I found wheelchair accessible transport in Tasmania pretty limited. There is no train network in Tasmania therefore the public transport system rely’s on their bus network Metro Tasmania. The City of Hobart offer low floor Metro bus services that are wheelchair accessible via a ramp for passengers using mobility aids , however not all routes are serviced by accessible buses. therefore passengers must plan their trip in advance to ensure accessibility. I did not use the Metro Tasmania bus service during our stay, so I can not comment on its wheelchair accessibility. Another Transport option to get around Tasmania is to hop on a Coach service. I believe Redline Coaches offer long distance and regional services with wheelchair accessible coaches available on the network. Again not all coaches on the fleet have wheelchair access so passengers who require an accessible coach must inform them at the time of booking to ensure the correct coach with the wheelchair lift is allocated to your journey. The Redline Coaches did not operate to where we were visiting, so we had no need to try their service.. I found the only accessible way for us to really get around Hobart and Tasmania was via taxi or to rent a car.
While in Tasmania of cause we wanted to check out a few places outside of Hobart. I really had my heart set on visiting Port Arthur and seeing the Historic site. The Port Arthur Historic Site is one of the main attractions in Tasmania and is a must see during any Tasmania adventure! Read my full review on Wheelchair Access at Port Arthur Historic Site here.
We decided the most easiest option would be to hop on a tour bus down to Port Arthur. There are a number of tour company’s that depart from Hobart to Port Arthur Historic site. But after a lot of investigation I learnt nearly all of the tour shuttles weren’t wheelchair accessible. The only accessible tour bus to Port Arthur was on Grayline tours. I was informed they only had one accessible bus on Tasmania, but if passengers book ahead of time and inform them a wheelchair accessible bus is needed they can make sure they use that bus for their booking, Sadly though the accessible bus was already booked out for the entire month of December for an event, so the Grayline Port Arthur Historic Tour wasn’t an option for me at that time.
Because we were unable to do a Port Arthur tour with a tour company due to the limited number of accessible shuttles operating. the only other option we had was to drive there. I got a few quotes for a taxi from Hobart to Port Arthur, and of cause this was extremely expensive ranging from $500-600 return. We then decided to look into renting out a car for the whole duration of our stay, which would turn out actually a cheaper option then a taxi, and with our own car we could then go at our own pace and see a few other places too. The idea of hiring an accessible car quickly lead to disappointment as I soon discovered there is a shortage on accessible car rentals in Tasmania as well. The only wheelchair accessible hire car I could find was through a company called Wheelie Vans Rentals. After contacting them I was informed their modified accessible vehicle was sadly already booked out during our week in Tassie even though it was still 6 months away. Wheelie Vans Rentals offer Modified Wheelchair Accessible vehicles for hire across Australia and seem to be the best option for those looking to rent an accessible car while in Hobart.
Because we were out of transport options we then decided to rent a non accessible Kia Carnival. We decided on a Kia Carnival because the Carnivals have a fair amount of room in the back to store the wheelchair. Being an unmodified vehicle wasn’t an ideal option but we had no choice. The main issue with an unmodified car is getting my wheelchair in and out of the boot safely. We contacted Qantas to see if we could bring our portable wheelchair ramp to get the wheelchair in and out of the car, Qantas were great and didn’t have an issue with us bringing our car ramps on the plane. To read the full Qantas review please click here.
Once it was confirmed we could bring our portable ramp with us to use for the car, I contacted Thrifty at Hobart airport and explained the situation to them. The team at Thrifty Hobart Airport were great and didn’t have an issue with me storing my wheelchair in the back of the vehicle, they made sure the Kia Carnival was available for our booking and also ensured the back seats were folded down so we could put the wheelchair in the boot on arrival.
Getting the wheelchair in the back wasn’t as easy as we hoped. It was certainly a two man job, but luckily with both Nicky and mums great team work they managed to get my wheelchair in and out. It certainty wasn’t the best option and I wouldn’t recommend it to most electric wheelchair users, but in our situation and because my wheelchair is fairly small we made do. This was our first time renting a car and driving in a different state. Nicky was nominated to be the driver during our trip. and she did such a wonderful job too!
I am so glad we ended up hiring a car during our stay in Tasmania as it gave as so much freedom to explore, but I would of rathered an accessible car as it would of made it a lot more easier and safer getting in and out of the car for everyone.
I believe the best option for those visiting Tasmania is to rent a car because of the limited accessible transport options. If visitors need an accessible modified car they will need to book It well in advance. Visit Wheelie van rentals for more information.
In my opinion I give Hobart Transport a rating of 1 for wheelchair accessibility due to the limited options in wheelchair accessible public transport, rental vehicles and Tour shuttles.
The drive down to Port Arthur from Hobart was fairly easy and very beautiful, therefore I give the drive 4 stars for the overall experience of driving our Thrifty non accessible rental car to Port Arthur.
* I was not financially compensated for this review. The review is based on my own opinion and personal experience.*