The hardest thing about exploring Australia in a car isn’t getting lost; it’s understanding the locals. Aussies have their own vocabulary when it comes to driving and most of it sounds pretty confusing to overseas visitors. If you are in Australia for the first time and looking to hire a car, here is a handy guide to some of the Aussie slang terms you might need to know:

Anchors: brakes.

Bingle: a minor car accident.

Bonnet: North Americans know this as the hood of a car.

Boot: the trunk of a car.

Booze bus: how Australians refer to mobile breath testing units. You might spot these big vans on the side of the road where police are conducting random breath tests of motorists.

Caravan: a motor home or trailer.

Carby: carburetor.

Divvy van: a police van that transports people under arrest, such as drunks and hooligans. Not a vehicle you want to end up in while driving around Australia.

Donk: not heard very often, but means a car engine.

Down the road: this one is important to know if you are ever taking directions from an Australian. This phrase is an indication of distance, but it can mean anything from a hundred metres down the road to a hundred kilometres down the road.


Juice: petrol, or fuel.

Paddock basher: you might hear this mentioned when you get out into rural areas. Aussies use this to refer to off-road or farm vehicles, typically non-road registered.

Rego: vehicle registration. You might have spotted by now that Australians like to shorten their words. Also keep an ear out for words like arvo (afternoon) and sammie (sandwich), which might crop up if you get invited to have a barbie (barbecue) with Australians.

Servo: a petrol station, also known as a service or gas station, depending on where you’re from. The important thing to note is that this is where you can buy fuel.

Speedo: speedometer. Be careful not to confuse this with the man’s swimsuit, also called a Speedo.

Ute: a utility vehicle, known as a pick-up truck in North America.

Windscreen: another one for the North Americans, this is the Australian word for windshield.

Knowing these words will help you survive your great Australian road trip. Ready to book a car? Get in touch with the team at East Coast Car Rentals and start planning your adventure.