News and Reviews

The pathway to freedom: understanding how to get your licence in Australia

January, 2013

In Australia, almost everyone owns a car and for good reason – with so many awesome places to go and so many pieces of bushland that are inaccessible via public transport, a car is your ticket to freedom.

However, the Australian license system can be slightly confusing. First off, it varies from state-to-state; then within states, you have to go through a number of different stages before you can be a fully qualified driver.

Confused? Don’t be. Here’s a step-by-step guide to obtaining your license, including some tips and tricks to help you along the way.

Just starting off: your L plates

Learner Driver Log BookNo matter which state you live in, you’ll have to start off at the very beginning with your L plates. In order to get your learner licence, you need to fulfil a few certain criteria first:

  • You must be 16 or older, regardless of which state you are in
  • You must be able to pass an eyesight test
  • You must fill out the application forms for your licence
  • You must have some proof of identity and address (this includes an Age Card, passport, or bank statement/phone bill with your address0
  • You must be able to pay the fee for the test and licence

In order to get your learner licence, you must pass a test about the road rules in that state or territory. Each transport authority website will have practice tests and a driver’s handbook that you can download. It’s important to familiarise yourself with the handbook (read over it two or three times) and then take the practice test at least 3 times before going in for your test.

Image credit: NSW RTA


Provisions, provisions…getting your red P’s

After you have your learner licence and your L plates, you’re probably keen to get behind the wheel and learn how to drive. Of course, there are restrictions you must follow (you must be supervised at all times, for example) and these can be found on the road authority’s website.

Most states and territories will give you a bonus for driving lessons with a professional instructor – in NSW, for example, an hour with a paid driving instructor counts for three hours – and there will be a minimum amount of logged hours you must complete before going for your red P plates.

Getting your 'P's"

Image credit: Keys to Drive

It’s a good idea to look into buying used cars like Mitsubishi cars or Hyundai cars – this way, you don’t spend too much money but you still have a reliable vehicle to practice in.



The green light to green P’s

Once you’ve been on your red P’s for a certain length of time – this varies from state to state – you can go for a test to receive your green P plates. You’ll have more freedom to drive around after you’ve gotten your green P’s, although you’ll still be capped in terms of speed.

From here, it’s just a waiting game until…

The final stage: your full license!

Again, after you’ve had your green P plates for a certain length of time, you will be able to take a test for your full licence. Once you’ve obtained this, it’s all systems go – you can drive around as you please (within the road rules, of course)!

Getting your Driver License

Image credit: Neurocritic

For more information on obtaining your license…

…it’s important to visit the transport authority website in your state or territory. If you’ve recently arrived from overseas, these websites will have information about transferring your licence and so forth. They also have handy tips and guides, and on some you can book online for your tests as well.

What do you think about the licencing system in Australia? Is it easy or difficult to get your licence?

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