Avoiding Fines While Driving Through New Zealand and Australia


When we drove through NZ and AU we found it incredibly odd how slow people were driving. I’ve never been on a highway where almost everyone is driving UNDER the speed limit by 10K/hour on wide open roads. Where we’re from, the speed limit is realistically +/- 5Mph the posted number.

There is A TON of space between each city in NZ and AU and to make good time we made a habit of passing the unusual number of “slow pokes.”

About a month or so later I get a ~$30 charge from each car rental company. A week after that a letter from AUS highway patrol sent tickets to my parents house. Each ticket was between $100 and $200. I did some research on tickets in those countries and supposedly there is a huge crackdown on speeding; some roads monitored by drones.

No wonder everyone was overly cautious with their speed. You never know who is watching and when a simple pass of another car could cost you $100 bucks a month later. I’m not hating on them, we were going fast. We paid the ticket. Our bad.

For everyone else out there, fair warning: obey the posted speed limits in Australia and New Zealand to a T!

Our driving route through Queensland with a stop in Sydney

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Our drive through the countryside of Australia was not nearly as scenic as our drive through New Zealand, but, for us, logistically it was the best way to see all the towns along the coast line. There is a train, but we are the type of travelers that like to go off and do random things when we tour and not having a car would feel restrictive.

Although the drive between town were long (4-8 hours stretches) and flat, the beach towns of Queensland are spectacular and the weather was perfect.

Our rankings

  • Our favorite beach town was Cairns.
    • We heard from a lot of locals that we should skip it but it was a nice town, not over crowded, and had a lively vibe.
  • Our most surprising good time was in Yeppoon
  • Our favorite small town beach was Mount Column (just north of the Sunshine Coast.)
  • Our favorites activities were the Wildlife preserve in Cooberry and the Great Barrier reef tour from Cairns.
  • Our favorite site was the Whitsunday White Sand Beaches.
    • It gets a lot of hype but it is an aaaaammmazing beachline.  (Funny, on the way up other towns claimed to have similar beaches on the cheap but they were wrong.)


The tides make a big difference in the south pacific

It looks like the high and low tides in both Australia, New Zealand and Fiji all made a huge difference in the coastal water lines. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it in The States. At low tide the water retreats far out into the distance and in New Zealand we would often see the site below with Boats dry docked where the water was only hours ago.


In the Sunshine coast and Fijian beaches you could walk 100 meters out into the ocean at high tide and never get water above the chin. I’m not sure why the water lines stayed so shallow in the parts of the world but it was an interesting scene to witness.