Motoring in Australia is not that to dissimilar to the UK. For a start they drive on the left and they have the usual things such as car tax, MOT and points for your license when you have been naughty. However, there are many differences that will throw you initally and even worse is the fact that as Australia is a federal county, the laws governing the use of cars differs between states!
Firstly, car registration, or Rego as the Australians call it, is like the UK a government tax which allows you to drive on the roads. When you get your Rego you have to also get your third-party insurance (called CTP), meaning that you are now covered to drive without any other insurance. Usually, if the car dealership will sort all of this out for you. But this does not cover you for any injury caused by you on another person and of course your car will not be fixed or replaced. Further insurance is therefore a necessity unless you want to live on the edge and it is much cheaper than in the UK. There are numerous insurance companies in Australia that offer both CTP and fuly comprehensive insurance such as AAMI, Allianz, RACQ, and NRMA Car Insurance
If you are in Australia temporarily as an overseas visitor, you are allowed to drive with a UK license for the duration of your stay. But if you have emigrated, you are allowed to drive in Australia on your UK license for the first 3 months, after which you will need to get an Australian driving license. Another thing different to the UK is that you are required to carry your driving license with you at all times
Our page Australian Driving License has some further details on getting your license changed over
Road Worthiness Certificate
It seems that the only need for this certificate is when buying or selling a car. Whereas in the UK the certificate is used to prove that your car is allowed on the road, in Australia it seems more to do with proof of identity. Even Victoria parliament have discussed the misleading name of the certificate hereand propose an alteration of the name of this certificate in an attempt to focus people on the real reason for having it
There is more information on our Buying a car in Australia webpage.
This is the opposite to the UK when telling you at a junction what is permitted or not. In the UK you are told when you are NOT permitted to do a U-turn, but in Australia you are told when you ARE permitted to do a U-turn. This will catch you out initally as you’ll naturally expect that you can do a U-turn and the cops could catch you. However, the police are reported to be rather relaxed about this and as you are new to the country you will most likely be sent on your way