By Jade Johnston
Toll Roads In Australia
When you are road tripping in Australia it is inevitable that you will likely find yourself driving in one of the three major cities; Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. These cities are hard to avoid, and their toll roads are even harder to avoid – especially if you are unsure of where you are going and want to take the most obvious and direct route.
However, very few of the toll roads in Australia take cash payments. Most of the toll roads in Australia use either an e pass or an e tag system, which is an electronic device fitted to your car which detects the toll and automatically deducts the fee from your account. Easy right?
Well it does get a little bit complicated, and how you choose to approach toll roads will depend on your travel situation. There are three options for dealing with toll roads in Australia and they are; pay after the fact, sign up for the electronic pass for each state, or sign up for the e tag which is valid in all states. So which option is right for you?
Pay After The Fact
For many travellers who are only visiting Australia for a short time and only planning to use one or two toll roads, this may be the best option. However, you must remember to pay your toll on time! You will need to call into the state’s tolling agency and pay over the phone or online with your credit card. This is the option we chose during our road trip with Spaceship campervans.
Each state has different time restrictions for when you must pay your toll, and if you miss the cut off date (usually 48 – 72 hours), the bill will be forwarded to your car rental company. And they will likely charge you an admin late toll fee that can be anywhere from 75$ – $150!!! (Believe me, we actually got done for a $75 fine for this very reason!)
Some toll roads in Sydney have payment booths where you can either pay with exact change, or some will even dispense change as well. Most of these are being phased out for the electronic toll stations, but some still do exist in the Sydney area. Make sure to keep some spare change on you if you suspect you may use some of these roads. Tolls can range from $3 – $5 depending on the size of your vehicle and which toll road you are using.
The electronic pass is a good idea for the traveller who is going to spend a substantial amount of time in one state. They are usually valid for 30 days. However, these passes are only valid for one state, so if you are travelling to both Sydney and Melbourne you will need to remember to buy two separate electronic passes.
E tags are useful for the traveller who is going to spend a substantial amount of time in Australia and will be using toll roads often enough and who doesn’t want the hassle of having to remember to call in and pay each time. An E tag is valid all across Australia, meaning you don’t need to sign up for multiple electronic passes. However, these are designed for longer use and often require a security deposit or prepaid balance, so may not be suitable for the short term visitor.
So Where Are The Toll Roads?
If you are using a GPS during your travel, and these days pretty much all smart phones come equipped with them, then you can sometimes search for a driving route that does not have toll roads. If you don’t mind taking an unfamiliar route through an unfamiliar city, then this might be a good option for you to avoid toll roads in Australia all together.
Sydney, NSW Toll Roads
|Sydney Toll Roads|
|M2 – North Ryde toll W | M||Yes||$4.95||13 76 26 (RoamExpress)|
|M2 – Only Pennant Hills Road toll W | M||Yes||$2.75||13 76 26 (RoamExpress)|
|M4 Western Motorway W | M||Free since 15 February 2010|
|M5 South-West Motorway W | M||Yes||$3.80||1300 658 652|
|M7 Westlink W | M||No||$7.06*||13 86 55 (Roam)|
|Cross City Tunnel W | M||No||$4.56||+61 2 9033 3999|
|Cross City Tunnel – Sir John Young Crescent Exit W | M||No||$2.15||+61 2 9033 3999|
|Sydney Harbour Bridge – Southbound W||No||$2.50-4.00**||13 18 65|
|Sydney Harbour Tunnel – Southbound W||No||$2.50-4.00**||13 18 65|
|Lane Cove Tunnel W | M||No||$2.89||13 76 26 (RoamExpress)|
|Military Road E-Ramps (formerly Falcon St Gateway) W | M||No||$1.44||13 76 26 (RoamExpress)|
|Eastern Distributor – Northbound W | M||Yes||$5.50||1300 138 107|
|W – Link to motorway’s Website | M – Link to motorway’s Maps
Prices are accurate as at 5 July 2011
* This is the maximum toll cost depending on your entry and exit point – see Westlink M7 Toll Prices
** The exact amount depends on the time of day – see Time of Day Tolling on the RTA site
Melbourne, VIC Toll Roads
Melbourne has two main toll roads; citylink and eastlink, neither of which accept cash. CityLink in its entirety, connects Malvern (Monash Fwy) in the south-east to Essendon (Tullamarine Fwy) in the north-west via the City. This is made up of two parts: the Southern Link (connects Monash Fwy to CBD) and the Western Link (connects West Gate Fwy and Tullamarine Fwy).
Eastlink is a north-south tollway that connects the Eastern, Monash and Frankston Freeways.
|CityLink Electronic Passes|
|Tulla Pass||$4.80||24-hr pass. Valid between Flemington Road and Bulla Road section of CityLink. Able to buy within 3 days after your first trip|
|24 Hour Pass||$13.50||Valid for 24-hrs from when you first use CityLink on your nominated day. Able to buy within 3 days after your first trip|
|Weekend Pass||$13.50||Must start between midday Friday and conclude at midnight Sunday. Able to buy up to midnight Tuesday after travel. CityLink only|
|Melbourne Pass||$5.50 setup + Toll + $0.75/trip||Valid for CityLink AND EastLink for 30 days, can be extended. Any number of vehicles can be added. Able to buy within 2 days after your first trip|
|Prices are accurate as at 5 July 2011|
Brisbane, QLD Toll Roads
All toll roads in Brisbane are also cash less, which means you either need to have an electronic pass or e tag, or you need to pay within 48 hours to avoid a fine.
|Toll roads in Queensland||Toll road operator||Toll payment provider|
|Gateway Motorway (including the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges)||Queensland Motorways
Ph: 13 33 31
(7 days – 7am to 10pm)
|Clem Jones (CLEM7) Tunnel||RiverCity Motorways
Ph: (07) 3046 4191
(7 days – 24 hrs)
|Go Between Bridge||Brisbane City Council
(under construction – opening 2012)
(under construction – opening late 2014)
|Brisbane City Council
Remember to pay your toll on time to avoid a hefty fee!
We road tripped all over Australia with a campervan rental from Spaceships campervan rentals. We received a discounted hire rate from Spaceships, but all opinions remain our own.