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Can I Take My Rental Car on a Ferry in Australia?

Ferry travel in Australia guide banner

Are you planning a weekend getaway to Fraser Island? Or taking a day trip from Melbourne to Phillip Island? While some of Australia's islands are accessible by road, others are not. VroomVroomVroom has put together a guide to visiting some of Australia's most popular islands with a rental car.

Bruny Island

Bruny Island is a popular destination for visitors to Tasmania. With unique wildlife, renowned wineries and spectacular scenery, it isn't difficult to see why the island is so popular.

car-icon.png The best place to pick up your rental car is Hobart. VroomVroomVroom compares car rental prices at Hobart Airport and city locations. It is about a 30 minute drive to the ferry crossing at Kettering from Hobart.

Read more about taking a rental car to Bruny Island.

Phillip Island

Phillip Island is easily accessible by road. You can visit the famous local penguins on Phillip Island without the need to take a ferry. Beyond the wildlife, there is also plenty of picturesque coastal scenery to discover.

Collect your rental car in Melbourne. From the city it is close to a two hour drive to the island. You'll need to cross the bridge at San Remo to reach the island.

Read more about taking a rental car to Phillip Island.

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is a paradise for hikers, with miles of scenic hiking trails across the island's national park. There is also some of the best diving sites in Australia located around the island.

Pick up your car from Townsville, and take some time to explore the mainland before heading out to Magnetic Island. Note that only some car rental companies will allow their vehicles to be taken on the Fantasea Ferry.

Read more about taking a rental car to Magnetic Island.

Queenscliff

Because Queenscliff is not a separate Island, the ferry that operates Sorrento to Queenscliff is classified as part of the Australian road network and therefore accessible for rental cars. Make sure to double check with the car rental company when it comes to things like this to avoid any unwanted surprises.

You can either fly into Melbourne and pick up your car rental there or pick it up in Mornington and drive around to Sorrento and then across Port Phillip Port to Queenscliff.​

Read more about taking a rental car to Queenscliff.

Kangaroo Island

Just off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is a highlight of any trip to Australia. Take some of the hiking trails in Flinders Chase National Park to discover some of the best scenery the country has to offer.

You can choose to pick up your rental car on Kangaroo Island. There are depots located at the airport and the ferry terminal on the island. Alternatively, some car rental companies will allow their vehicles to be taken over from the mainland with prior authorisation.

Read more about taking your rental car to Kangaroo Island.

Moreton Island

Moreton Island is located off the coast of Brisbane ​and is the third largest sand island in the world, with 98% of it being a national park.​ Some of the popular activities you and your family can enjoy on Moreton include snorkelling, scuba diving, camping, stargazing, bushwalking, beachcombing, stand-up paddleboarding, and sandboarding.

You are not allowed to take your hire car to Moreton because the island is almost completely sand. However, you can choose to book a car from Brisbane​ going to Holt Street Wharf in Pinkenba. Since there are no sealed roads on Moreton and the only access is by boat or ferry, a 4WD with high clearance is the best option​.​ Note that a vehicle access permit​ ​which amounts to $52.75 (1 month or less) ​must be obtained before driving on Moreton Island.​

Restricted islands

Car rental companies do not allow their vehicles to be taken to some Australian islands. For example, travel is not permitted to Fraser Island. To drive on Fraser Island, visitors would need to hire a special 4x4 vehicle from a local provider.

Other islands where you are generally not permitted to drive include the Whitsunday Islands, Lizard Island, Fitzroy Island, Lord Howe Island, and Rottnest Island.

If you are travelling on other vehicle ferry services in Australia, you will need to check the terms and conditions of your depot. Some car rental companies now allow their vehicles to be taken on the Queenscliff vehicle ferry in Victoria, while others still restrict most ferry travel.

Important

Before you take your rental car on a ferry . . .

Make sure you check the terms and conditions of your car rental agreement before you take your rental car on a ferry to any Australian islands. While travel is permitted to some islands, usually it is only with prior authorisation from the car rental company. In some cases, travel on a ferry may void any insurance you have on your vehicle, leaving you responsible for paying any damage costs.