Motorhome Driving Licence Requirements Australia

🚌 Motorhome Driving Licence Requirements in Australia

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If you’re considering hiring or purchasing a motorhome for your adventures around Australia, you will first need to know the motorhome driving licence requirements.

While an open C class (car) licence will enable you to drive some motorhomes, for larger RVs and buses, you will need to upgrade your licence to either a Light Rigid, Medium Rigid or Heavy Rigid licence.

Here is the full run-down on exactly which type of motorhome can be driven with each class of licence in Australia.

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What Licence Do You Need to Drive a Motorhome in Australia?

Motorhomes, Julia Creek QLD
Different motorhomes require different licences

What size motorhome you can drive will depend entirely on which type of licence you hold.

With a standard car licence in Australia, you can drive a motorhome up to 4.5 tonnes GVM. However, a Light Rigid or Heavy Ridge licence will be required for larger motorhomes.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re travelling through one, three or all of the Australian states, the licence classes are uniform across the board. So, if you hold the correct licence for your motorhome in one state, then you can legally drive it in any of the states and territories around Australia.

Below are the five (5) licence classes in Australia that relate to motorhomes, buses and RVS, plus which size motorhome can be driven with each one.

What Size Motorhome Can You Drive with a C (Car) Licence?

A car licence in Australia is a C class licence.

With a C class licence, you can drive any vehicle that weighs up to 4.5 tonne GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass). The maximum number of adults your vehicle is permitted to carry is 12 (including yourself as the driver).

What motorhome can you drive with a C Class Licence?

  • Motorhomes up to 4.5 tonne GVM
  • Motorhomes built to carry a maximum of 12 adults (including the driver)

What Size Motorhome Can You Drive with an LR (Light Rigid) Licence?

To drive motorhomes that weigh between 4.5 and 8 tonnes, an LR (Light Rigid) class licence is required.

To obtain an LR licence, you will need to hold a Provisional or Open licence for at least 12 months. Then you can take the Driver Knowledge test and take some lessons to learn how to drive an LR vehicle. From there you can take the light rigid driving test.

You can also tow a trailer behind the motorhome, as long as the trailer and its load don’t exceed 9 tonne GVM.

What motorhome can you drive with an LR Licence?

  • Motorhomes up to 8 tonne GVM
  • Tow a trailer up to 9 tonne GVM

What Size Motorhome Can You Drive with an MR (Medium Rigid) Licence?

To drive a motorhome that has a GVM over 8 tonne, you will need an MR (Medium Rigid) licence. It’s important to note that with this licence, you can only drive motorhomes with 2 axles.

Trailers up to 9 tonne can also be towed with an MR licence, so if you want to pop a little runabout car onto a trailer to take with you, make sure the whole package stays under 9 tonnes.

What motorhome can you drive with an MR Licence?

  • Motorhomes & RVs over 8 tonne with 2 axles
  • Tow a trailer up to 9 tonne GVM

What Size Motorhome Can You Drive with a HR (Heavy Rigid) Licence?

To drive a motorhome with three or more axles and a GVM of over 8 tonne, you will need to get yourself a HR licence. This is generally the licence that people would go for if they want to drive a full-sized bus motorhome.

A trailer of up to 9 tonne maximum weight can also be towed behind the motorhome.

What motorhome can you drive with a HR Licence?

  • Motorhomes & RVs over 8 tonne with 3 or more axles
  • Tow a trailer up to 9 tonne GVM

What Size Motorhome Can You Drive with a HC (Heavy Combination) Licence?

The HC licence is for driving big rigs with a GVM of over 8 tonne and towing a trailer that weighs more than 9 tonne.

What motorhome can you drive with a HC Licence?

  • Motorhomes & RVs over 8 tonne with 3 or more axles
  • Tow a trailer heavier than 9 tonne GVM
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Motorhome Weights You Need to Know

Motorhome, Corella Dam QLD
Knowing your motorhome weights is essential

As you’ll notice with all of the different licence class rules, GVM is the determining factor with what motorhome you’re legally allowed to drive with each licence.

In fact, when it comes to finding the right motorhome for your needs, there are three important weight terms to understand. Tare Weight, GVM and Payload.

Here’s what the three motorhome weight terms mean.

Tare Weight

Motorhome tare weight is the weight of an empty motorhome with all of its running fluids (e.g. oil, coolant, brake fluid and so on), but with only 10 litres of fuel in the tank.

Consider tare as what the motorhome weighs as it drives out of the factory with all of its fluids and only 10 litres of fuel. This does not include additional accessories, modifications, the driver, passengers or luggage.

TARE WEIGHT = Weight of Empty Motorhome + Oil & Fluids + 10L Fuel

To find the tare weight of a motorhome, it should be stamped onto the compliance plate (VIN plate). Otherwise, you can empty the vehicle out and weigh it at a public weighbridge (without driver and passengers).

How to find your motorhome’s Tare Weight:

  • Vehicle compliance plate
  • OR weigh the motorhome (completely empty) using a weighbridge

For more on vehicle tare weights, check out the full guide below.


GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass)

The most common term you will need to become familiar with when it comes to choosing a motorhome is GVM.

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is a figure that is set by the manufacturer, which states the maximum weight that the motorhome is allowed to be at any given time and cannot be exceeded.

GVM = Maximum Allowable Weight of Motorhome

You should be able to locate your GVM on the motorhome’s compliance plate.

For a deeper understand of what GVM weight includes, see the article below.


Payload

Once you’ve found your motorhome’s empty weight (Tare) and fully loaded weight (GVM), you can work out how much weight you’ve got left for your “stuff.”

This is called Payload, which is essentially the full weight minus the empty weight.

PAYLOAD = GVM – Tare Weight

Knowing how much payload allowance you have is essential when it comes to allocating weight for all of the items that need to be loaded into the motorhome.

Payload allowance includes:

  • Accessories
  • Modifications
  • Luggage
  • Full tank/s of fuel
  • Driver
  • Passengers
  • Food & water
  • Camping gear etc.

To understand all of the motorhome weights, particularly if you plan on towing a car or trailer behind it, check out the full guide below.

Guide to Motorhome Weights →
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Motorhome Licence Requirements for International Drivers

Driver's Licence QLD (sample)
Source: QLD Government

International travellers who come to Australia and want to hire a motorhome for their journey are welcome to do so, as long as they hold a valid unrestricted licence from their home country.

The main requirement is to carry the original licence as well as an English copy (if written in another language).

Below are the international traveller licence requirements for each state and territory in Australia.

State/ TerritoryInternational Licence Requirements
Australian Capital Territory
(ACT)
• Foreign Licence (written in English)
OR International Driving Permit + Foreign Licence
OR Foreign Licence (with English translation)
New South Wales
(NSW)
• Foreign Licence (with English translation)
OR International Driving Permit
Northern Territory
(NT)
• Foreign Licence (if in English)
OR International Driving Permit
Queensland
(QLD)
• Foreign Licence (with English translation)
South Australia
(SA)
• Foreign Licence (with English translation)
OR International Driving Permit
Tasmania
(TAS)
• Foreign Licence (with English translation)
OR International Driving Permit
Victoria
(VIC)
• Foreign Licence (with English translation)
OR International Driving Permit (issued in home country) + Foreign Licence
Western Australia
(WA)
• Foreign Licence (with English translation)
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