Ask LH: How Can I Force Google Maps To Search A Specific Country?

Hey Lifehacker, Google Maps is making me grumpy! I often need to look up directions from Sydney to Newcastle in NSW, but for some reason Google always wants to tell me how to fly to Newcastle in England. Is there any way to force Google Maps by default to only search for locations within a specific country? Thanks, Local Not Global

Picture: Tim J Keegan

Dear LNG,

Generally, Google does a reasonable job of working out the most likely location when you do a Maps search. When I tried to replicate your issue, it consistently offered me Newcastle NSW, not Newcastle in Tyneside. But Google behaviour can be strange. Here is a non-exhaustive list of options to check:

  • Try visiting to ensure that you're getting the Australian-centric version of the service.
  • Double-check your account details: if you've specified a non-Australian emergency contact number or an unusual language choice, that could affect how maps performs.
  • Switch off any VPNs you're using to access overseas content.

If readers have any other suggestions for fixing this issue, share them in the comments. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Check location sharing permissions on your browser:

    You may have to set location manually (Or stay logged into your Google account which should have your location remembered):

    Search for what you are looking for: Newcastle, NSW.

    Just like walking into a bar and asking for a scotch but complaining if it isn't your favourite top shelf brand. Ask for what you want.

    I've encountered a few occasions where clicking the more information flags on a location take me to a similar street/locality name somewhere in the US. I've flagged this with Google but not gotten very far - it's not a very "wise" company when it comes to internationalisation issues.

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