Car rentals & driving in NSW

Exploring Sydney and NSW by car is a fantastic way to see the state’s vast and varied landscapes, and enjoy the many things to do – at your own pace. From coastal road trips to outback adventures, driving in NSW offers the flexibility to discover secluded beaches, scenic national parks, and diverse cities, towns and villages.   

Driving in Australia

Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road. You must have a valid drivers license to drive in Australia and you can drive on a foreign drivers licence for three months, as long as that licence is in English. An International Drivers Permit (IDP) is required if your license is not in English. 

Seat belts are compulsory in Australia and the driver of the vehicle has the responsibility to ensure all passengers are wearing them.  

The blood alcohol limit is 0.05% throughout Australia and is enforced with random breath tests. Using hand-held mobile phones is prohibited and detection cameras and speed cameras are used across Sydney and NSW, as well as the rest of Australia. 

Aerial overlooking a car driving through the countryside near Tamworth

Scenic Drive Tamworth

Toll roads in Sydney

There are tolled roads in and around Sydney, including the Harbour Bridge, Harbour Tunnel, Cross City Tunnel, WestConnex M8 Motorway and Eastern Distributor. These are charged via an e-tag system, which you can obtain from the following websites:,,, You can also buy a pass on these websites, if you’re an infrequent traveller – these can be backdated if you forget to purchase one in advance.   

Rental cars may come with e-tags – ask upon arrival at the rental car desk. If you don’t have an e-tag and you pass through a toll road, ensure you call the number advertised to pay the toll, otherwise, you may incur a fine. 

Friends enjoying a scenic drive over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney

Electric vehicle charging points

Electric vehicle charging points can be found across Sydney and much of regional NSW. Make sure you check their locations before setting out on your journey. You can find a full list on the Electric Vehicle Council website

EV car being charged at Mountain Ridge Wines, Coolangatta

 Mountain Ridge Wines, Coolangatta

Parking in Sydney and regional NSW

Free parking can be found in many regional areas and some parts of Sydney. In Sydney’s city centre and at popular beaches, parking can be limited and expensive. If you park on the street, ensure you park in the direction of traffic and pay attention to signage regarding parking time limits, permits and parking meters. Streets are patrolled by parking rangers and you may incur a fine if you park for longer than the area allows.  

You can pre-book city parking with Secure and Wilson, with rates often cheaper when booked in advance. is also a useful resource when looking for places to park. 

Scenic view of Bondi with Just Sydney Tour, Bondi

Just Sydney Tour, Bondi

Car rentals in NSW

Most car rental companies have desks and vehicles at Sydney Airport, and offices near the city centre, as well as at regional airports across the state. Some car rental companies allow you to return your car to a different office for an additional fee. 

Car rental companies in NSW include: 

Avis Car Rental 

Budget Car Rentals 



Hertz Car Rental 


No Birds 

There are also a number of care share options available, including: 

Uber Carshare 



Friends going to wine tasting at Scarborough Wine Co., Pokolbin

 Scarborough Wine Co., Pokolbin

Road trips and scenic drives

In NSW, there are numerous designated tourist drives and road trips. Explore recommended routes and itineraries, with tips on what to do and see along the way. 

Campervan driving up to Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay

Campervan driving up to Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay

Live Traffic NSW app 

For up-to-the-minute news of traffic incidents and road conditions that may affect your journey in Sydney and regional NSW: 

Download the Live Traffic NSW App from the App Store 

Download the Live Traffic NSW App from Google Play