So you are considering travelling on the Spirit of Tasmania. No doubt you have looked online and completed a quote only to realise the Spirit of Tasmania can be a little expensive. Don’t panic, we can help you with lots of money saving tips and show you how easy it is to prepare your caravan and family for the Spirit of Tasmania.
Why should I go to Tasmania?
Because you need to see how AMAZING it is for yourself. Tasmania is my favourite state (so far). The scenery is so diverse with green lush dense forests in the west vs white sandy beaches with turquoise coloured water on the east. There’s so much to see and eat with an adventure around every corner. The best part about Tasmania is the amount of free camping. You could literally come to Tasmania and free camp for your whole stay.
How long should you allow to see Tasmania;
Tasmania might be a small state but it’s jam packed with things to see and do. We met a lot of travellers that said they wished they had allowed more time so they didn’t feel rushed. We spent 5 months in Tasmania which allowed us a month to sit and work. If you only have a 2-4 weeks to explore this amazing state then pick an area that you want to see. You don’t want to be rushing to fit everything in. My recommendation to anyone that really wants to savour Tasmania and everything it has to offer than 10-12 weeks would be an ideal time.
How to reduce the Spirit of Tasmania cost
Travelling over to Tasmania on the Spirit of Tasmania can cost quite a bit of money. The pricing is based on dates, the number of people travelling, seat vs cabin cost, height and length of vehicle/caravan and night/day travel. Make sure you know the exact length of your caravan as that changes your costs considerably. If you’re flexible with dates then perhaps play around with the online booking system and see if you can reduce the costs.
$2200 is a lot of money!
Book early and save!
This is a difficult one for travellers as they don’t necessarily know when they can travel. But my advice would be to make a travel plan and book your trip. To get the best price you should try to book as early as you can. We booked 4 months in advance and were happy with our price. We looked at the pricing closer to our travel date and we saved hundreds of dollars. If you can, then book 6 months in advance to save money. The Spirit of Tasmania has deals all the time. So don’t forget to sign up to their newsletter, follow their Facebook page. You can check their website to see what discounts are available the time you are wanting to travel.
Cabin Vs Recliner
Travelling as a family meant that we want a cabin. It was more comfortable and we enjoyed having our own space. But if you want to save money then book a recliner.
We were really comfortable in our air-conditioned cabin. There was enough room to move around and not feel squished. We had a 4 berth cabin and chose to be in the middle of the boat to save money rather than having a window (not much to see in the dark). The top bunk railing was pretty small and I would be very careful putting a young child up there.
Included in the cabin are bedding (sheets, blanket, pillows), towels and soap.
Day sailing Vs Night sailing
Night sailing was really lovely and it went quickly. We were one of the first to board at 6 pm from Melbourne and went straight upstairs and found our room to unpack. After dinner, we went for a drink and then allowed the girls to have a play. What I loved about the night sail was I didn’t have to entertain my kids for 10 hours.
We met several travelling families that enjoyed the day sail. Most of them commented how amazing it was to be out of the middle of the ocean and not see land. Although a few of them said they got pretty bored sitting around all day.
Preparing to set Sail:
- Most travellers will know that Melbourne has some really low bridges. If you don’t want to end up on the news then plan your route in advance so you avoid MONTAGUE STREET (3m bridge). We completed a practice run the day before our sail to see what the traffic was like and to make sure there were no more low bridges. If you are staying in a Melbourne caravan park they will no doubt have a map for you to follow to get to the Port.
- A few days prior to your travel date the Spirit of Tasmania will send you an email with information about boarding time, latest checking in time and parking. Some of the parking options aren’t fantastic. We decided to arrive before 5 pm (when the pier opens) and we found lots of parking along the beach just near Station Pier (parking meters). When it got closer to 5 pm we lined up with everyone else and the whole area gridlocks until they open Quarantine.
- At 5pm they open the dock and you will go through Quarantine. They will ask you to open your bonnet, boot and van to conduct their search.
- You will need to surrender your axe, butane bottles, weapons (i.e guns and ammo) and they will give you a ticket for each item you surrender. Make sure you keep them somewhere safe as you need them to collect your items and the end of your trip.
- You will need to have your gas bottles off so the best idea is to empty your caravan fridge the day before and defrost. Obviously, you can’t travel with fresh fruit and vegetables, bait, and honey. But please check the Quarantine website for the latest information.
- If you are travelling with fishing or boating equipment make sure everything has had a good wash down. They inspected our boat and fishing lines to make sure they were completely clean, drained and dry.
- In the email when you make your booking it also includes additional information sheet that outlines the rules for Jerry cans that are used for fuel and boat fuel containers:
- Jerry cans used for carrying petrol/diesel must meet the following conditions or will be confiscated and disposed of:
- The jerry can or container must be fully welded at the seams (plastic or metal);
- They must not be greater than 25 litres in capacity;
- The sealing cap must have locking side arms or screw cap with an effective rubber seal;
- The jerry must be carried empty and dry of residual fuel or be filled with water prior to embarkation; Boat fuel tanks may be carried with fuel provided they comply with Australian Standards, have welded seams and are fitted with screw caps with a rubber seal and a pressure release valve.
A lot of travellers miss this key piece of information and neglect to wash their jerry cans out. This slows down the queue waiting to get on the boat as you have to dispose of the fuel, wash them out and have them re-inspected before they’ll let you board.
- Once you are through Quarantine then you drive all they way down the port and hang and MASSIVE U-TURN at the end of the dock to line up and receive your boarding passes and room key. We just showed the lady our reservation details on my phone as we had no way to print the ticket.
Then you are guided by a dock staff member on which line you are to follow to get on the boat.
At 6 pm boarding begins. You just follow all the vehicles in front of you on where to go (unless another staff member indicates elsewhere). We drove up the loading bridge and there will be more staff members that will indicate to you which line of traffic you need to be following. Keep following their instructions until they tell you your right to get out of your vehicle. Remember to push your side mirrors in and have your overnight bag packed and ready to grab. Once the deck is closed you cannot get back to your vehicle (see notes below on what to pack).
BEFORE you leave your vehicle to take a mental note what level and colour deck you are on. Follow the yellow line to find an exit door to enter the boat. When you find an exit door to go upstairs don’t forget to remember where you came out from. It can be a little confusing finding your vehicle the next day.
Is so much simpler than boarding! They will make an announcement about 1 hour before disembarking. If you want to have breakfast before you disembark then make sure you get up really early and go. It gets quite busy with people making coffee and getting food.
Follow the vehicle in front when disembarking
They will make an announcement when to go to your vehicles. Again you just follow your line of traffic to disembark. Make sure you have your Quarantine tickets handy as you need them to claim your items.
WELCOME TO TASMANIA 🙂
What facilities are available on the Spirit of Tasmania
- There is a cinema on board. You can purchase your tickets at the concierge desk and plan your trip by checking their website for pricing and what’s showing. This is a great option especially if you’re doing a day sail.
- There are a few restaurants and food service options available. The main restaurant is more your buffet style option (grab a tray and fill a plate). This area was really busy and slightly hard to negotiate with two children in tow. Their’s also a convenient shop (The pantry) where you can grab snacks, sandwiches, pies, and drinks. We found this shop sold our really quickly as it was a lot cheaper to purchase from here than a meal in the restaurant.
- There is an information desk on board and it was fantastic! They have a lot of maps and pamphlets available to help plan your trip. You can also save yourself a bit of money by purchasing combo tickets for various tourist attractions. We also purchased our National Park Pass and Fishing License which was really convenient.
- For the younger children, there is a playground on the upper deck. It’s fantastic to let you kids release some energy. Our girls loved it and there were lots of kids having fun. There’s also a TV playing Nickelodeon or ABC. For the teens, there is also a Game Zone on board.
- Deck 7, 9 and 10 have a bar available with lots of seating . They also provided coffee and most areas have a few TV’s showing the news, movie or some sort of sporting match.
- And don’t forget if you are travelling across the Bass Straight on the Spirit of Tasmania, they have a great event Flavours of Tassie. They showcase some pretty amazing gourmet food or drink.
Things to remember
BOOK RETURN TICKET – a number of travellers had not booked a return ticket and were struggling to get back to the mainland! During the peak time (Decemember – March) it is very popular so make sure you book a return ticket. You can always try and extend your trip once you are in Tassie but don’t wait until last minute to try and get on board.
WEAPONS – If you are planning on travelling to Tasmania with weapons then make sure you contact them a couple of weeks prior to travelling to advise them. The Spirit of Tasmania will email a form that needs to filled in and fax back so it can be attached to your booking. Make sure you call the week before to confirm they received your fax.
SECURE EVERYTHING – just like moving camps you need to secure everything. It will be a rocky ride and you would hate to get back to your van and find things broken inside.
NO FRESH FRUIT OR VEGGIES – A couple of days before your trip make sure you start eating the things you can’t travel with. Educate yourself on what food you can and can’t take to Tasmania.
What should I pack?
You should really pack an overnight bag or day pack. You cannot return to your vehicle so make sure you pack what you’ll need for the whole journey. Some basic items might be PJs and toothbrush but don’t forget your medicines, food and snacks, entertainment for the kids (IPADS, drawing pad), warm jumper, child’s favourite teddy, phone charger, camera and some cash. Although there are ATM and EFTPOS it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The boat is really expensive, is there any other way I could save money?
- Depending on your time allowance it might be cheaper for you to fly to Tasmania and hire a motorhome.
- If your travelling with a large family then perhaps look into cheap flights. Hubby could go over on the boat and Mum could fly over with the kids after the ferry has arrived.
- Remember that travelling peak times (December – March) increases the travel cost a lot. We chose to book outside of this period to save a bit of money.
- Make sure you book early and save. When we made the decision to go to Tasmania we committed to this idea and booked as early as possible. If you can only travel in the peak period then book early and see if you can save yourself some money.
- Travelling on the recliner seats is a cheaper than booking a cabin. Try calling the Spirit of Tasmania the day before there travel to see if they have a special on the cabins that are still available. You might be able to snap up a bargain.
- Pack your own food and entertainment so that reduces the costs whilst on board.
Boarding the Spirit of Tasmania is a quick and simple process as long as you are organised. I hope our tips and tricks have helped you have a stress-free journey.
Looking for a fantastic special
The great thing about Tasmania it can rain A LOT! So grab yourself some Pegless Clotheslines. Easy to use with just sliding your washing into the slots to dry. Light weight and compact for easy storage. Fantastic product for all types of travellers!