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Thursday 21 March 2019

What the Tasmanian tourism industry doesn't tell you

Bus services are good in Hobart
Tasmania is a hugely popular tourism destination for both domestic and international visitors. 

It has beautiful scenery, a thriving wine and food culture and amazing wilderness experiences.  

But if you want to explore any more of Tasmania than downtown Hobart and Launceston then you'll either need to bring your own vehicle over on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, or rent a car on arrival. 

The bad news is that car rentals can be expensive in Tasmania, as it petrol, and that cars can be in short supply in peak periods. 

But you are quite happy to use public transport, you say. That would be fine, except Tasmania has hardly any public transport infrastructure. 

Trains? No commercial services at all. None. Nada. 

Trams: Not a sausage. Zero. 

Light rail: There have been years of debate about whether to build light rail between the Hobart waterfront and North Hobart. So far, nothing has happened. 

Buses: A few in the two major cities and surrounds, but very few to regional areas or between cities. 

The state government is putting a lot of effort into promoting the Huon Valley region south of Hobart after recent fires. 

Should you wish to visit the town of Cygnet, with its art galleries, cafes and waterfront bird reserve, there are three buses a day from Hobart. Three. That's it. Miss a bus and you have a four-hour wait. 

Travelling from Cygnet back to Hobart? Your choices are the 10.25am, or the 2.31pm, which doesn't go all the way to Hobart. That's it. 

Thinking about taking a bus from Hobart to the much-promoted seaside town of Strahan, on the West Coast? 

A West Coast to Hobart trip goes via the north coast and is a minimum 23-hour trip, involving an overnight stay en route. 

Even a trip between the two biggest cities is a chore. There are two, or a maximum of three, coach journeys each day between Hobart and Launceston. 

The message to tourists visiting clean and green Tasmania is clear. Hire a car - and book well in advance.


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