The Spirit of Tasmania is a large car and passenger ferry that runs daily between Melbourne, on Australia’s south coast, and Devonport in northern Tasmania.
Taking your bike on board is both cheap and easy. It’s just A$5 each way to book a space for your bicycle and you can pay for this online when you buy your tickets.
Passenger fares aren’t quite so cheap – about A$300 return for you and your bicycle, give or take a few dollars depending on the season. To pay the lowest price, go for a deck ticket on a day sailing. On overnight journeys, you’ll have to pay at least for a reclining seat.
The seats aren’t very comfortable and if there aren’t many people, you may get away with stretching out on the floor in your seating area. Bring a sleeping mat and hope you get the chance to use it. It’s technically not allowed to stretch out on the floor but we weren’t bothered by anyone when we tried it.
Blankets and pillows are provided so you can leave the sleeping bag in your panniers.
Definitely book ahead during peak travel times like Christmas and through school holidays but demand is relatively low the rest of the year.
Once on board, you’ll find a few cafes, restaurants (the cheapest one has a buffet for A$15/plate), a tourist office and internet at a pricey A$15/hour.
To save money, you’ll want to pack a lunch but don’t bring any fruit or vegetables that you won’t eat before getting off the boat. You’ll have to dump all your leftovers in the quarantine bin when you leave the ferry.
One final note: the crossing has a reputation for being rough so bring seasickness pills.
You can book on the Spirit of Tasmania website.