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Explore Launceston with car hire from DriveNow
Launceston may be Tasmania’s second largest city but it certainly has enough attractions to rival its big sister Hobart down south. To start with, Launceston harbours some of Australia’s finest heritage buildings, showcasing architectural styles from the Georgian era through to Federation. The city is also home to a wonderful museum and it has an historic brewery open to the public every day of the week.
Whether you procure a car rental in Launceston or collect the keys to a Launceston Airport car hire, having your own vehicle gives you immediate access to the trip you want to take. Hit the road and head for Cradle Mountain and all its gorgeous scenery or set course for the Tamar Valley Wine Route, which will take you through Tasmania’s premiere wine region. Pick up some of your favourite reds and whites to take back home and share with friends. And take full advantage of your time in Tasmania by making tracks for Hobart. The state capital has much to offer, including the intriguing MONA museum, beautiful Bruny Island, and fantastic food and drink options that are sure to cater to any diet. Tasmania is your oyster with car hire in Launceston.
To top it all off, barely ten minutes west of Launceston is the beautiful Cataract Gorge, a peaceful wilderness with a seasonal free swimming pool, tranquil walking trails, a scenic suspension bridge, and the world’s longest single span chairlift.
Sound impressive? Come discover Launceston for yourself.
Read on to learn more about one of Australia’s oldest cities, and get some tips to make the most of your Launceston hire car. We share with you our top hotels in Launceston, where to eat, as well as our favourite things to see and do.
Compare Cheap Car Hire in Launceston with DriveNow
To get the most out of your trip, you’re going to need a dependable set of wheels. That’s where DriveNow comes in. Our car hire at Launceston Airport gives you an easy, affordable way to choose a car that will suit your needs. Prefer to pick up the keys from a city depot? We offer you the ability to compare cheap car hire from Launceston as well.
Using our automated service, you can compare the best of what’s around to make a decision based on a variety of important factors. We’ve spent more than 10 years developing rock-solid relationships with some of the most popular car hire companies in the world, including Thrifty, Europcar, Hertz, Budget, and Avis. That means their best offerings are available to you with just a few clicks of the mouse. Browse the makes and models of cheap hire cars at Launceston Airport from popular manufacturers, and decide on the vehicle that best suits your needs and budget. And don’t worry about hidden fees, as the prices you see are the prices you pay.
Why Book Car Rental in Launceston with DriveNow?
- We partner with globally recognised brands you know and trust
- Free booking service with no fees or charges
- 100% Australian owned & operated
- Impartial and instant rate comparison – see how each rental company stacks up
- Pay when you collect the vehicle, not when you book
- Our drive-away rates include all taxes and levies (excludes young driver surcharge)
- We’ve been comparing the prices of rental cars in Launceston since 2003
Picking up Your Car Hire from Launceston Airport? Here’s What You Need to Know
201 Evandale Rd, Western Junction TAS 7212
Telephone: +61 3 6391 6222
Launceston Airport is located approximately 15km south of the city centre
No. of Terminals: 1
Timezone: GMT/UTC +11:00
Launceston Airport (LST) is a popular gateway to Tasmania, with regular flights operating between the terminal and the three largest cities on Australia’s eastern seaboard: Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
With DriveNow, you have the flexibility of being able to organise your rental to suit your travel plans. Compare prices for car hire at Launceston Airport or if you’d prefer, book a Launceston car rental from the city centre. The choice is entirely up to you.
For those opting for the convenience of a Launceston Airport car hire, your holiday can begin as soon as you collect your vehicle. We compare prices from Australia’s most trusted car rental brands to bring you the best deals, with rates from leading suppliers such as Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot, and Thrifty.
Launceston Airport has just one terminal so finding your way around is easy. The airport car hire service desks are all located adjacent to the arrivals area whilst rental cars are parked in the lot to your left as you exit the terminal.
Once you’re safely buckled up in your hire car, take Evandale Road out onto National Highway 1. Launceston is a mere 15km to the north and the drive usually takes no more than 15 minutes as Tasmanian traffic is blissfully light.
Launceston is best explored by car - just be mindful of one-way streets in the city. A rental car provides you with the freedom to travel on your own time. It also affords you the opportunity to go to destinations farther afield such as magnificent Devonport and the charming towns of Burnie and Wynyard.
Where to Stay in Launceston
With the money you’ve saved on cheap car hire with DriveNow, you can splash out on the best hotels Launceston has to offer. If you’re only in town for a short time, then we recommend staying in the compact city centre. Otherwise, consider spending a few nights at a charming property in the captivating Tamar Valley, in pristine Coles Bay or by the spectacular Bay of Fires.
Cars are the most popular form of transport in Tasmania so parking is plentiful. Within Launceston city limits however, most public car spaces are metered or require drivers to display a voucher on the dashboard. Fortunately, the cost of parking in Launceston is relatively low compared to Australian cities on the mainland while traffic congestion on the island is virtually non-existent.
Best Places to Stay in Launceston
The Sebel Launceston
The Sebel Launceston stands out for more reasons than one. Firstly, its oversized guest suites are housed in a modern structure of concrete and glass, in stark contrast to its red-brick 19th century neighbours. Secondly, it’s been one of Launceston’s leading contemporary hotels since 2006, when it first opened its doors. Thirdly, the property has a great onsite restaurant. Did we also mention that it’s just up the road from the James Boag brewery?
Peppers Seaport Hotel
Built on the city’s old dry dock, the waterfront Peppers Seaport Hotel features a fresh take on the traditional nautical theme. The hotel exterior subtly resembles a ship, while inside you’ll find soft blue feature walls and hanging black-and-white photographs of Launceston’s old harbour. Enjoy your morning coffee while watching the wharf wake up, or sample some of Tasmania’s most superb wines at the onsite restaurant.
Two Four Two
This darling little boutique hotel occupies a highly coveted location on trendy Charles Street alongside an old-fashioned grocer, artisanal pasta merchant, and specialty delicatessen. Luckily for guests, each of the stylish apartments at Two Four Two comes with a fully equipped kitchen so they can enjoy the island state’s gourmet goodies in comfort and privacy. Wash it all down with a local wine - you’ll find a selection of bottles in your room, along with espresso coffee, French teas and homemade biscuits.
Spectacular Destinations Farther Afield
As mentioned before, if you plan to stay a little longer in Tasmania’s north, you would do well to consider the Tamar Valley. From Launceston, follow the majestic Tamar River all the way to the Bass Strait, passing vineyards, orchards and pastures. This scenic drive covers 140km in total and can be done in a day or three. En route, you could stop to pick sweet strawberries at Hillwood Berry Farm, sip a premium Pinot Noir at Native Point, and see the world’s smallest penguins at Low Head Coastal Reserve. If we had to choose a place to overnight, it would be at the romantic Federation-style Pomona Spa Cottages in Beauty Point, which offers accommodation in three cute cottages with panoramic views of the surrounding area.
Alternatively, head to the east coast which is home to the dazzling Bay of Fires, where you can participate in the award-winning Bay of Fires Lodge Walk. This multi-day journey allows visitors to immerse themselves completely in the natural beauty of Tasmania’s most dramatic coastline without sacrificing on creature comforts. Tours depart daily from Launceston between October and May.
Two hours’ by road south-east of Launceston, there’s Coles Bay, gateway to Tasmania’s unspoilt Freycinet Peninsula. This is where you’ll find iconic Wineglass Bay, a flawless curve of white sand lapped by gleaming blue waters.
If you have the cash, don’t miss a stay at the outstanding Saffire Freycinet. This remarkable stingray-shaped luxury lodge is nestled discreetly in the lush vegetation of the Freycinet Peninsula and treats its guests to a range of signature experiences including a visit to the local oyster farm. It also has its own Tasmanian devil enclosure.
Saffire Freycinet, a lodge like no other
Top Things to Do in Launceston
A DriveNow rental car offers the most convenient way to explore Launceston and the bucolic landscapes of Tasmania’s north. However, if you aren’t staying long, read on to discover the ultimate things to do in and around Launceston.
Park the car and take to the streets of Launceston’s pocket-sized city centre on foot. Walking is the best way to appreciate the wonderfully preserved 19th century streetscape. There are three interesting and easy routes ranging from 30 to 90 minutes, all starting from Civic Square near the stately Town Hall. These walks take in significant buildings such as the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery, the largest Australian museum outside of a capital city - and an excellent one at that - with its array of exhibits showcasing Tasmanian convict and natural history.
A spooky ghost tour is another great way to learn about Launceston’s convict past. Wander haunted alleyways in the evening with a guide who will regale you with hair-raising true stories of murder and crime. Who knows, you might even meet some of the city’s notorious former residents!
If you’re wondering what the heady, buttery aroma permeating the streets is, head over to the James Boag Brewery on William Street. Guided tours of this facility, established by James Boag and his son in 1881, operate 7 days a week. Learn about the intricacies of brewing and enjoy a generous free tasting session at the end. Just remember to leave your Launceston car hire back at the hotel.
Cataract Gorge is also well worth a visit, with its comprehensive network of nature trails where you can stretch your legs, savour the fresh air and perhaps even encounter a native animal or two. If you’d prefer to take it easy, there’s a scenic chairlift as well as a cafe where you can enjoy tea and scones amid preening peacocks. In warmer months, take a dip in the pool at First Basin or attend a concert - there are plenty of outdoor events held here in spring and summer. This expansive piece of wilderness is just 10 minutes by car outside of the city centre, with plenty of visitor parking available.
The picturesque Tamar Valley is an ideal trip out of town if you have a full day or more to spare. There are two roads leading from Launceston to George Town - one on the east and the other on the west side of the Tamar River. Drive north on one side and return along the other to make the most of the scenery and prepare for frequent stops: there are just so many viewpoints and pretty villages en route. If you get hungry or thirsty, this rich agricultural area is foodie heaven. Expect to find nuts, lavender, berries, apples, beer, cider, cool-climate vintages and even truffles as well as many food producers keen to share the fruits of their labour.
Families with children will enjoy visiting the Hillwood Berry Farm on the eastern shore, where kids can pick their own strawberries when in season. The unique Seahorse World at Beauty Point is also very popular. A working seahorse farm, this facility operates guided tours that shed light on the life and behaviour of these mysterious marine creatures, concluding with an exciting opportunity to hold one in your hand.
Our Favourite Restaurants in Launceston
Thanks to its pure waters and pristine soils, Launceston’s dining scene has always packed a big punch relative to the city’s small size. Here are some of our top places to grab a bite:
Stillwater offers inventive fine dining in a casual yet remarkably elegant space within a handsome 19th century building once used as a mill. Menus at this much awarded restaurant change regularly to make the most of ingredients in season. Regional items such as smoked Huon salmon, Cape Grim beef and Tasmanian black-lipped abalone often feature as the hero of a dish so support the local economy by eating up!
This cool yet relaxed dining space directly beneath the Peppers Seaport Hotel on the old Launceston wharf plates up international classics with a twist paired with superb Tasmanian wines. Meals are pricey but it’s top quality you’re paying for. MudBar Restaurant is where you’ll find Launceston’s finest cuts of meat, the plumpest oysters, and the freshest in seasonal produce. Be sure to book or you’ll have to line up alongside the locals to get into this coveted establishment.
Burger Got Soul
Almost directly opposite the TwoFourTwo boutique apartments, this cosy Charles Street digs excels at three things: burgers, chips, and shakes. Customers have a choice of chicken, beef, vegie or lamb patties, grilled to perfection and slipped into a soft bun. Burger Got Soul sides are refreshingly simple: you only have the option of thick-cut seasoned chips, hash browns or beer-battered onion rings. The stars of their drinks menu are the Soulshakes, made of ice cream, syrup and icy cold milk. Load up on napkins - don’t say you weren’t warned.
Black Cow Bistro
Another for the carnivores. This chic steakhouse is located in an Art Deco building - fittingly once a butcher’s shop - on George Street. Tasmanians take great pride in their local produce and the team which run the Black Cow Bistro are no exception. The menu is a showcase of premium dry aged, free range, grass fed, hormone-free Tassie beef, while the wine list overflows with quality Tasmanian reds and whites. You won’t find a better steak elsewhere.
Launceston’s Best Fresh Food Market
So you want to get your hands on some of that glorious Tasmanian produce every restaurant in town is showing off? Then look no further than the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market. Held every Saturday morning in a nondescript carpark on Cimitiere Street in the city, this vibrant weekly gathering of farmers and artisan food producers brings the farm direct to you.
Start the morning with a freshly brewed locally roasted coffee and eat your way around the Apple Isle’s many regions. The market brims with everything from homemade cakes and pastries to organic dairy products and ethically farmed meats.
For such as small city, Launceston sure has a lot going on. These are just a few of the bigger events that take place during the year.
This long-running event is designed to showcase Tasmania’s best food, wine, beer, arts and entertainment - take pity on the judges. Held in Launceston’s attractive City Park which is home to a Japanese macaque enclosure and three toy trains, Festivale’s three-day program is designed for playful indulgence. Mingle with expert chefs, vintners and like-minded epicures as you soak up the festive ambience.
Yorktown Night Market
Held only during the spring and summer months, this vibrant market in handsome Yorktown Square spills over with multicultural gourmet delights with everything from Vietnamese pho to American-style sliders and fried chicken. Yorktown Night Market operates on the last Friday of every month between September and April.
AFL Live Matches
There’s nothing quite like watching professional athletes battle it out in front of a crowd of screaming fans. Put on your footy colours and support your team or just come and experience the rush of a live AFL match between two top level football teams. Games are played at the University of Tasmania Stadium north of the city centre. Visit the AFL website for fixtures.
Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) Film Festival
The state’s biggest annual film festival, BOFA has something for every film buff and moviegoer from thought-provoking documentaries to cooking shows and light-hearted family flicks. This unique event is held in various venues throughout Launceston and allows visitors to book tickets to one movie or several.
So get the most out of your Launceston holiday by booking a quality rental car on DriveNow. We offer the best deals on cheap car rental in Launceston from the most respected car hire companies in Australia.