A motorhome adventure is by far one of the best ways to experience Australia—not only are you able to escape the big cities and explore to your heart’s content, but with your accommodation and everything you need in tow, it’s also a smart and convenient way to travel.
However, if you’ve never done it before, you’re probably wondering “what licence do I need to drive a motorhome in Australia?”
In this guide, we’ll fill you in on the licensing requirements to drive a motorhome in Australia so you can book your getaway with complete confidence that you won’t encounter any issues.
If you’re an Australian driver, you don’t need a special licence to drive our motorhomes. All our motorhomes can be driven on a standard car licence, provided it is current and valid.
You do however need to hold a full licence and have no less than 12 months driving experience—unfortunately provisional or probationary licence holders and learner drivers are not allowed to drive our vehicles.
If you’re an international traveller planning a motorhome adventure ‘down under’, you can use your overseas licence to hire and drive a motorhome in Australia provided it is an unrestricted licence which has not been cancelled or revoked.
While the requirements can vary slightly between the different states and territories in Australia, generally, if your licence is in a language other than English you’ll also need to carry an official English translation of your licence or an international driving permit.
Here is a summary of the overseas licence requirements in each state and territory in Australia (correct as at April 2021):
|State/Territory||Overseas driver’s license requirements|
|Australian Capital Territory (ACT)||You must carry your foreign drivers licence written in English, or an international driving permit with your foreign driver licence, or your foreign driver licence in a language other than English with an official English translation.|
|New South Wales (NSW)||You must carry your overseas driver’s license.|
If your overseas drivers licence is not written in English, you will also need to carry an English translation or an international driving permit.
|Northern Territory (NT)||You will need to carry an international driving permit if your overseas licence is in a language other than English or if it’s not easy to recognise the type of vehicle you are authorised to drive in the issuing country.|
|Queensland (QLD)||You should carry an official English translation of your driver’s licence if it’s in a language other than English.|
|South Australia (SA)||A current overseas licence that is written in English, or a current licence with an English translation, or an international drivers licence.|
|Tasmania (TAS)||If your licence is not in English, you’ll need to carry an official translation or international drivers permit.|
|Victoria (VIC)||If your licence is not in English, you’ll need to carry an official translation or international drivers permit (issued in the same country as your licence) with your overseas licence.|
|Western Australia (WA)||If your licence is not in English, you’ll need to carry an official English translation with your overseas licence.|
While these requirements were correct at the time of writing, it’s worth checking the relevant state or territory website for any changes to overseas driver’s licence requirements before travelling (see below).
What is an International Driving Permit?
An international driving permit is a copy of your overseas licence including translations in various languages which allows you to drive a vehicle while overseas without having to undergo any testing or examinations.
While generally not required to hire or drive a motorhome or other vehicle in Australia (provided you carry an English translation of your driving licence if not in English), if you do decide to use an international driving permit, it should be issued by the motoring association or embassy of the country that issued your driver’s licence.
What is an official translation?
In Australia, the translation of your overseas licence needs to be completed by a translator that is approved by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).
You can find a list of approved translators on the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) website here: https://www.naati.com.au/.
Some common laws and traffic signs on Australian road
Before heading out on the road, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with some basic road rules and traffic signs. Again, the road rules and traffic signage can vary slightly between states and territories, but here’s a basic overview of some of the main rules and signage used on Australian roads.
Basic Australian road rules
- You should always drive on the left side of the road.
- You should always wear a seat belt.
- Children aged seven years and under must be secured in an approved child restraint.
- You must always drive according to the speed limit.
- Should always abide by any traffic signs, lights and road markings.
- Your vehicle should come to a complete stop at stop signs.
- At unsigned cross intersections, you should give way to the right.
- It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol rating greater than 0.05 grams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood. Australian police officers also conduct regular random alcohol breath testing.
Individual road rules can vary between states and territories in Australia. You can check the specific road rules for the state or territory you will be driving in on the Australia.gov.au website.
Common Australian traffic signs
To make things a little easier while touring Australia by motorhome, here are some other useful tips and resources to help you on your way.
Helpful tips and resources
Tips for touring Australia by motorhome
Request a GPS – Australia is a big country, so it’s a good idea to request a GPS with your motorhome hire to make it easy to get around. At Let’s Go Motorhome, GPS hire is complementary with your motorhome booking—just let us know when you make your booking.
Preload maps on your phone – Your phone may not always have a reliable internet connection in regional and remote locations around Australia, so if you’ll be using a map app on your phone (like Google Maps) as a navigation tool, make sure you preload the route before you head out on the road. The Let’s Go Motorhomes App allows you to use maps even when you’re offline, so make sure you download it before you start your adventure.
Pre-book any child restraints – If you’re travelling with littlies, make sure you check the vehicle details before booking as some vehicles won’t be able to accommodate child restraints. Also remember to request any baby or booster seats when you make your booking to ensure availability.
Book a spot at a few caravan parks – Your motorhome will need to be plugged into a powered site every few days to allow the battery to recharge, so it’s a good idea to book spots at a few caravan or holiday parks along the way to ensure availability (particularly during peak season).
If you’d like to find out more about the overseas licence requirements or local road rules in the states or territories you will be travelling through while in Australia, here are some useful links to the relevant government roads and traffic authority websites.
|State/Territory||Overseas licence information||Local road rule information|
|Australian Capital Territory (ACT)||ACT driver license information||ACT Road Rules Handbook|
|New South Wales (NSW)||Driving with an overseas or interstate licence in NSW||Safety and rules on NSW roads|
|Northern Territory (NT)||Driver licence rules for new NT residents and visiting drivers||Road rules in NT|
|Queensland (QLD)||Driving in Queensland on an interstate or overseas licence||Road rules|
|South Australia (SA)||Driving with an overseas licence||Australian road rules|
|Tasmania (TAS)||Driving in Tasmania on an interstate or overseas licence||Tasmanian Road Rules|
|Victoria (VIC)||Overseas driver licenses and permits||VIC Road Rules|
|Western Australia (WA)||Visiting from overseas||Drive Safe Handbook|
More information about hiring or driving a motorhome in Australia
If you want to know more about motorhome touring in Australia, you’ll find plenty of useful tips, information and resources on our website.
Here are some links that might be of interest to you:
Alternatively, you can always contact our friendly team and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.