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How to Get Around Tasmania Without a Car | 5 Key Ways
Wondering whether you can travel around Tasmania without a car?
I don’t blame you.
Up until recently, I thought driving was the only way to get around Tasmania. But how wrong I was!
Although there’s no public train system and hiring a car is the most popular option to get around Tasmania, you’ll be happy to know that I have identified some other alternatives.
If you don’t have a driver’s licence or want to save your pennies, keep reading to the end of this article for some great tips.
Without further ado, here’s 5 ways to get around Tasmania without a car.
1) Public Transport
If you don’t have a car or driver’s license, catching public transport between the main cities and tourist sites of Tasmania can be a great way to go.
It is a cheap way to get around Hobart and Launceston and see the main tourist attractions in Tasmania.
For travellers and locals, there are many buses, ferries, taxis and also local flights that you can take between the main cities.
Let’s first look at the options you have when travelling by bus.
Local buses are an essential form of public transport in Tasmania, with various bus routes operating between the main cities.
There are also some bus routes that can take you out to regional areas outside of Hobart and Launceston.
But, how do you actually catch the buses?
Do you pay as you go?
Pay the bus driver?
How does it work?
The simple answer: You’re Going to Need a Green Card.
Key things to know about the Green Card:
- You can get them from most bus depots or agents in the main cities
- The card costs around $5 AUD per person
- Once you have the card, you can load it with as much money as you like (depending on how much you plan to travel on public transport)
- To use the card on public transport, simply “touch on” when you get on.
- There’s no need to “touch off” because the trip cost is already calculated
- When your travel card balance gets low, simply top it up with new credit (money).
Here are some links that you may find helpful:
If you’d like to read more about local buses in Tasmania, you can check out fees and routes on the Discover Tasmania website, or with the individual operators below:
- Metro (Main cities)
- Tassielink Transit (Tasman Peninsula, East Coast, South West, etc)
- Redline (Express bus from Spirit of Tasmania drop off to Launceston or Hobart)
The Advantages of Catching the Local Bus
For first-time travellers to Tasmania, there are many advantages to catching the bus.
Firstly, it can be cheaper than other transport methods such as hiring a car. Secondly, you don’t need to stress about driving, especially if you come from a country where you drive on the other side of the road.
It is also very easy and simple to top up your Green Card and bus timetables are relatively frequent. Especially during peak season.
The Disadvantages of Catching the Local Bus
Some of the main disadvantages of relying on Tasmania’s bus network is that you’ll have less flexibility and choice on where to go and when you go.
If you’re travelling “off peak”, buses may be less frequent and it will take you longer to get to your desired destination compared to driving. This is because most buses stop at multiple stops on their way to their final destination.
Public Ferries Between Islands
In addition to the large Spirit of Tasmania ferry, which transports travellers across from Victoria to Tasmania, there are smaller ferries that operate around Tasmania too.
Ferries can be another way to get around Tasmania without a car.
If you’re interested in travelling to some of the smaller islands on Tasmania’s coast (eg. Bruny or Maria Island), it is likely that you’ll need to take a small ferry to get there.
Some of the main public ferries around Tasmania include:
- Ida Clair Ferry (From Cynthia Bay to Lake St Clair) – Bookings are essential
- Freycinet Aqua Taxi (Water services from Coles Bay to Freycinet National Park) – Daily departures
- The Maria Island Ferry (From Triabunna wharf to Maria Island) – Bookings are essential
- Bruny Island Ferry (Car ferry from Kettering to Bruny Island) – Daily departures
To learn more about the smaller ferry transfers and their applicable schedules, click here.
The Advantages of Catching a Ferry
- Often the only way to get to some locations, particularly the islands
- Affordable tickets
- Relatively short rides
The Disadvantages of Catching a Ferry
- If you get bad sickness, catching a ferry may not be the most enjoyable experience for you. Just ensure to stock up on sea sickness tablets before you go. Most ferries are pretty stable though – however, it depends on their size.
2) Domestic Flights
Another way to get around Tasmania without a car is to fly between the main cities.
Jetstar and Virgin operate throughout Tasmania, with frequent flights from and between Hobart, Launceston and other states in Australia.
Now, do keep in mind that COVID-19 has impacted some of the schedules. Regional flights in Tasmania right now may not be as frequent as they were pre-COVID.
However, once everyone is able to start travelling again, it is likely that the schedules will pick up again.
The Advantages of Domestic Flights
- Can get between destinations faster than other travel methods (eg. driving)
The Disadvantages of Catching a Ferry
- Tickets tend to be more expensive, especially if you want to travel at peak times of the day and holiday periods
3) RideShare/ Carpool Services
If you have a really tight budget, you may have some opportunity to rideshare or carpool across Tasmania.
However, options seem to be relatively limited.
If you’re considering carpooling to get around Tasmania without a car, I’d suggest that you travel flexibly and don’t make rigid plans.
Especially given your ability to get to places will depend on what other people are doing.
Here are some websites you can check out for rideshare/carpool services:
The Advantages of Carpooling
- Can get the chance to meet locals
The Disadvantages of Carpooling
- Have to rely on others to get around
4) Taxi, Ubers and Private Transfers
Some other ways to get around when you don’t have a car in the main cities include:
- Ubers or
- Arranging a private transfer
But, you may only want to do this occasionally, unless money is not a concern for you.
Taxis can be another good way to get around Tasmania without a car, especially in the main cities.
Prices for taxis can be steep and vary significantly depending on the season and time of day.
They tend to be most expensive on the weekends, public holidays and between 8pm and 6am on weekdays.
Here are some taxi companies you can book with:
- If you’re from an overseas country where tipping is a custom, you don’t need to worry about tipping taxis in Australia. It’s not expected here unless listed as part of the service. You may, however, find that your fee is rounded up to the nearest dollar.
Although not as big as in other Australian states, Uber has started being rolled out in the main cities of Tasmania. Predominantly Hobart at this stage.
- Uber (Hobart)
If you prefer private transfers, I suggest booking one through my favourite transfer company, Get Transfer.
They are reasonably priced and reliable. Just what you need if arriving to the airport at night, tired, and wanting to get to you accommodation as soon as possible.
5) Day/Multi-Day Tours with Transfers
If you prefer to sit back and relax while everything is organised for you, booking day trips can be a great way to go. It’s also a nice way to support local business! 😃
Day trips are a great option if you’re only going to be in Tasmania for a short period of time, but have a lot of things that you want to see.
They allow you to see multiple destinations and sites in a given day, while also getting entertainment and education from a local guide.
If travelling solo or for a longer period of time, day tours can also bring a lot of relief given you don’t have to organise or book anything yourself.
It’s all pre-organised for you, which is awesome!
The Advantages of Day Tours
- Transfers are often included
- You’ll have a tour guide to educate and entertain you throughout the tour
- You get the chance to socialise with others
- Don’t have to stress about driving – can sit back and relax
- Can see multiple sites in one day
The Disadvantages of Day Tours
- Tend to cost more than other transport methods
- Usually operate on set days and at set times
- Pre-organised itinerary so less flexibility
For a list of awesome day tours around Hobart or Launceston, you can check out these popular options below (from Get Your Guide).
5 Ways to Get Around Tasmania Without a Car
If you don’t have a licence, don’t want to hire a car, will only be staying in the main cities or just for a short period of time, you can:
- Take public transport (buses and ferries)
- Book domestic flights
- Carpool or use rideshare services
- Order a taxi, Uber or private transfer
- Book a day trip with a local tour provider
If travelling for a long time, I would suggest that you hire a car, caravan or motorhome, to save costs and also to have a more comfortable stay
Planning a Trip to Tasmania?
If you’re planning a trip to Tasmania and looking for some inspiration, ensure to check out some of our other Tasmania articles.