I rented a car for a day and made my way to Freycinet National Park, which made for a nice day trip.
The rental heap I was given for the 2.5-hour one-way drive was a Hyundai Accent. I failed to take pictures of the outside of the rental because it was nothing special other than having the steering wheel on the opposite side.
At the park, there are several trails to hike. I ended up going to Wine Glass point and the beach, which took about three hours. There was a bit of overcast, hence the view was okay, but far from the greatest
There were also some other spots in the park, specifically Tourville Point and Honeymoon Bay.
The drive went without incident despite being unfamiliar with driving from the opposite side.
Some tips that I found useful for driving on the opposite side:
- Follow the leader! It’s easier to follow someone who’s familiar with driving on the opposite side. If you can, follow someone to where you need to go. In my case, once I left the city center, I was one of the few cars on the road.
- Me in the middle. When you’re on the road by yourself with no cars in either direction, you might have the reoccurrence that you’re on the wrong side of the road from what you’re used to and the make the adjustment to correct yourself only to realize you’ve made a mistake. To prevent this from occurring, remind yourself that you, the driver should be in the middle of the road, hence think: “me in the middle.”
- Take it slow. There’s no need to rush or maintain the allowable speed limit. Start off slow and work your way up to the speed limit until you’re comfortable with driving on the opposite side.
DIFFERENT TRAFFIC LAWS
In the States, making a right hand turn is commonly allowed at a red light after coming to complete stop unless a sign is posted stating otherwise. In Australia, however, making any turn at a red light is prohibited. I was glad my friend told me this while I was riding around in Melbourne with him on my first day in Australia.
My friend has experience with driving in the States and was aware of what I was talking about, he reassured me that was not allowed in Australia.
Driving on the opposite side was easier than I thought. My only prior experience was several months ago when I bought our car for the Mongol Rally. That drive consisted of the English country roads with a handful of left and right turns. There was very little city driving where I had to negotiate traffic lights and other vehicles.
Gas is expensive in Australia when compared to the cost in the States. I paid about $1.60 AUD per liter, which equates to just under $7 USD per gallon. Yikes!