Tasmania Car Hire Comparison

Choosing a great car can take your road trip from so-so…to woah!! 

There are a lot of options and it can all get very confusing… which is why I created this simple guide (including a fantastic car rental comparison for ALL the companies), answering your questions about Tasmania car hire, and saving you money!

This page contains affiliate links. If you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Read our full disclosure policy here.

Bruny Island - Overdrive
Enjoy the sweeping curves of Bruny Island | Photo: Overdrive Car Hire

You’ve stepped off the plane and said g’day to the friendly airport sniffer-dog. 

The bags have been collected and you’re jumping out of your skin because…

…YOU’RE IN TASMANIA!!!

So, what’s next?

In this guide to Tasmania car hire I not only show you how to save money on your rental car, but I also give you all the tips and info you need to make a hassle-free start to your Lap of Tasmania road trip.

COVID-19 Notice

The first edition of this article was written in 2019, before we had ever heard of COVID.

It is now 2022 and the world is emerging from the shadow of this pandemic. I have made every effort in this most recent edition to ensure pricing is accurate, however rates are higher than normal right now, and further fluctuations are likely as our international borders open and travel gets back to a new normal.

If you represent one of the companies listed in this article, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you’ve had a rate reduction.

Summary of Tasmania hire car options

Short on time and want to know the best Tasmania hire car company? 

My table summarises all the options, with the best ones at the top.

Check prices or make your booking by clicking on the link provided for each company – and don’t forget to grab a discount with my partner codes!

Company

Low / High Season

Pros / Cons

Pickup

Restrictions

More

Bargain Car Rentals Logo

$242 / $903

My #1 recommendation! Tassie-owned family business. Exceptional service. Huge range of vehicles - all new -with exceptional reliability. Very good shoulder and low-season rates. Big supporter of the Lap of Tasmania!

5% OFF with LAPOFTAS code

HLD

Good

Book Now

Overdrive Logo

From $370 for two days

Beautiful cars with sporting and luxury pedigree - this is how you take your road trip to the next level!

5% OFF with LAPOFTAS code

HL

Good

Book Now

LeisureRent Logo

$220 / $770

LeisureRent have moved beyond campervans to include a reliable and competitively priced fleet of cars and SUVs. Awesome service and huge supporter of the Lap of Tasmania!

5% OFF with LAPOFTAS code

HL

Good

Book Now

East Coast Car Rentals - Logo

$430 / $440

One of the largest independent car hire providers, offering a a wide range of vehicles at very low rates - year round. Voted "Best Car Rental Service 2022" in Australia by Product Review.

5% OFF with LAPOFTAS code

HL

Good

Book Now

Drive Car Hire

$518 / $651

Family-owned Tasmanian business with decades of local experience - the ideal option if you prefer a personal touch. Exceptional feedback and immaculate, late-model vehicles. Only company to service Strahan.

HLDS

Good

Book Now

AutoRent Hertz

$235 / $826

Excellent service. Large, young fleet of vehicles. Great reputation. Prices a bit high in summer, but competitive in winter.

HLDB

Good

Book Now

Apex Car Rentals

$243 / $285

Good customer feedback. Small company, servicing Hobart and Launceston only. Competitive pricing year-round.

HL

Good

Book Now

Lo-Cost Auto Rent

$173 / $173

The perfect rental option for young drivers. Vehicles are used, but well looked after. Allows drivers as young as 19yrs and/or with P-plates (with 2yrs driving experience).

HLD

Good

Book Now

Budget

$828 / $872

Large company with solid reputation. Driving on Bruny Island is prohibited. High prices.

HLD

Poor

Book Now

Europcar

$947 / $1,007

Large company with solid reputation. Wide coverage. Very expensive year-round. Need to pay extra to drive on unsealed roads.

HLDB

Average

Book Now

Avis

$904 / $903

Large company with solid reputation. Driving on Bruny Island only allowed with written permission. Very high prices.

HLDB

Average

Book Now

Thrifty

$840 / $950

Large company but expensive. In winter there is an expensive daily 'snow' fee to access Cradle Mountain. Hobart and Launceston only.

HL

Poor

Book Now

H = Hobart, L = Launceston, D = Devonport, B = Burnie, S = Strahan

Prices were calculated for 7-day bookings in January (high season) and June (low season), picking up and dropping off at Hobart Airport, for a compact automatic vehicle (eg. Kia Cerato or Hyundai i30) with no extras and no excess reduction options selected.

I can’t cover everything in a table, so if you’d like to know more about the pros and cons of each company, and especially the driving restrictions, please keep reading!

Top 5 options - Car hire in Tasmania

When it comes to car hire in Tasmania you are spoiled for choice.

Choice is exactly what I love as a traveller, but when you’ve got a dozen or more options then it can quickly turn into analysis paralysis!

Which ones are reliable? Will they let you drive on unsealed roads? What about visiting alpine areas like Cradle Mountain in winter?

Tasmania’s unique environment means choosing a rental car can be tricky – but don’t worry, I’ve narrowed them down to the Top 5 to help make your decision as easy as possible. 

All you need to do is assess your budget, style of travel, and time of visit to choose the perfect rental car for your Tassie road trip.

Let’s get this show on the road!

1. Bargain Car Rentals - Best all-round

Sentinel ranges Tasmania - Car hire
See the stunning 'Sentinals' | Photo: Stuart Gibson

If you want the best all-round company for a hire car in Tasmania then I recommend Bargain Car Rentals

Why?

I always prioritise Tassie businesses wherever possible, and when you experience their fantastic customer service you’ll be hooked – just like me!

The team at Bargain Car Rentals strongly support Tassie road trippers and have generously offered the Lap of Tasmania community (that’s you!) with even more value – 5% discount on any car rental when you use my LAPOFTAS code!

I have partnered with Bargain for more than 2 years now and I’ve received nothing but complimentary reviews from my online community – something that is very rare in the ‘keyboard happy’ world of online car rental reviews.

Service Locations: Hobart | Launceston | Devonport

Unsealed Roads: Yes (except Western Explorer road)

Bruny Island: Yes

2. Overdrive - Luxury and sports

Overdrive Luxury and Sports Car Car Hire
Sports and luxury combine at Overdrive

Can you see yourself and your partner cruising through Tasmania’s pristine rainforests with the top down and wind in your hair?

Tassie’s roads are a joy to drive, but a luxury or sports touring vehicle from Overdrive is the secret ingredient for the ultimate road trip experience.

From the iconic Brit-stylings of the Mini Cooper-S, to the sexy curves of an Alfa Romeo Giulia, to the world’s best SUV – the Porsche Cayenne AWD (perfect for the dirt roads of Bruny Island) – there is an option for every style of road trip.

With decades of experience working with some of Tasmania’s most discerning clientele, you can rest assured that the team at Overdrive will make your holiday experience their #1 priority.

Overdrive are proud supporters of the Lap of Tasmania. Surprise your loved one with the road trip of a lifetime and use my LAPOFTAS code to save 5%.

Service Locations: Hobart | Launceston

Unsealed Roads: Yes (depends on vehicle type)

Bruny Island: Yes

3. LeisureRent - Fantastic value and service

LeisureRent - MG3 SUV

 

LeisureRent has been a huge supporter of the Lap of Tasmania right from the start. 

It all began with campervans and motorhomes, but Ken has recently expanded his fleet to include some fantastic cars and SUVs at great rates – especially in summer when prices can go absolutely nuts with the bigger companies.

Being a small company, LeisureRent have introduced some really innovative and flexible approaches to car rentals, and their customer service is just that little bit more personalised compared to the other larger rental companies. 

Ken has also generously extended his offer to the Lap of Tasmania community for car rentals. That means you will receive a 5% discount when you use my LAPOFTAS code.

It’s a combination that has been getting fantastic reviews within our Facebook Group, and I know you will love LeisureRent as much as I do!

Service Locations: Hobart | Launceston

Unsealed Roads: Yes

Bruny Island: Yes

4. East Coast Car Rentals - Low prices

Whenever questions get asked in our Facebook community about the best car rental company in Tasmania, it is inevitable that East Coast Car Rentals will get a recommendation.

Their prices are always extremely competitive – especially when you use my LAPOFTAS code for a 5% discount*. Keep in mind  that driving on unsealed roads isn’t permitted.

To keep prices this low East Coast Car Rentals have located their office just a short distance from the airports in both Hobart and Launceston – important to factor into your arrival/departure logistics, as you will need to allow a bit of extra time for a transfer (they will shuttle you for free).

Service Locations: Hobart | Launceston

Unsealed RoadsNo 

Bruny Island: Yes

* Discount is in comparison to ‘Payment on arrival’ and is the same as what you would pay if booking ahead and paying online.

5. Drive Car Hire - Personalised service

Drive Car Hire is another family-owned Tasmanian business with decades of local experience. 

Their goal is to “…make renting a car an easy, hassle-free experience…“, and from all the fantastic reviews I’ve read on on Google and Trustpilot it is easy to see that they do exactly that. 

Their innovative ‘Express Collection’ service plays a big role. By completing all the paperwork before you arrive you can hit the road as soon as possible – without needing to meet anyone on arrival.

Drive is also the only company in Tasmania to service Strahan on Tasmania’s beautiful west coast.

Service Locations: Hobart | Launceston | Devonport | Strahan

Unsealed Roads: Yes

Bruny Island: Yes

👍 Pro tip

Book your car ahead – not on arrival.

Tasmania is only small, and it is isolated from mainland Australia. This means the number of cars available at any one time is limited and rental agencies can’t easily shuffle cars around like they do on the mainland.

Tasmanian tourism is also highly seasonal, and experiences huge spikes in demand for rental cars whenever a cruise ship docks in Hobart – placing further stress on the limited supply.

But if you book ahead you’ve got nothing to worry about!

Tasmania car rental restrictions

Just like everyone has their own favourite road trip soundtrack, not all Tasmania car rental companies are the same.

Each company has its own policy on where you can take their vehicles, and when you hire a car in Tasmania it is important to understand because some of them may charge you extra when you least expect it!

In this section I explain why some of these restrictions are necessary, and most importantly I also compare the companies so you can see which ones offer the best combination for your needs (you’d be surprised how many hide this information in the fine print).

Click here to scroll down to my summary table.

Spirit of Tasmania ferry

Spirit of Tasmania Ferry to Tasmania
Spirit of Tasmania Ferry to Tasmania | 📷: Nick-D @ Wiki (CC3.0)

This one is very simple – none of the companies allow you to take a rental vehicle on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry.

If you plan to take the ferry to Tasmania then you will need to pick your car up on arrival in Devonport. My table at the top shows you which companies service Devonport – I recommend Bargain Car Rentals.

Read: Complete Guide to Catching the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ Ferry

Driving in the snow

Cradle Mountain is one of the best places where to see snow in Tasmania on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Winter magic | 📷: Paul Fleming

My research found that all companies allow you to drive in Tasmania’s alpine regions. However, very few allow you to drive in the snow (understandably), and if you happened to have an accident then you would be liable for all damages, vehicle recovery and other costs.

Snow isn’t common on Tasmanian roads, but if you are visiting Tasmania in winter and plan to visit Mt Wellington, Mt Field, Cradle Mountain or any other alpine location then I suggest you discuss this with your rental agent, as they may have some flexibility.

Read: Best Places to See Snow in Tasmania

Driving on unsealed roads

Driving into the Tarkine
Driving Tassie's North West | Photo: Rob Burnett

It’s easy to get confused with this one when reading the T&Cs.

A few clearly state ‘no driving on unsealed roads’, but after asking for clarification they then said it was ok, so long as the roads were ‘gazetted’ or maintained, and not off-road (ie. 4WD tracks).

Some also allow you to drive on unsealed roads for a small daily fee, or by accepting that you’ll pay more in the event of an accident.

I’ve designed the Lap of Tasmania route [here] so you don’t need to take your car onto unsealed roads – but there are still some places around Tasmania that you can’t reach without hitting the gravel.

Attractions in Tasmania that do require driving on unsealed roads include:

  • Lake Dobson (Derwent Valley)
  • Cockle Creek (Far South)
  • Southern Bruny Island
  • Friendly Beaches (Freycinet)
  • Cape Raoul hike trailhead (Tasman Peninsula)
  • Bream Creek Market (Tasman Peninsula)
  • Western Explorer Road (West Coast)
  • Fortescue Bay (Tasman Peninsula)

If you’d like to visit any of these places then I recommend having a chat with the rental agency to get the latest information regarding their terms.

Car rental restrictions in Tasmania

This table compares all the reputable Tasmanian car rental companies, showing you where you can and can’t take your vehicle.

Company

Spirit of Tasmania

Unsealed Roads

Bruny Island

Bargain

✔️
(except Western Explorer Road)

✔️

Overdrive

✔️
(depends on vehicle)

✔️

AutorentHertz

✔️
(higher excess)

✔️

Drive Car Hire

✔️

✔️

Apex Car Rentals

✔️

✔️
(need approval from Apex)

Lo-Cost Auto Rent

✔️

✔️

East Coast Car Rentals

✔️

Budget

✔️

✔️
(need written permission from Budget)

Europcar

✔️
(for a fee)

✔️

Avis

✔️

✔️
(need written permission from Avis)

Thrifty

✔️

Customer service

Listening to Customer Feedback

The last, and perhaps most important thing I researched for all the car hire companies in Tasmania was their online reputation and customer feedback.

This is always very subjective, as negative experiences are more likely to trigger an online review. But I still feel it is important to scan TripAdvisor, ProductReview, TrustPilot and other online forums to get a feel for both the good and the bad.

In my experience the four Tasmanian car hire companies with the best customer service are Bargain Car Rentals, Overdrive, LeisureRent and East Coast Car Rentals.

No-fuss car hire - Hobart Airport and Launceston Airport

Both Hobart and Launceston airports have a large range of car hire options.

It is important to know that at each airport you will find some car hire companies have a presence inside the airport, while others have a presence outside the airport (nearby).

There are pros and cons to each – keep reading to find out more.

Car hire inside Hobart Airport and Launceston Airport

These are the car hire companies that will greet you in the arrivals hall at Hobart Airport and Launceston Airport:

  • Bargain Car Rentals (Hobart)
  • AutoRent Hertz (Hobart and Launceston)
  • Europcar (Hobart and Launceston)
  • Budget Car Rental (Hobart and Launceston)
  • Avis (Hobart and Launceston)
  • Thrifty Car Hire (Hobart and Launceston)
  • Enterprise/RedSpot (Hobart and Launceston)

Choosing one of these companies will mean you get your road trip started quicker and with less hassle than for the smaller companies (see below).

The drop-off process is usually simpler and quicker as well.

Some companies like Drive Car Hire use a contactless process, which means they don’t have a booth in the Arrivals hall, but by filling in all your paperwork before you leave home you can pick up your car from the Hobart Airport carpark as soon as you land. 

Very handy!

Looking down at Hobart Airport
Hobart Airport | 📷: YSSYguy @ Wiki (CC3.0)

Car hire outside Hobart Airport and Launceston Airport

Some car hire companies are located close to both airports and operate a pick-up and drop-off system. 

  • Bargain Car Rentals (Launceston)
  • LeisureRent
  • Apex Car Rentals
  • East Coast Car Rentals

The system these companies use is fairly similar, and operates like this:

Arrival

  1. Let them know your flight number beforehand
  2. Contact them by phone after collecting your luggage
  3. They pick you up from the airport and drive you to their nearby office where you collect your car

Departure

  1. Drop the car off at either the airport or the company office
  2. If dropping off the car at an office, they will then transport you and your luggage to the airport (after-hours you may need to book a taxi to transport you to the airport)
Launceston Airport
Launceston Airport | 📷: Coekon @ Wiki (CC3.0)

Rules for renting a car in Tasmania

The minimum requirements for hiring a car in Tasmania are similar to those around Australia. These will vary between companies, so make sure you ask, or check their FAQs online.

Age: Most require the driver to be at least 21 years of age.

Licence: A full licence is normally mandatory.

Experience: Some agencies require a minimum of 2 or 3 years full-licence driving experience.

Overseas Drivers: An International Drivers Licence or an English language licence from a foreign country is normally sufficient. If you have a non-English language licence then you may also need an International Driver Licence and/or a translation of your licence.

How to get from the airport to your accommodation in the city

Tasman Bridge
Tasman Bridge in Hobart | 📷: aussiejeff @ Wiki (CC3.0)

You’ve got your new wheels – now it’s time to drive to your accommodation.

Driving from Hobart Airport to Hobart CBD

Distance: 18km | Driving time: 20-40 minutes

Driving from Hobart Airport into the city is easy.

  • Follow the airport road (Holyman Avenue) past the petrol station before turning left at the big roundabout onto the dual carriageway Tasman Highway ‘A3’.
  • Once you’re on the highway you simply follow it all the way into Hobart’s CBD
  • Keep your eyes open as you approach the Tasman Bridge – the central lane over the bridge switches direction morning and night and may result in the need to merge left. Don’t worry though, green and red lights clearly mark the status at any particular time.

👍 Pro tip

The big roundabout near the airport gets very busy during morning peak hour – as does the Tasman Highway through to Hobart – so if your flight is arriving early then allow up to an hour to get into Hobart.

Driving from Launceston Airport to Launceston CBD

Distance: 15km | Driving time: 15-30 minutes

The drive from Launceston Airport into central Launceston is also quick and easy.

  • Turn right at the airport gates onto Evandale Road and head north.
  • Proceed straight through the large roundabout where you join the Midlands Highway – ‘National Highway No. 1’
  • Follow the highway all the way into Launceston

Where to park in Hobart and Launceston

Outside the CBDs of both Hobart and Launceston you’ll find street-side parking to be plentiful and free. They are small cities and walking is an excellent option if you’d like to save a few dollars.

Car parking in Hobart

In Hobart, there are three multi-story carparks in the CBD within walking distance of Salamanca and North Hobart precincts – Centrepoint, Argyle Street, and Hobart Central.

Each offer the first 1.5hrs free (Mon-Sat), and the first 3 hours free on Sundays – how good is that?! Public toilets are also available.

👍 Pro tip

If you park in one of Hobart’s multi-story carparks, don’t forget to pay your ticket at one of the machines before getting in your car to leave, as you can’t pay at the gate! [Read more here]

Street parking is available throughout the CBD for a fee. A new high-tech system has recently been installed – EasyPark – and it allows you to pay using coins, cards or the EasyPark app. For more information and to download the app, visit the EasyPark website here.

Car parking in Launceston

EasyPark is also in use in Launceston.

There are many car parks and metered zones across the Launceston CBD.

Paterson Street East, Cimitiere Street, and Paterson Street West car parks are all conveniently located in central Launceston and are within walking distance of City Park, Royal Park and most other Launceston attractions.

If you’re planning on visiting Cataract Gorge (highly recommended!), your best parking options is at Cataract Gorge Reserve Car Park.

Launceston City Council have some terrific maps showing the locations, fees and other information for all these carparks and more, right here.

Car parking at Launceston Airpport

If you need to park your vehicle at Launceston Airport for a half-day or longer, we recommend using our partners at Launceston DriveParkFly.

They are located right next door to the airport, providing affordable parking – both open and undercover – for cars, campervans and motorhomes.

We also love that they offer a vehicle washing and detailing service – perfect if you need to give your rental vehicle a clean before returning it for the final inspection!

Use our LAPOFTAS promo code and you will SAVE 5% on their entire range of services.

Click here to check prices and make a booking.

Petrol stations near Hobart and Launceston airports

Tasmania car hire and Tasmania Campervan Hire on your Lap of Tasmania road trip

Most rental agreements ask you to return the vehicle with a full tank of fuel, so it’s best to fill up as close as possible to the drop off location. 

Both Hobart and Launceston airports have a petrol station that is only minutes away. 

This is the closest petrol station to Hobart Airport:

Name: BP Hobart Airport
Company: BP
Hours: 7 days, 24 hours
Fuels: Unleaded, Unleaded 95, BP Ultimate, BP Ultimate Diesel
Address: 3 Holyman Avenue, Cambridge, TAS, 7170 [here]

This is the closest petrol station to Launceston Airport:

Name: United Breadalbane
Company: United Petroleum
Hours: 7 days, from 6am – 10pm
Fuels: Diesel, LPG, Unleaded E10, Premium 98, Unleaded 91
Address: 1 Translink Ave, Western Junction TAS 7212 [here]

👍 Pro tip

For emergency services dial 000. It will work even if you are outside the coverage of your mobile phone provider.

11 tips and tricks for no-hassle car hire

Hiring a car is easy, and in almost all cases there is never a single problem.

By taking these 11 simple steps you minimise the chance of something going wrong in the first place, while also covering yourself in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.

  1. Always read the Terms and Conditions before booking.
  2. Inspect your vehicle and take photos on your mobile phone from all sides before driving away – even if you see nothing wrong. If anything at all that looks scratched, dented or damaged then let the agent know. This evidence could prove crucial in showing you weren’t responsible.
  3. Confirm the rules for driving on unsealed roads and in alpine regions.
  4. Ask about their process if you have a breakdown, lock your keys in the car, or are involved in an accident.
  5. Write down any emergency contact numbers, but don’t leave them in the car – we suggest your purse or wallet.
  6. Ensure your phone has mobile coverage in Tasmania.
  7. Ask what type of fuel your car takes and get the agent to show you how to open the fuel flap
  8. Check whether you need to return the car with a full tank of petrol and put a reminder in your phone for your last day, so you don’t forget.
  9. Allow time to drop off your vehicle before checking in for your plane, especially if you need a transfer from the rental office to the airport.
  10. Try to be there when the agent does the final inspection of the car, so that you can answer any questions on the spot.
  11. In most cases there won’t be any problems at all, and in that case we suggest asking for written confirmation from the rental company – this can save you a lot of trouble in the even of any confusion after you’ve returned home.

Toll fares in Tasmania

It’s pretty simple – there aren’t any!

Other useful resources

Start your Lap of Tasmania road trip!

Whether you fly in to Hobart or Launceston, it’s easy to start your Lap of Tasmania road trip.

Hobart

You can easily spend a couple of days in Hobart exploring its incredible history, vibrant markets and gastronomic delights [read more]

Launceston and the Tamar Valley

Launceston – ‘Lonnie’ to the locals – is Tasmania’s second largest city and it is your gateway to the wineries, restaurants and natural beauty of the iconic Tamar Valley [read more]

14-Day Itinerary

If you’re looking for an overview of all the sights, accommodation and dining options along the route, we recommend starting with our Lap of Tasmania 14-day itinerary. We call it the ‘Ultimate’ because it lets you experience everything this amazing island has to offer at a leisurely pace.

If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to get in touch, either by email at andrew@lapoftasmania.com.au or at our friendly Facebook Group [click here].

Happy road tripping!

Andrew.

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Dog and bear in suitcase - Lap of Tasmania Road trip