Placement and design of tourist signs

Tourist signs are the final signing layer to be installed on the road network. They support general directional signposting to enable tourists to safely and confidently navigate the road network.  Section 3.11 of AS 1742.6 outlines that each roads authority will determine where signage is permissible.

In determining whether an eligible attraction or facility on a side road warrants signposting, account should be taken of the distance that a tourist might consider to be a reasonable distance from the expressway . 10km is generally considered to be the desirable maximum distance on side roads. In built up areas, 2km along a side road is considered reasonable.

Individual attractions

Signing for an attraction is permissible from the nearest arterial road or junction. It must be signed using the same or similar style sign until the visitor reaches the attraction. It is advisable that the wording on the signs accurately describe the type of activity that can be undertaken at the attraction. However, the commercial name of the attraction may be acceptable.

The placement of signs is the final step in the approval of tourist signs. The placement of signs is decided by the roads authority and is determined by a number of factors. These can include:

  • Sufficient room within the road reserve,
  • Agreement with the local council (where necessary) to install similar signs on the local road network,
  • Appropriate sign design and location.

It is not always possible or appropriate to accommodate tourist signs within the road network at locations nominated by the applicant.

State significant attractions

Due to the magnitude and level of visitation to state significant attractions, these facilities often require signing from more remote locations, when compared to what is generally allowed for other eligible tourist attractions. In most cases this will be from the nearest expressway-type road.

Use of logos

Logos are generally unsuitable for use on road signs because they cannot be clearly distinguished from a moving vehicle. Logos may only be used on signing for eligible drive experiences, determined to be of State or National significance. All logos must conform to the AS 1742.6 guidelines on logo design.

Restaurant and accommodation classification ratings and/ or chain logos, or any other form of business logo or trade mark, are not permitted on any road sign.

Funding of signs

The funding of tourist directional signs in Australia is typically by the applicant. In most cases the roads authority will determine sign design, placement and installation cost on behalf of the applicant.

Assessment authority and approval process

Many of the states and territories have established guidelines. They are interpreted by the roads authority and/ or tourism organisation to assist in the facilitation of signing. There is no uniform assessment process for tourism road signing in Australia. However, it should be noted that the roads authority in each state or territory has the final approval for all applications on arterial roads. Figure 2 outlines the assessment authority in each state and territory.

Figure 2- Assessment authority

State or TerritoryAssessment authorityMembers
QueenslandDistrict Tourism Signing Committee
  • Dept of Transport and Main Roads
  • Relevant local council
  • Tourism Queensland
New South WalesTourist Attraction Signposting Assessment Committee
  • Roads and Maritime Services
  • Regional Tourism Organisation
  • Relevant local council
Australian Capital TerritoryDepartment of Territory and Municipal services
  • Australian Capital Tourism
  • Urban Services.
VictoriaLocal Council and Department of Transport
  • Local Council
  • Department of Transport
  • Advice sought from DJPR Tourism on a needs basis.
TasmaniaDepartment of State GrowthAdvice sought from Tourism Tasmania on a needs basis.
South AustraliaDepartment of Infrastructure and TransportAdvice sought from South Australian Tourism Commission on a needs basis.
Western AustraliaTourism WAProduct Development Manager in each of the 5 regions.
Northern TerritoryDepartment of planning and infrastructureAdvice sought from Tourism NT on a needs basis.

Permit and eligibility period

A permit system or eligibility period ensures that the quality of signed tourism product continues to meet the needs of Australia’s visitors.

An eligibility period of five years is considered typical for all attractions and tourism product categories. This ensures that regular reviews are conducted to ensure that signs are still in working order and that attractions or products still meet the eligibility requirements, as well as the needs of visitors.