Note that I am doing this secondhand via Ausway maps (available at www.ausway.com.au), which BTW are very detailed; I have never been outside the US.

Outside the Melbourne area, a British system is used. This means numbers have prefixes of A, B, C, or M. A, B, and C are in decreasing order of mainness, and M is (usually) a motorway. Closer in, colored shields are used instead of A, B, or C (only one color is used), and M remains. Also in both cases are national routes, signed with a different shield. I will refer to them as Nxx here. There is also one tourist route in a brown pentagon; this is 2 from Williamstown to Warrandyte.

ABC numbering seems to be clustered; for example 777, 780, 781, 782, and 785 are all in the Frankston area. A non-prefixed road xx in Melbourne usually becomes 7xx when it enters the prefix zone.

In Melbourne, even numbers go east-west and odd numbers go north-south. As far as I know (I haven't gone all the way out), odds go from 5 east of Ringwood (east) to 41 near Sunshine (west). Evens go from 4 near Evanston (south) to 48 near Broadmeadows (north). Of course there are numerous discrepancies; some roads are diagonal and cross others.

Here are the more striking exceptions:
3 goes along Port Phillip Bay, staying west of 11 and further north going west of 29.
43 uses the Western Link, between 31 and 35. It also uses the Tulla Fwy, which is east of 39 but would cross west of 41 if it stayed 43 instead of C743. This road is in 2 sections.
22 may have 2 parts, or it may be a mapo. One goes east from Ringwood, and the other south of downtown.
40 is a half-loop around Melbourne. Substantial parts are north-south.
45 is between 29 and N31.
20 is mostly between 26 and 30.
There may be others that I don't know of.

Here are the national and M routes:
M1 E-W thru Melbourne.
ALT N1 on old N1 (now M1) east of downtown.
N8 west out of downtown. Begins near downtown, at a turn where N79 continues.
N31 north out of downtown. Begins at M1. Fits the grid.
N79 northwest out of downtown. Begins at M1 where ALT N1 also starts. Doesn't fit the grid.
M80 on the Ring Rd from M1 west of downtown to C746 (old 46) northeast of downtown. NM80 from N8 to N31.
M420 south from the east intersection of M1 and ALT N1.

Here are all the freeways:
M1 from ? in the west to N1A/M420 in the east. Under construction further east. West Gate Fwy, Southern Link, and Monash Fwy.
N8 somewhere west of the Ring Rd.
11 from 4 in Frankston to 40 near Edithvale. Frankston Fwy and Mornington Peninsula Fwy.
Southern section of 43 and from N79 from 43 to C754. Also N79 further north. Western Link and Calder Fwy.
Northern section of 43/C743 north to Melbourne Airport. Tulla Fwy.
M80 and NM80 from N1 in the west to C746. Ring Rd.
83 northeast of downtown from 29 to 40. Under construction to 34 in Ringwood. Eastern Fwy.

The Western Link and Southern Link are both parts of the CityLink system. Their website is at http://www.transurban.com.au/. This is a fully electronic system using transponders.

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