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.
2nd May 2011 at 10:38 am #
We’ve just come back from a trip with our bikes on the Spirit of Tassie. Bikes get loaded on via the passenger entrance and tied to a gang-ramp. You can leave your luggage on the bike or take as much gear up to your cabin as you like. Disregard the notes on your booking that says you can only have 2 pieces of luggage – this is for checked in suitcases that get stored on a luggage rack. No damage to our bikes though we were lucky enough to have a calm crossing. There were 4 bikes strapped together on our retun trip so if you’re concerned about your bike getting knocked around take some packing material or leave the bags on as padding. The Quanrantine Beagle is very good at what he does… he stopped at our Pannier that we usually use to carry our bananas in!
6th September 2011 at 3:53 am #
I can confirm this! I had the same experience in November 2010, The ferry service is excellent and quite enjoyable.