling alone at night by train or tram, choose the carriage closest to the driver or guard.
- Always stay attentive so you are aware of what’s happening around you.
- Keep your belongings with you.
- Inform the driver if you’re feeling threatened by others.
- Tell a friend your travel route and let them know when you have arrived.
- At night, wait for transport in a well-lit area with CCTV (security) cameras.
- Check transport timetables to avoid long waits, particularly at night.
Taxi or rideshare services
Taxis are often the first choice of transport when you arrive in Australia. Rideshare services, such as Uber, are also available. Taxis and rideshare are generally safe in Australia.
Follow the below tips to stay safe in taxis or rideshare services:
- Share your location and destination with a friend.
- Use an app to order a taxi or rideshare so you can verify the driver and licence plate number; and make sure the driver is taking you where you want to go.
- Use a taxi rank, where possible.
- Make sure the taxi is registered (unregistered taxis are illegal in Australia).
- Sit in the back seat (it is normal in Australia for passengers to sit in the front of the taxi but you do not have to do this).
- Always wear a seat belt.
- For rideshare trips, make sure the vehicle and driver identity matches what’s displayed in your app.
There are different rules across the states in Australia for travelling in a taxi with children using a car seat. For more information see Raising Children Network Car Safety.
Driving and riding on Australia’s roads
Driving or riding may be an option to help you get to and from where you live, study or work. Road trips are also a great way to explore Australia. Be sure to check you have the right driving licence before you drive a car.
Road safety is important to remain safe when driving in Australia. You will share the roads with different types of vehicles, pedestrians and even animal wildlife.
Be sure to check you have the right driving licence before you drive a car.
- If you have a full Australian driver's licence, you are allowed to drive in Australia.
- If you have a valid overseas licence, you may be allowed to drive in Australia.
- The rules vary for driving with a foreign licence, depending on which state and territory you live in.
Most importantly, Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road. When driving on Australia’s roads always remember to:
- Wear your seatbelt. Fines apply for both the driver or passenger not wearing a seatbelt.
- Give-way to the right at roundabouts and intersections.
- Don't use your mobile phone while driving. Mobile phone use while driving is illegal. Harsh fines and penalties apply. This includes when stopped at traffic lights or stopped in traffic. You can use Google Maps on your phone, but you must not touch your phone while driving. Pull over out of the traffic to check or use your phone.
- Don't drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police conduct random breath and drug tests in Australia. The blood alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05. For those on a learner permit (L plates) or on a probationary licence (P1 or P2 plates), the blood alcohol limit is 0.00. Avoid drinking alcohol if you plan to drive.
- Always look out for cyclists and pedestrians before you open your door or get out of your car.
- Be sure you drive to the speed limit at all times. Speed limits vary from 40 km/hr near schools and up to 100 km/hr to 120 km/hr on freeways. Driving over the speed limit can lead to expensive fines.
- Drive to suit the weather conditions. For example, you should drive more slowly in the rain than the speed limit allows.
- Check parking signs carefully, especially when in cities or towns. You can park for one hour if the sign is 1P, two hours if the sign is 2P or three hours if it is 3P. Avoid parking for longer than the sign allows, as you could receive a fine. Read the sign to see if you need to buy a ticket.
- The use of a car horn is for emergencies. Use your manners when let into a gap in the traffic. Australians often give a small wave to say thank you.
Bicycle, motorbike, scooter, e-scooter or e-bike
Riding a bicycle, motorbike or scooter can be a good way to get around, especially in towns and cities. E-scooter and e-bike shared hire services are available in some towns and cities. The laws are new, so it is best to look up the latest local rules and regulations.
Whether you’re riding a bicycle, motorbike, scooter, e-scooter, or e-bike always:
- Wear a helmet.
- Use bicycle lanes.
- Follow the road rules and respect other road users.
- Use your lights when it’s dark or the weather is bad.
- Have a front light, a rear light, and reflectors on your wheels and pedals.
- Wear a reflective vest or bright clothes to make you more visible to other drivers.
- Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs before riding. The limit is 0.05 so it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol - the exact same rules apply as to when driving a car.
- Indicate clearly when turning left or right.
- If using a shared scheme, make sure the providers have insurance before you ride.