Travelling by car is the way to go in Tasmania. You can bring vehicles across on the ferry from the mainland, but renting may be cheaper (particularly for shorter trips); rates are usually more affordable here than on the mainland. If you’re renting, always ask if you’ll be covered for driving on unsealed roads (quite a few of Tasmania’s natural attractions are dirt-road destinations).
Big international players like Avis, Budget, Europcar and Thrifty have booking desks at airports and in major towns, with standard rates from $70 to $80 for high-season, multiday small-car hire. By booking well in advance, rates can plummet to $60 per day for one week’s hire (outside high season).
Small local firms rent older cars for as little as $29 a day, depending on season and rental length. They’ll often ask for a bond of upwards of $300. Some companies let you collect your car from the airport or ferry terminal. Operators include:
Motorcycling in Tassie is a blast, with well surfaced roads and relatively light traffic. Contact Tasmanian Motorcycle Hire (03-6391 9139; www.tasmotorcyclehire.com.au) if you’re getting that Born to be Wild feeling.
Campervanning is hugely popular in Tasmania, with hundreds of white vans careening around the roads. A bed and a bus rolled into one, they’re an economical option (from around $80 per day). Reliable rental companies include:
Britz (1800 468 082; www.britz.com.au)
Maui (1300 363 800; www.maui.com.au)
Tasmanian Campervan Hire (03-6248 9623; www.tascamper.com)
Tasmania has a reasonable bus network connecting major towns and centres, but the weekend services are infrequent. The main bus lines are Redline Coaches (1300 360 000, 03-6336 1446; www.tasredline.com.au) and TassieLink (1300 300 520, 03-6230 8900; www.tassielink.com.au) – between the two of them they cover most of the state. TassieLink’s Main Road Express aligns with Bass Strait ferry schedules; an early-morning express bus service runs from Devonport to Launceston and to Hobart, returning in the opposite direction in the afternoon to meet the evening boat departures.
TassieLink has an Explorer Pass for seven/10/14/21 days that must be used within 10/15/20/30 days and costs $172/205/237/280. Available from travel agents or directly from TassieLink, the pass is valid on all scheduled services for unlimited kilometres. Ask for timetables in advance or check TassieLink’s website to plan your itinerary.
Similarly, Redline offers the Tassie Pass for unlimited travel for seven/10/14/21 days at a cost of $135/160/185/219. The Redline network isn’t as comprehensive as TassieLink’s, so compare timetables and assess your options.
Air travel within the state isn’t common, but bushwalkers sometimes use air services to/from the southwest. Par Avion (1800 144 460, 03-6248 5390; www.paravion.com.au) and Tasair (1800 062 900, 03-6248 5088; www.tasair.com.au) fly between Hobart and remote Melaleuca (for the South Coast Track) for $155 and $175 one way respectively.
The weather can be hit-and-miss, but Tasmania is a manageable size for exploring by bicycle; you can hire touring bikes in both Hobart and Launceston. If you plan to cycle between Hobart and Launceston via either coast (the east coast is a cycling favourite), allow 10 to 14 days. For a full ‘Lap of the Map’, allow 18 to 28 days.
If you’re planning a trip on the island, Bicycle Tasmania (www.biketas.org.au) is a solid source of information, including state-wide bike shop listings.