We had had our heart set on visiting Sydney for the whole year, and halfway through our time in Thailand, it was time to start planning. We especially wanted to visit Sydney at New Year, so we could watch the famous fireworks over the Sydney Opera House and Bridge.
So, you’re planning on heading ‘Down Under’; or you’re already there and thinking about the best way to get around. Are you planning a trip up the East Coast and dreaming of the open road? If yes, you may consider buying a car in Australia. We did and it was great…mostly.
There are plenty of ways to travel around Australia; if you’ve got the money and want to rack up the air-miles you can fly. If you’re a backpacker, you’re probably thinking of using the Greyhound. Or maybe hiring a camper van/caravan is more your thing; but if you get it right, buying a car in Australia could be the most cost effective way to travel. However there are a number of pitfalls to avoid and things you should know.
buying a car in australia
The initial process of buying a car in Australia is the same as anywhere else. For the purposes of this post I’m going to assume you won’t be buying a new one (I mean, if you’re just travelling why would you?!). So you find a car, you agree a price and you pay for it. Considerations at this point:-
- How many seats do you need?
- Do you need to be able to sleep in it?
- How long will you need the car for? (relevant for REGO – see below)
- Has the car been serviced recently?
- Does it come with a road safety certificate?
- Does it test drive OK?
If you are in Sydney we suggest you check out the Sydney Travellers Car Market. This is where we found our car. It’s a place for travellers to buy and sell their cars so it’s handy at both ends of the journey.
Rego is the car registration, effectively equivalent to car tax in the UK. The difference in Australia is that the remaining, unexpired registration transfers across to the new owner when a vehicle is sold. Renewing the registration can be quite expensive. Therefore it’s worth buying a car with a long time left on the REGO and avoiding those with little or no time left. If it will have some time on it when you’re ready to sell, even better!
When buying a car In Australia, the only mandatory insurance is called CTP – ‘compulsory third party’. This only covers other people involved in an accident. It does not cover the driver or any damage to vehicles etc. It is entirely voluntary whether you decide to opt for further insurance cover.
Different states deal with the CTP differently. It can be included with the REGO transfer (i.e. you pay for both at the same time) or as in NSW you have the option of finding your own CTP to ensure you get the best rate. Note: You will not be able to transfer the REGO without having CTP in place.
post purchase admin
Congratulations, you’ve bought a car in Australia! Now there is some admin to be sorted out. The REGO needs to be transferred into your name within 14 days of the purchase. You need to find a Roads & Maritime Service Centre to do this. These are everywhere, so it shouldn’t be too hard. Make sure you have the following with you:-
- Vehicle details i.e. registration plate number.
- Details of the purchase – date & price
- Evidence of the sale (invoice/sales contract)
- Completed forms – they will provide these.
- Money to pay the transfer fee.
You will also need a ‘MyService’ account for the state you are in (i.e. MyServiceNSW). You can do this at the same time as the transfer. However you will need to provide proof of identity such as a passport and proof of your Australian address.
If you’re staying in a hotel or hostel, even if just for a few days, you can use a invoice from them. However if you’re House-sitting or staying in an Air BnB for example, you can open a bank account with Commonwealth Bank using just your passport (yes a bank will let you have an account with no proof of address, but you can’t register a car!). You can then use the opening account certificate as evidence of your address.
Now you’re all sorted. Go and explore the open road! Check out our other posts for ideas on where to go in your new motor:-
Note: It’s a great idea to get the car serviced after each 10,000km of driving. That might sound like a lot but before you know it, the time comes round at it’s servicing time.
Selling your car
You’ve done all the driving you can take. Or you’d love to carry on, but unfortunately the workplace is calling you back home. So now it’s time to try and sell your car.
As we mentioned above, if you’re finishing up in Sydney, consider taking it to the Sydney Travellers Car Supermarket. Bear in mind there is a cost to this. If you bought it from a dealer they may offer a guaranteed buy-back option although it will likely be at a substantial reduction of the price (ours was just 40%!). Finally, Gumtree is also a great site to place an advert; it may be worth adding it as soon as you’ve bought it with an ‘available from’ date so it has lots of time to be seen. Other options include placing ads in hostels or on other online forums like lonely planet.
what you need
Road Safety Certificate – In the UK cars need to be MOT’d regularly to ensure that there are no dodgy cars on the road. In Australia there is an equivalent however they differ between states. In Queensland for example, prior to offering a vehicle for sale, you have to obtain and display a Safety Certificate (previsouly called a blue slip). It is valid for 2 months or 2,000km. However as there are no periodic safety checks required in QLD, it is likely to be more difficult for a vehicle to pass. Another thing to note is only authorised garages can provide one.
In NSW however, it is more similar to the UK annual car service. When you renew the annual REGO detailed above, any cars over 5 years old need to have safety certificate first. So it will
probably be easier to get one there and if you’re REGO hasn’t run out yet, you don’t need to worry about it!
Notice of Disposal – Once you’ve sold your car, make sure you let the Service centre know. You do this by submitting a Notice of Disposal. This confirms the details of the sale, the new purchaser and acts as Proof of Sale in place of an invoice in a private sale.
Submitting the notice of disposal is very important. If you don’t advise that you have transferred ownership you could be held liable for the new owner’s parking fines or road tolls.
Have you thought about buying a car in Australia? Or have you already done it and successfully sold it? Get in touch below, we’d love to hear from you.
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If you love wine, spirits, cheese or chocolate, the Hunter Valley area has to be on your itinerary for your time in Australia. It’s a popular weekend destination for the young preppy types from Sydney, especially if you are loved up and bring your bae along for the ride. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or a ‘just because’ day, we have got the perfect way for you to spend a romantic day in the Hunter Valley. Continue reading
The final part in our epic Australian Road Trip was to drive from Brisbane to Cairns. This is a massive undertaking where you could end up driving for 2 or 3 hours without turning, stopping or slowing down. That’s unthinkable for someone from the UK, where driving for 3 hours will get you most of the way across the country.
There are some pretty well known spots up this bit of coastline, although the most well known ones are slightly off of it; Fraser Island, The Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef. Continue reading
When we decided we were going to travel up the east coast of Australia there were some things that we just HAD to do. Sailing the Whitsunday Islands was one of those things. As any keen ‘Googler’ will discover there are simply hundreds of different options available.
sailing the whitsunday islands
We like a bargain and often struggle to click the ‘book’ button when looking at doing the most popular activities. This time round we knew exactly what we were looking for. We wanted to go sailing the Whitsunday islands, we wanted to see Whitehaven Beach and we wanted a water based activity ie kayaking or snorkelling. We therefore opted for the ‘1 Day Whitehaven Beach Camira Sailing Adventure – Awesome Whitsundays’.
Cost: AUD$159 per person, total cost $318. We booked our tour through Backpackers World, which resulted in decent a discount.The Tour is operated by Cruise Whitsundays and the full price should be AUD$189 per person.
– A full days sailing on board a bright purple catamaran called Camira
– On board commentary providing information about the islands and wildlife
– All you can drink soft drinks and alcohol (beer and wine)
– Hot drinks and biscuits in the morning
– An amazing all you can eat BBQ for lunch
– Mask, fins and stinger suit for snorkelling
– A couple of hours to relax on Whitehaven Beach (and sports equipment)
– Sun cream
overview of the tour
We arrived at the Port of Airlie cruise terminal at around 7:45am. Just before 8:00 am the tannoy sounded to announce that it was our time to board. So we strolled down the ramp and were welcomed on board by the enthusiastic and friendly crew.
The catamaran Camira looked amazing. It was bright purple and even the customers not coming on our tour were stopping to take photos. Before long the fairly small group of people were all on board and the tour could begin!
Teas, coffees and biscuits were ready almost immediately and naturally we helped ourselves. For the first hour or so we simply enjoyed the wind in our hair, as the boat powered away from the Port towards our first destination. We made a brief stop off at Day Dream Island to pick up a couple more passengers and were swiftly off again.
We carried on sailing round the headland of Whitsunday Island, through the relatively narrow gap between it and Hook Island. Before we knew it, it was time for our first proper activity – Snorkelling! As it was stinger season we donned stinger suits, masks and fins and climbed into the tender. A James Bond style reverse roll out of the smaller boat followed into the water, just off of Dumbell Island. The beautifully clear water meant we got to see loads of awesome fish and coral, there was even a turtle sighting. Sadly not by us!
After about half an hour or so it was time to get back on the boat. We sailed towards the glistening white sands of Whitehaven Beach. We stayed here for a couple of hours; there was time for a stroll along the beach, some swimming, sun bathing and getting those all important photos. The sand is so soft and due its incredibly high silica content, doesn’t absorb the heart of the sun! As we’re basically big kids we spent some of the time building sand castles.
Whilst we had be sunning ourselves on the beach, the crew had been busy cooking lunch. Everyone was excited for the food especially me! The offering for meat-eaters was mouth watering with kangaroo steaks, chicken, mackerel, and huge sausages which I think were Goanna (a big Australia lizard). In addition there were salads and pasta dishes galore all of which were vegetarian friendly. There were also yummy veggie burgers. It was an absolute feast.
Once the food was done, all that remained was to sit back and enjoy the sailing. With an ice cold beer from the Esky in my hand, I was in heaven.
We had an absolute whale of a time! We couldn’t really have asked for a better day out, in spite of the few spots of rain we got caught in. The on-board staff were all super friendly and enthusiastic. To top it all off we won some prizes (See pic) for successfully completing a game involving untying ourselves from a knot.
Our only disappointment was that the trip didn’t go the Hill Inlet lookout point to get the classic postcard photos of the wavy sands. However, we knew that going in and there are other tours that do go there.
Overall I think it was excellent value in context with other tours available and would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of going sailing in the Whitsunday Islands. I would give it a score of 9 out of 10.
Have you experienced sailing the Whitsunday Islands? Did you opt for a single or multi-day trip? What was your favourite part? Get in touch in the comments below.
Surfing was one of the things we were really excited about doing during our time in Australia. Specifically, surfing in Byron Bay; the chilled out backpacker haven on Australia’s Gold Coast is famed for its sandy beaches and surfer dudes. I have been surfing before on many a trip down to Newquay in Cornwall, so I know HOW to surf (at least I thought I did). That’s not to say I necessarily CAN surf, as I’m sure some of my friends would attest.
Backpackers, holiday makers and adventure seekers have been heading down under for years. With some of the most iconic sights in the world on offer, no trip to Australia would be complete without seeing Sydney. Even if you’re just passing through at the beginning of your East coast road trip, you have to spend at least 48 hours in Sydney!
Check out this awesome itinerary for your three days in the Harbour City. Continue reading
Australia is full of world famous cities (think Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Cairns etc). It’s also chocka with lesser known towns that are pretty up there on the awesomeness scale. Today we’ll be looking at the super exciting portion of the east coast of Australia; from Sydney to Brisbane.
This is the second part of a three part adventure, taking you all the way from hipster Melbourne to tropical Cairns. Check out part one and part three below;
It’s time for another instalment of our ‘Quirks of…’ series. This time we’re looking at the weird and wonderful aspects of the land down under – Australia Quirks.
Australia was somewhere I had wanted to visit since I was little. It was a magical places, so far away filled with strange animals and places I’d heard about on travel programs. In actual fact it is a strange mix of England and America with a little something extra (I supposed you’d call it Australian) thrown in. Continue reading
The route we took from Melbourne to Sydney was a whopping 1,200 km! That’s further than the South Coast of England to the North Coast of Scotland. That’s further than the drive from Nashville to Toronto. It is such a long drive, but there is just so many cool things to experience along the way.
Welcome to the first part of a mini-series of one of the greatest and most common road trips to take across Australia. In this first part, I’ll share about the beautiful drive from Melbourne to Sydney via Canberra. The next two parts will magically appear as links here once they are published – sometime in the next week.
We hugged the coast from Melbourne before turning inland to visit Canberra not long after the Victoria/NSW border. From there, the plan was to head back towards the coast and make it to Sydney stopping in Wollongong on the way.
Yarragon is an adorable little town, building itself up around the tourism provided by both the Princes’ Highway (which you’ll be driving on) and the railway that runs right through. The railway station is over 100 years old, which might not seem old to those of us in the UK, but is pretty impressive nontheless. There are shops to stroll around, and the chippie does some amazing tasting chips. They come in huge portions and traditionally wrapped in paper.
Old Gippstown Heritage Park
Just down the road from Yarragon is a museum showcasing a collection of buildings from the 1840s to 1930s, which have been transported here from all over the state for preservation. There’s also information about the history of the fledgling state of Victoria and loads of different activities throughout the year.
Marking almost exactly the halfway point between Melbourne and Sydney, Mallacoota is a sweet little town on the water, that explodes with tourists at Christmas and Easter. Most of what there is to do here is heavily water based, but there are so many, you could do a different activity every day of the week!
Eden was actually named after a British secretary for the Colonies, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was named after the biblical garden. The views of the surrounding ocean are breathtaking. Eden draws thousands of tourists every year for the bi-annual migration of whales. The most famous of Eden’s whales, Old Tom, has had the honour of having his skeleton hung in the Killer Whale Museum (which may or may not be your cup of tea).
Snowy Mountains Highway
This highway winds its way from the coast road all the way up to Canberra. Despite the capital being in an area called the flatlands, there is a stonking great hill in the way! How much you love this scenic drive will depend on your attitude to driving constantly in first gear, being as speedy as a tortoise and occasionally having to stop to put snow chains on your tires.
It’s ultimately a much funner drive than some of the more arduous, straight highways. And with the highest point at almost 300m higher than Uluru, you’re in for some spectacular views.
Canberra is often missed out by travellers who bunny hop from Melbourne to Sydney. It’s perceived as a boring government centre with nothing much else going for it. The truth is not massively far from that. But if you have a spare day or two, it’s a lovely place to go for a walk around the huge man-made lake, visiting all the museums or exploring the markets at the old bus depot.
If you don’t have a crappy car that is in danger of spluttering to a stop and using up three times as much petrol as it should do, I would absolutely recommend going to Wollongong. (It’s only been two months, and I can hold a grudge for years, so don’t think you won’t hear about the blasted car again!)
It’s a perfectly picturesque place, with something to do for anyone no matter what it is that you like doing. Even if you’re not on a road trip, it’s a great place to visit on a day trip or weekend getaway from Sydney.
Congratulations on finally making it to Sydney!! Covering the city in a paragraph would be pretty much impossible. Stay tuned for another nifty link here to check out our top tips for how to cover Sydney in 48 hours. Or visit our favourite veggie joint in the whole of Australia.
You could visit a million places on and not far from this route, and still not have seen everything. There really is an excess of things to do and see; you are completely spoilt by the beauty in this part of the world.
Have you road tripped in Australia? What was your favourite bit? Do you have any tips for how to make a road trip great? Let us know in the comments below!
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