Welcome to our simple English blog about the Huon Valley. We write this blog for backpackers on a working holiday and for other travellers like you.
You’ve got a car
If you are a backpacker on a working holiday and you’re looking for a farm job in country Tasmania, you need a ride to work. We already shared some help for getting around. Most backpackers get a car. (If you don’t have a car, you can read this: how to buy a car in the Huon Valley)
Today I want to help you drive in Tasmania. I’m going to share some tips for driving safely and legally on Tasmanian roads.
Tip #1: Drive on a legal license
Tasmanians believe doing things legally is very important. If you come from overseas, you need to have a legal driver’s license from your country. If you have a legal driver’s license you can use it to drive here in Tasmania while you are on your working holiday visa.
Also, if your license is not in English, you must carry an official translation of your license. Or, you can carry an international driving permit. Here is the government website with all the rules.
But just because it is legal for you to drive, does not make it safe. Tips #2 and #3 will help you be safe on our roads.
Tip #2: Know the rules
Tasmanians are very strict about following our road rules. This government website has some fun videos about our road rules, and it explains our roadsigns in many languages.
If you want to know even more, you can download the Tasmanian Road Rules Handbook. It is only in English, but it has lots of pictures, and you can take an online test for practise.
Tip #3: Get ready for country roads
When you drive in Tasmania, get ready for country roads. This means lots of:
- Unpaved, unsealed roads, made of gravel or dirt
- Narrow, winding roads
- Roads full of animals, often in the early morning and in the evening
- Sharing the road with people walking, people with pets, people on bikes, people riding horses, people with other animals
- Sharing the road with trucks and farm vehicles
This may be very different from your roads at home! Most farms in the Huon Valley have narrow, dirt roads.
But don’t worry, just be prepared. I drive these every day and always remember these two things:
- Drive slowly — It is very simple: drive more slowly than you do on paved, sealed roads. It is ok to drive a bit slower than the speed limit. If you have to stop quickly on a gravel, dirt road, you may slide. Driving slowly will stop you from sliding. Driving slowly gives you more time to change your driving, if there are people walking their pets or riding horses on the road.
- Roads can be very narrow — some country roads won’t have enough room for two cars to pass. You may move to the side of the road to let another car pass you! And, slow down on corners. Also, watch out for “GIVE WAY” signs: they may mean that the road is too narrow for two cars to pass each other. In Lucaston, where I live, there are several “single carriageway” (= one car at a time) bridges, where one car must first stop to let the other pass.
Do I have to drive?
You may be asking, “Do I have to drive in the Huon Valley?!”
No, you don’t. If you are worried, a few hostels have a shuttle for guests. Our hostel, Pilgrim Hill has a free shuttle to farms near us. So if you stay here and work at a farm within 15 minutes of us, you will not have to drive to work at all! But you may decide that driving is a good way to explore our beautiful island.
Till next time, keep safe!