When planning our trip to Tasmania we knew one thing for sure: we take the ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania. We love to sail because it means slow travel and it’s also the best option for us as we travel with our camper. But even travelers without a vehicle should think about sailing instead of flying. Why? It’s more fun, it’s adventurous and it’s such a great feeling when the ship is leaving port and you see the skyline of Melbourne slowly disappear at the horizon.
Spirit of Tasmania – The ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania
Yes, sailing with the ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania is an adventure. It takes much longer than flying but it is much more fun. Should you plan to visit Tassie, we highly recommend booking the ferry to Tasmania. We don’t say that because we were invited by Spirit of Tasmania, we say that because we mean it. We loved it so much that we did the trip twice. The first time in 2014 and this year we did it again. Isn’t that proof that it’s great to sail on the ferry to Tasmania?
Spirit of Tasmania I, the ship we are booked on, leaves at 9.30 am. We are looking forward to the trip. We know what to expect and we can’t wait to board the ship.
Check-in begins 2.5 hours before departure. The day before we are sailing, Spirit of Tasmania sent us a text message saying that heavy traffic is expected on the day of travel. We get up early and arrive at the harbor at 6 am. When we arrive we realize why we got a text message. There are two big cruise ships moored up in the port of Melbourne. We’re glad that we’re here so early.
Even if it’s a busy morning, everything runs smooth and efficient. And hey, getting to the port early is well worth it. We are vehicle number five in line.
After presenting our ID at the check-in counter, we get our room keys. We have to wait a bit before we can drive onto the ship. Finally, we get the ok to drive on board the Spirit of Tasmania. Wow! This is the first time for our camper Taku on a big ferry.
After we park our vehicle we first go to Deck 7 and get some brochures about Tasmania at the information center. We’ve got plenty of time when sailing to study the brochures and make travel plans. Then, we check out our cabin and then head to the upper deck. We don’t want to miss the moment when Spirit of Tasmania ferry is leaving the port of Melbourne.
Bye Melbourne – See you in five weeks
The ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania is leaving the mainland of Australia. We have our camera ready to take pictures of the skyline that slowly disappears in the distance. It’s chilly and windy but we love it. We’re totally excited. Tassie we’re coming!
But now it’s time for breakfast and a nice cup of cappuccino. We go to the TMK Restaurant on Deck 7. TMK stands for Tasmanian Market Kitchen. We’re browsing the buffet and go for a nice egg and bacon sandwich. While enjoying our brekkie we watch out to the sea and feel happy. We can’t wait to explore more of Tasmania.
We mentioned it before; it’s our second trip on the ferry to Tasmania. Four years ago we were already sailing from Melbourne to Tasmania with Spirit of Tasmania. After boarding we searched and found a comfortable place in the lounge. We brought enough food and books to read. But well, we did not even manage to read a single page of our books. Why? Because we met super nice Australians with whom we talked all the way from Melbourne to Devonport in Tasmania. Crazy, but the 10 hours flew by so quickly. The coolest thing is that we’re still in touch with them and we’ve visited them beginning of this year on the mainland.
We have our own cabin – That’s luxury
Everything is different this time. We have our own cabin with a porthole. We absolutely love it. We can relax and watch the world go by. Our cabin is not big but compared to our camper it’s huge. We are used to limited space living in our camper. And now, we have a room with two comfortable beds, a table, a chair, electricity, a toilet and a shower. That’s pure luxury.
A cabin has the big advantage that we can lie down, relax and get away from the crowds. Well, it’s great that we have experienced both ways of travelling on the ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania.
Time flies and it’s already time for lunch. From our cabin it’s just a short walk to TMK restaurant. The variety is great. We can choose from various salads and as a main we go for fish and chips. The chicken looks yummie too. It’s pretty hard not eating too much. But the best is the chocolate fudge for dessert. But now we have to hurry. It’s time to get to Deck 9.
Encounter with the sister ship Spirit of Tasmania II
We are sailing on Spirit of Tasmania I. After boarding the captain announced that we will pass the sister ship at about 1:30 pm. We don’t want to miss that moment and armed with our SLR camera and Smartphone, we go to Deck 9 right after lunch. We look around but can’t see another ship. Suddenly, we spot a tiny speck on the horizon. That’s her. That’s Spirit of Tasmania II, which travels from Devonport to Melbourne.
The encounter with the sister ship is also a sign that we are already halfway through the trip. It’s time to go back to the cabin and enjoy the tranquility.
Land is in sight about nine hours after we left Melbourne. Almost there. We’re heading to Deck 9 and enjoy the slow arrival with the ferry in Tasmania. The sun is shining and the colors are so intense.
Way too fast the time has gone by. We could have easily spent another few hours or days on the ship.
We think that whether people travel with or without their own vehicle, the trip by ferry to Tasmania is a great way to travel. Unfortunately it is not cheap but definitely more interesting than flying.
On the return trip we were lucky and we had a smooth sailing too. The trip was as enjoyable as the one a few weeks ago.
We are very happy that we had the chance to visit Tasmania a second time. We love all about the island. Tassie people are super friendly, the landscape is fascinating and the food is excellent.
Mini Cruise: Ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania
Melbourne is 429 kilometers away from Devonport on Tasmania. The crossing from the mainland to the island takes between 9 to 11 hours. Too long? No, not at all. Time flies on the ship. There are plenty of options for guests on Spirit of Tasmania.
If you want to relax you have several options where to sit. If you want entertainment you can enjoy live music, go to the cinema, check out the reading room or play some video games in the video playroom. And, kids can have fun in the Kids Play Areas.
On Deck 7, check out the information center where you can stock up on brochures. The friendly staff can give you tips about activities and national parks.
If you need internet, you can buy WiFi for a fee. One hour costs AUD 6 / CHF 4.50 / EUR 3.80 per hour or AUD 18 / CHF 13.40 / EUR 11.50 for the entire duration of the trip. WiFi is available in public areas on Deck 7, 8 (Recliners), 9 and 10.
How about food? There are different options if you’re hungry. In the TMK restaurant you will find breakfast and lunch buffets, drinks and snacks. Snacks are served in The Pantry as well or go to one of the bars on board.
Spirit of Tasmania – Interesting facts
- 1400 people
- 500 vehicles
- 222 cabins
- 121 recliners (comfortable seats)
The average speed is 50 km/h.
How much does the sailing cost?
- A ticket for a trip on Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania (Devonport) and back costs around AUD 198 / CHF 147 / EUR 126 per person.
- A porthole private cabin with shower, window and two single beds costs about AUD 180 / CHF 135 / EUR 115 and an inside cabin with shower and bunk beds costs about AUD 132 / CHF 99 / EUR 84.
The price structure is complex. It consists of passenger fee (day or night trip), vehicle fee and cabin fee and varies by season and size of vehicle.
Find details about the sailings, current offers, prices and sailing schedules here: Official website of Spirit of Tasmania
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Would you fly or do you prefer the slower travel option to sail with the ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania?
Disclaimer: Thank you to Spirit of Tasmania who invited us to this trip. We guarantee our readers that our opinion is not affected by the invitation. We write what we think.