There are around 100 flights per day between mainland Australia and Tasmania. But flying isn’t the only way to get across the Bass Strait! The Spirit of Tasmania sails up to twice per day between Melbourne and Devonport.
The trip takes around 10 hours – 9 hours longer than the plane. But the cruise is an experience in itself. The Spirit of Tasmania is also convenient if you need to transport large goods – such as a car – to Tasmania. Both night and daytime sailings are offered.
On board, it’s reasonably comfortable. There is a restaurant, as well as two cinemas and a gaming lounge. Wifi is available for an additional charge of $18 per trip.
Tickets start at $79 but additional charges apply to reserve a seat or cabin. Recliner seats are available for $39 but if you’re planning to get some sleep, you’ll probably want a bed in a cabin. Shared cabins start at $30, and there are various different options right through to the deluxe private cabin for $368. There is also an additional charge of $99 to bring a car on board the Spirit of Tasmania with you.
Several AFF members have crossed the Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania. They warn that sailing conditions can be rough, which can make it difficult to sleep.
If you have time do the day crossing, I never find I sleep much and wrecks me for the next day if it’s a rough crossing and let’s remember the Bass Strait is the worlds roughest piece of water! It just creates a gentle roll that I find hard to sleep with personally.
ramboflyer has used the Spirit of Tasmania numerous times and enjoys the experience. This member recommends opting for a cabin.
Being a local I have used the Spirit about 6 times in the past few years. The ships have been updated and it is quite the fun experience. Living in Hobart it’s much more convenient to do the night sailing so I have not done a daytime trip. Highly recommend paying for a cabin rather than a free seat if you want to be fresh when you get off to drive.
The boarding and departing bits are pretty stress free and once you put an overnight bag in your cabin you can relax with a drink before dinner. Dinner is a buffet with good choices at reasonable prices.
If you’re transporting a vehicle across the Bass Strait, the Spirit of Tasmania is a logical choice. It could also be convenient (and cheaper than flying) if you specifically need to travel between Melbourne and Devonport. And of course, you may choose to take the cruise for the experience. But if your final destination is Hobart, you’ll still be driving for another 3-4 hours after getting off the ferry.
In most cases, it’s both quicker and cheaper to fly between Tasmania and the mainland. Both Jetstar and Tigerair regularly offer flights between Melbourne and Hobart, for example, at under $50 one-way.
Have you used the Spirit of Tasmania? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Using TT Line Spirit of Tasmania ferry