Renting a Car in Tasmania: Advice on Driving in Tasmania in 2024

paved roadway with green rolling hills on a sunny day with a Tasmania car hire
Scenic Roads in Tasmania

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Renting a car in Tasmania is the ideal way to explore this stunning island’s rich cultural heritage, rugged landscapes, and picturesque villages. 

Whether you plan to begin your journey from Hobart, Launceston, or Devonport, I can highly recommend car hire in Tasmania to embark on an unforgettable Tasmania road trip. I spend 18 days on a lap of Tasmania in my nifty rental car, and it was absolutely the best way to see the island.


Discover Cars works with local Australian companies and large international companies to find you the cheapest price based on your needs. Plus, some providers even offer a free additional driver! 

The great thing about Discover Cars is you can add full car rental insurance for under $11 AUD a day. Super affordable >> BOOK NOW

With a rental car in Tasmania, you can explore the hidden beaches of the Bay of Fires, go on a self-drive gourmet tour of Bruny Island, visit the wineries of Tamar Valley and drive the scenic roads between Cradle Mountain National Park, Strahan and Hobart. 

I particularly enjoyed the convenience of renting a car in Hobart Airport and returning it back just before my flight out – easy peasy.

If you are looking for information on Tasmania car hire you’ve come to the right place. This comprehensive guide on driving in Tasmania and how to hire a car in Tasmania will take you through everything you need to know before your visit. 

You may have questions like: Where should I rent a car in Tasmania? What do I need to hire a car in Tasmania? What car rental insurance do I need? How much does it cost to hire a car? I’ll answer all your questions, plus give you some tips for driving in Tasmania, amongst much more.

half moon shaped bay with bright blue water and white sand beach surrounded by green fields and mountains while driving in Tasmania
Picturesque stops along the route between Bicheno and Freycinet in Tasmania

Renting a Car in Tasmania FAQ

Do You need to hire a car in Tasmania?

Car hire Tasmania gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility for your time on the isle. While it may seem like Tasmania is relatively small, its attractions like the Bay of Fires Conservation Area, Cradle Mountain National Park, and the Gordon River cruise in Strahan are all located far apart.   

One of the biggest perks of a Tasmania hire car is you can visit more of the hidden gems on your lap of Tasmania that normal transportation doesn’t access. And, you can stop at scenic viewpoints along your Hobart to Launceston drive, too (my favourite leg of the lap of Tasmania).

How much does renting a car in Tasmania cost?

The longer you rent the car, the less expensive the daily rate will be. If you decide to only rent for one day to get around a city, which I don’t recommend, it’s about a $140 AUD base price. If you are renting for two weeks, it’s about $80 AUD a day as a base rate for a cheap car rental in Tasmania.

Remember to add the $11 AUD/day full insurance coverage and you can get a good estimated price on a hire car in Tasmania. What’s nice about Discover Cars is a lot of the providers will allow you to add an additional driver for free.


large boulders covered in bright orange lichen with ocean beyond at Bay of Fires Tasmania
The Gardens at Bay of Fires Conservation Area – easily accessed by renting a car in Tasmania

What’s the cheapest car rental company in Tasmania?

I recommend Discover Cars as the best car rental in Tasmania and the most economical since they compare local, national and international rental companies to get you the cheapest price based on your needs. 

You will find international rental car companies like Bargain, Budget, Sixt and Europcar on the platform but also some of the cheapest independent Tasmania rental companies, like YesDrive and East Coast Car Rentals.

What is the highest-rated car hire in Tasmania?

When looking for the highest-rated car rental in Tasmania, Bargain (where I rented from through Discover Cars) and YesDrive will be the top choices. 

Bargain Car Rentals is a great option because it’s a widely recognized brand, has over 4,500 reviews and received a customer satisfaction rating of 9.3+ out of 10. They also have a wider selection of vehicles, ranging from cheap Tasmania rental cars (compacts) to Tasmania luxury car hire (SUVs).

Can I rent a Car in Tasmania?

Bear these car hire requirements in mind before booking your Tasmania rental car:

You Must be 21 to Rent a Car in Tasmania

What’s the minimum age to hire a car in Tasmania? When renting a vehicle in Tasmania, you will need to show that you are 21 years of age or older

You Must Hold a Valid Driver’s License

Do you need an international driver’s license in Tasmania? You will not be required to show an international driver’s permit (IDP) when renting a car in Tasmania if you have a license written in English. An overseas driving license is sufficient. If your driver’s license is not written in English, an IDP is mandatory. 

IDPs are only valid if accompanied by your regular drivers license.

Do note, that your driver’s license must have been issued by an authorized authority at least one year prior to the commencement of your Tasmania car hire. A learners permit is not accepted.

You Must Have a Credit Card

Discover Cars and most hire car Tasmania companies require you to present a credit card when picking up your car rental. They will process a security deposit of $500 – 1,000 AUD on your credit card in case of any incident or damage. 

If the car is lost or damaged, you can lose this security deposit, so I would recommend opting to purchase the $11 AUD full insurance coverage that comes with the rental car in Tasmania.

white car hire in Tasmania's Tamar Valley with dirt parking lot and vineyards beyond
Our rental car in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley

Where Should I Hire a Car in Tasmania?

Car Hire Hobart

The majority of visitors to Tasmania will arrive at the Hobart International Airport (HBA) located a 20-minute drive outside of the city centre. This is also the best place to pick up your Tasmania car hire before heading out on your lap of Tasmania. The rental car companies are easy to find near the exit of the arrivals and departures hall. 

Renting a car in Hobart Tasmania allows you convenient access to the east coast of the island with day trips to nearby attractions like Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, the charming town of Richmond and the Port Arthur Historic Site. You can also take a lovely day trip to Bruny Island, one of my favourite places in Tasmania.

Driving in Hobart

Depending on the time of day, driving in Hobart can be very similar to any medium-sized city in Australia. The downtown core of Hobart will be the most fussy when it comes to one way streets, quick turn offs and messy traffic, so bear that in mind on the way from the airport to your Hobart hotel.

Should I rent a car in Hobart?

If you are visiting Tasmania on a quick weekender from the mainland and have decided to base in Hobart, I would not recommend renting a car

You can easily explore the CBD and harbour areas (the best place to stay in Hobart) on foot and there are plenty of great, well-reviewed guided day trips from Hobart including a Bruny Island day tour that’s absolutely fantastic if you decide to do so.

Reserve your Hobart rental car

large intersection in downtown Hobart with people crossing the street and a rental car Tasmania in the background with a mix of modern and historic buildings
Downtown Hobart – one of the best areas to stay in Hobart

Car Hire Launceston

As the gateway to the Tamar Valley wine region and the northern coast of Tasmania, Launceston is also a popular place to start your Tasmania itinerary

Should I rent a car in Launceston?

If you plan to make Launceston your base to explore the wineries only, I wouldn’t necessarily advise renting a car in Launceston. There are plenty of popular guided wine tours of Tamar Valley that will allow you to savour wine without the hassle of driving as well. 

But, if hiking around Dove Lake in Cradle Mountain National Park for the day, or visiting the Bridestowe Lavender Farm are also on your list of must-dos in northern Tasmania then a Launceston car hire is your best bet. 

You can easily reserve and pick up your car at the Launceston Airport (LSD) and make the quick trip into town in 15 minutes.

Don’t worry, most Launceston hotels have parking available for your rental car, but it’s always good to ask ahead.

Driving in Launceston

Driving in Launceston is pretty straightforward. Just be prepared for a slow pace of life (and traffic) in this charming historic town.

white Tasmania rental cars parallel parked along a main city road with historic buildings in Launceston
Downtown Launceston roads

Car Hire Devonport

For those who are taking the Spirit of Tasmania ferry over to the island from Melbourne, the easiest way to procure a rental car is on your arrival in Devonport (make sure to reserve it in advance!). Europcar and Thrifty Car Rental offices are located right at the ferry port in downtown Devonport.

Do note, that you are not able to drive your Tasmania rental car onto the ferry back to the mainland of Australia.

Reserve your Devonport car rental

Renting a Car in Tasmania Advice

What do you need for renting a car in Tasmania?

  • Valid drivers license from country of residence (that you have held for at least a year)
  • An international drivers permit (IDP) if your drivers license is not written in English
  • A credit card

Things to ask your Tasmania car rental company

One of the most common hesitations with renting a car Tasmania is the hidden fees and requirements. Come prepared with questions before you process your payment at the checkout counter. 

  • Do I need a credit card to purchase a rental car in Tasmania? For Discover Cars, you will need a credit card
  • Can I drive outside of Tasmania with your Tasmania rental car?
  • What type of fuel do I fill the rental car with?
  • Should I return the gas tank full?
  • Can I drive on unsealed roads?

What kind of Tasmania cars are for rent?

You will find a plethora of options when it comes to 4-door vehicles with automatic transmissions that come in compact and standard sizing. YOu can also opt for a compact to full-size SUV that can seat up to 7 people for larger groups. 4×4 Tasmania car rentals are available but limited.

Brands like Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Kia and Toyota are popular.

The majority of car rentals in Tasmania are automatic transmissions

colourful mural on a brick wall with a circular sign saying 'fuel' on it
Mural on the side of a fuel station in downtown Hobart

Do you Need a 4×4 car hire in Tasmania?

What kind of car do you need to drive in Tasmania, you may ask. I rented a compact economy car for my mom and I and couldn’t have been happier with the choice. This is really all you need to drive a lap of Tasmania. 

Yes, you will encounter a few unsealed roads but the majority will be nicely groomed and pot-hole free. The drive out to Cape Bruny Lighthouse on Bruny Island was definitely one of the most rugged unpaved roads we encountered, so remember to drive slowly there.

Opt to reserve a 4×4 if you plan to do some backcountry exploration.

Does it cost to have a second driver when renting a car in Tasmania?

Luckily, if you decide to book a Bargain car rental through Discover Cars, they will provide a free additional driver. If not, you can expect to pay $10 AUD a day per additional driver.

paved road meandering into the distance on the left with sandy beach and ocean to the right on Bruny Island a great destination to explore by car hire in Tasmania
A road along a day in Bruny Island

Do I need Tasmania Car Rental Insurance?

Mandatory insurance for car hire in Tasmania

Basic and mandatory car insurance that comes with the rental car consists of three parts:

Third-Party Liability Insurance (TPL)

TPL is the mandatory insurance for all cars in Tasmania whether they are rented or not. 

Theft Protection (TP)

Theft protection is mandatory insurance for renting a car in Tasmania. Theft protection is only valid if you comply with the terms of the rental agreement, meaning if your Tasmania car rental is broken into and you left the car unlocked, the TP won’t protect you.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

CDW is the base collision damage waiver that protects you against damage to your rental car in the case of an accident. This base insurance coverage usually doesn’t include damage to wheels, windows, headlights, key replacements and costs for a tow. 

In this case, the costs are covered by the refundable security deposit you put down with your credit card at the beginning of your car rental period. Depending on the car rental company you decide to go with, that can be anywhere from $500 – 1,000 AUD

Base CDW also won’t work if you don’t comply with the terms of the rental agreements, like driving drunk, parking in non-parking zones, etc.

road with double white line running down the middle with low shrubbery and pods of tall trees beyond on a sunny day
A road on the Strahan to Mount Field route

Optional insurance for renting a car in Tasmania (recommended!)

Many travellers find themselves uncertain when it comes to choosing the extended insurance option for their car rental (this is what I did). Allow me to clarify the advantages of opting for this coverage, so you’ll be equipped to make a more well-informed decision.

You might find that full coverage is already included with your credit card, but this can often be a tricky option, laden with numerous conditions and prerequisites for reimbursement. If you’re not among those with this benefit, it would be wise to think about opting for additional insurance.

Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW)

SCDW is extended insurance or full coverage insurance provided at an additional cost through your rental car company. 

In the event of an accident, you will be fully reimbursed by Discover Cars or the Tasmania car rental company you choose. Do note, that the initial cost of damage will come out of your security deposit, and be reimbursed within 48 hours of you submitting the claim documents required. 

Claim documents usually include:

  • The signed rental agreement
  • The rental company’s assessment of the car’s condition (at pick up and drop off)
  • Invoice of the rental car company charging you for damages
  • Bank account details
  • A detailed description of the accident including photos and video evidence
  • A police report (if applicable)

Make sure to keep these documents on you and in good condition in case of an accident. 

How much is Tasmania car hire insurance?

In most cases, you can expect to pay $30-50 AUD a day if you book a rental car in Tasmania directly with the rental company. With Discover Cars, it’s only an additional $11 AUD a day, which is at least 30% lower than booking directly.

If you book with Discover Cars, full coverage is 30% cheaper than booking directly with the rental car company!

thunderous waves crash against a rugged cliffside on a partly cloudy day in Tasmania
The scenery along a cruise to Tasman Island from Port Arthur

Tasmania Rental Car Restrictions

Driving on Unsealed Roads

Driving on unsealed roads in Tasmania requires special attention, as not all rental car companies permit this activity. While most Tasmania car rental companies will have special restrictions around driving on unsealed roads, it is not always enforced.

Do keep in mind, many of the island’s remote and scenic areas are accessible only via gravel or unsealed roads presenting risks to the vehicle such as increased wear and tear or potential damage. This damage will often come out of your security deposit.

To be safe, check your rental agreement carefully. Some companies may specifically exclude coverage for damage incurred on these surfaces, while others might offer additional insurance packages for off-road driving. Knowing your rental company’s policy is crucial to avoid unexpected charges or liability.

Beach Driving in Tasmania

Most rental car companies in Tasmania prohibit driving on beaches, and doing so can void your insurance, leaving you liable for any damage to the vehicle. This is often done to protect the delicate ecosystems and wildlife that call Tasmania home. 

If beach driving is a must for your Tasmania adventure, you’ll need to find specialized rental services that permit it, ensuring compliance with both rental agreements and local laws. This may include renting a specific type of vehicle equipped for beach driving and understanding any seasonal or location-specific restrictions. 

On my way around the island, I didn’t see a single car on any of the beaches.

Can you Take your Tasmania Car Hire on the Ferry?

It is not permitted to take your Tasmania rental car on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry back to the mainland.

You can take your rental car on smaller ferries like the ferry that runs from Kettering to Bruny Island in southeast Tasmania and within the boundaries of the island of Tasmania, but not back to mainland Australia.

large white busses and small rental cars in Tasmania wait at the Kettering port for the best ferry to Bruny Island Tasmania
Waiting at the Bruny Island ferry port in Kettering alongside Bruny Island tour busses

Car Hire in Tasmania: Driving Tips

Is Tasmania left or right-hand drive?

The same as in mainland Australia, cars drive on the left-hand side of the road in Tasmania.

Parking your Tasmania Car Hire

In major cities like Hobart and Launceston, you’ll find metered street parking, parking garages, and parking lots with varying rates, especially in the downtown core. Be mindful of time restrictions and clear signage to avoid fines. 

You can pay at the meter or download the EasyPark app to pay the parking fee. We did the latter and it was super easy.

In smaller towns and rural areas, parking is generally more relaxed and often free, but it’s still essential to observe any local rules or restrictions. National Parks may have designated parking areas, and fees could apply. Always ensure that your vehicle is parked safely, especially if you plan to leave it overnight.

Fuel Availability While on a Tasmania Road Trip

Fuel availability in Tasmania is generally good, but it can be less predictable in remote areas. We found this particularly true on our drive between Strahan and Mount Field National Park. 

Keep an eye on your fuel gauge and plan out your refuelling stops along this leg of the journey. We unfortunately made the mistake of not monitoring this and we drove into the driveway of our accommodation in Mount Field on fumes. 

Also, note that many smaller fuel stops close down early since they are run by locals who need to go home to their families.

Of course, cities and larger towns have multiple service stations open at all hours of the day. 

Speed Limits while Driving in Tasmania

If you find yourself in an area that does not have many speed limit signs, you can rest assured that the below speed limits are accepted and mostly practiced throughout the entirety of Tasmania. While driving in Tasmania as a tourist, it’s always better to go slow rather than faster if you are unsure.

Speed Limits in Tasmania

  • The default speed limit in the city is 50km/h unless otherwise noted
  • 100km/h is the maximum speed limit outside built-up areas
  • Some motorways will have a speed limit of 110km/h

Speeding Fines in Tasmania

The speeding fines incurred while driving in Tasmania depend on the speed you are exceeding the limit by. For exceeding the limit by up to 30%, you will receive a penalty of $317 AUD. For exceeding the speed limit by more than 30%, the speeding fine incurred is $543 AUD.

Are the Roads Good in Tasmania?

Tasmania’s road network is generally well-maintained and caters to a variety of scenic drives. In major cities and well-travelled routes, you’ll find smooth and well-marked roads. 

However, as you venture into more remote or rural areas, you may encounter narrower lanes, winding roads, or unsealed gravel paths. We saw this the most on the route between Cradle Mountain and Strahan and Strahan and Mount Field National Park.

While these can add to the adventure, they may also require more cautious driving. I remember times when there was no way that my hands could leave the wheel, even to have a sip of water.

Weather conditions, particularly in winter, can further impact road quality. It’s advisable to check local traffic updates and consult with your rental car provider about suitable vehicles for your intended routes. 

Winter Driving in Tasmania

Tasmania’s winters bring icy roads, dense fog, and snow, affecting driving conditions. In the east, including Hobart, the weather is milder, but still tricky, especially in places like Mt Wellington, which can be treacherous even in summer.

The central and western regions are the most affected, including areas around Cradle Mountain National Park, Linda, and the A5 through Miena and the Great Lake, which face heavier snow and fog. Winter here is visually stunning but demands cautious driving.

A successful Tasmanian winter drive requires planning and awareness of the weather conditions. Proper route selection ensures both safety and an enjoyable journey.

Make Time to Enjoy the Scenery and Make Stops

A Tasmania road trip is as much about the journey as the destination. 

With breathtaking landscapes, charming villages, and unique natural attractions, making time for stops is essential. Whether it’s pausing at a lookout to admire coastal cliffs, exploring a local farmers’ market, or taking a leisurely hike in a national park, these moments enrich your travel experience. 

I found the coastline between Bicheno and St. Helens to be one of the most scenic drives and made plenty of stops along there. Also between Launceston and Cradle Mountain on the gourmet tasting trail. 

Ultimately, I enjoyed my time on the road between destinations just as much as any of the designated stops along a Tasmania road trip and that speaks to just how stunning this island truly is. 

At the end of the day, even though we were basing our driving times on Google Maps, it did inevitably take us longer than planned. Keep this in mind.

two moon shaped bays back to back connected by a small isthmus of land and dark green mountains a great stop to take with your rental car Tasmania
Lookout over Eaglehawk Neck near Port Arthur – a great stop along your road trip

Google Maps isn’t Always Accurate

Google Maps is a modern marvel, but it’s not always the most accurate in Tasmania. We opted to follow the Google Maps directions instead of purchasing a GPS system with our Tasmania car hire, which I don’t have regrets about, but it’s smart not to follow the directions blindly

The best tip I can give you is to follow the main roads instead of taking a route that Google Maps says will get you there faster. We did this from Port Arthur to Freycinet and we ended up on some rougher gravel roads ultimately having to drive slower and getting us there later than taking the main route.

Tasmania Road Rules

If you travelling to Tasmania from mainland Australia and have experience with driving on the roads in Australia, you can just follow the same rules. 

But, in case you are visiting Tasmania from abroad, here are the road rules to keep in mind while on your Tasmania road trip:

  • Drive on the left-hand side of the road in Tasmania
  • Is it required for all drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts at all times
  • Mobile phone use is prohibited unless connected to Bluetooth or handsfree
  • The driver must always have their driver’s license with them
paved road runs from right to left in the foreground while rugged mountain peaks of Freycinet National Park loom in the distance
A road leading towards Freycinet National Park

Best Self-Drive Tasmania Itinerary

Tasmania is one of those places where you can spend as much time as you want and never get bored. Ideally, a beautiful slow-paced 3 week road trip would give you the perfect combination of highlights and hidden gems while being able to stop as much as you’d like along the way.

A lap of Tasmania can be done in less time though, so I’ve written up the perfect 10 day self-drive Tasmania itinerary for you. This is a great starting point and can be expanded to 14 days in Tasmania if you so choose.

Tasmania Car Hire Conclusion

Renting a car in Tasmania provides the freedom to explore this diverse and picturesque island at your own pace. From understanding Tasmania car hire options in cities like Hobart, Launceston, and Devonport to navigating unique challenges like driving in snow and abiding by rental restrictions, this guide aims to equip you for an unforgettable Tasmania road trip.

Remember to consider fuel availability, plan for scenic stops, and be mindful of parking and road conditions. Whether it’s a self-drive gourmet tour, a trek through the rugged wilderness, or cruising along scenic coastal roads, car hire in Tasmania offers an adventure filled with cultural immersion, architecture, trendy cafes, and cool food tours. Happy driving!

Tasmania Travel Planning Guide

Is it safe to rent a car in Tasmania?

Absolutely, it is safe to rent a car in Tasmania. In fact, renting a car in Tasmania is the best way to see and explore the island.

You can make a very scenic lap of Tasmania in 10 days with your own rental vehicle. Plus public transportation between major tourist hubs in Tasmania is relatively limited.

What is the best way to book my Tasmania accommodation?

I always use for all of my accommodation worldwide, and Tasmania is no exception. I stayed in some really epic places on my adventure around the island.

For more cozy apartment-style accommodation try VRBO (better and safer than Airbnb).

Can you drink tap water in Tasmania?

Heck yes! Tasmania has some of the cleanest tap water in the world. Outside of a few small rural areas where this might not be the case, I really enjoyed drinking straight from the tap in Tasmania.

If you plan to do a lot of hiking in Tasmania, I recommend bringing my favourite self-filtering water bottle with you, just in case.

What are the best day tours in Tasmania?

Taking a day tour in and around Tasmania is a must when visiting the island.

I highly recommend (and have been on!) the Tasman Island Cruise, the gourmet Bruny Island day tour, the Tamar Valley wine tour and the Gordon River Cruise.

More Tasmania Travel Guides

Ultimate Self Drive 10 Day Tasmania Itinerary
Best Areas to Stay in Hobart Tasmania
My Favourite Hobart Boutique Hotels
Epic Day Trips from Hobart
Bruny Island Day Tours from Hobart
One Day Bruny Island Itinerary
Tasman Island Cruise Guide
Best Boutique Hotels Near Freycinet
Top Bay of Fires Accommodation
Beautiful Tamar Valley Winery Accommodation
Best Boutique Hotels in Launceston CBD
Epic Cradle Mountain Accommodation

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