Toll Roads in Australia

Road Sign

Toll roads are found in the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Everywhere there is a move towards electronic payment sensors with the acceptance of cash being phased out. This means it is possible to use the toll road without physically paying for it on the spot (your car registration plate will be photographed as you go through the toll and it’s your responsibility to make sure you have paid for it before or within a couple days of using it).

Any fines will be sent to your car hire company and not only will you be charged for it (in the vicinity of $140 each) but they will also add on a “processing fee” which commonly comes in at about $35-60 each.

With all the care taken to save on your car hire, the last thing you need is a fine for unpaid toll charges. So you don’t accidentally miss one, below you’ll find information for toll road locations, toll charges and purchasing passes, payment methods and meanings of toll road signs.

Toll Roads, Charges and Electronic Passes

Payment Methods

Cash Payments

If your toll road accept cash payments, that’s easy. You’ll just want to make sure you have some change. Some toll booths only accept the exact amount while others will give you change. Keep to the left lane as that’s where most cash booths are located and pay attention to the signs:

  • Exact change lanes are labelled ‘exact toll’ or ‘auto’
  • Booths marked ‘change’ will, you guessed it, give you change.

Cashless Electronic Toll Payments

As mentioned, not all toll roads have cash booths in which case payment must be made electronically with an E-Tag or pass, or over the phone by credit card after using the road.

  • Over the Phone
    Along the road you will see large signs with the relevant phone number so remember it and make the call to pay within 48 hours of passing the toll. A small fee will be charged for credit card payments. Online payments are also possible and incurs a lower fee than over the phone.
  • The Electronic Pass
    For interstate and foreign visitors, the electronic pass will likely be your best option. All you need is a credit card and they are usually valid for 30 days with minimum or no start-up fees. If you’re travelling to multiple places e.g. Sydney, Melbourne AND Brisbane, you’ll need to get the relevant passes for each city i.e. unlike the E-Tag, a pass bought in Sydney will NOT be usable in other cities.
  • The E-Tag
    The E-Tag is a little device you attach to your car’s windscreen which automatically deducts from your account each time pass a toll sensor. Naturally having an E-Tag in the car is the most efficient option and spares you having to worry about forgetting to pay.

    However, it is designed for longer term or frequent usage, often requiring a security deposit and prepaid toll balance which may not be appropriate for a visitor. Most rental car companies do not equip their cars with an E-Tag but if you find one that does, great!

    E-Tags from NSW, VIC or QLD are usable throughout Australia so if you have an existing one, you can use it with your rental car or consider borrowing a friend’s. Just notify your E-Tag provider of your hire car registration number (and remember to call them to remove it after finishing your rental unless you are feeling particularly charitable).

    E-Tags are available from RTA, RoamExpress, and Roam (NSW providers), Breeze (VIC provider), go via (QLD provider). Each provider has a slightly different payment structure and you’ll need an Australian address.

    If you are a visitor to Australia or infrequent traveller (one or two trips on a toll road), look instead at getting yourself an electronic pass for the city you require.

Toll Road Signs

E-Tag Lane Sign

E-tags are accepted in these lanes

Electronic Pass Lane Sign

Electronic Passes are accepted in these lanes

E-tag only Lane

An E-tag ONLY lane

E-tag and Exact Amount Cash Lane

A lane where you can use an E-tag or pay with the EXACT amount of cash

E-tag and Cash with Change Provided Lane

A lane where you can use an E-tag or pay with ANY amount of cash and change will be given

E-tag and Electronic Pass Lane

A lane where you can use an E-tag or an Electronic Pass

Cash with Change Lane

A lane where cash is accepted and change is given


2 Responses to “Toll Roads in Australia”

  1. Harold King on January 20th, 2011 2:19 pm

    I want to holiday in Australia and not oversea’s but all these toll roads just keep pushing up the price up (maybe i should fly overseas and miss the expence ) I think there should by A visitors pass for all toll roads in Australia where you want me to spend my holiday $$$$$$$$

  2. Car Hire Insider on January 21st, 2011 2:10 am

    We hear you, Harold. In our recent 2011 update on toll prices we found they’ve increased an average of about 5% in Sydney and Melbourne but a whopping 20% average in Brisbane. Looks like we’ve got to get creative with avoiding the toll roads… take it as motivation to get “off the beaten track”!

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