You’ve got to get from mainland Australia to Tasmania. You could fly, but, if you’re in Victoria, wouldn’t it appeal more to your sense of adventure to sail? A massive passenger ferry between Melbourne and Devonport, Spirit of Tasmania ticks not only the adventure box, but the convenience one too.
Pack the car with the kids and the dog and simply drive aboard. You’ll have everything you need for your onward explorations either side of the Bass Strait and, what’s more, it’s more economical than the alternative, especially when you factor in car rental and so on.
Operators TT-Line have been cruising across the Bass Strait since 1985, but it wasn’t until they brought two Finland-built ferries from Greece that Spirit of Tasmania was born. On 1 September, 2002, they set sail across Bass Strait for the first time.
Venture out of Melbourne, the shoreline of Port Phillip Bay curving away behind you, through the narrow channel between Queenscliff and Sorrento and out into the Strait. Catch an unparalleled sunrise or sunset (depending on whether you take the night- or daytime crossing) as you glide across those notorious waters, bound for Devonport and all the treasures of Tasmania.
Your voyage takes between 9 and 11 hours. It’s worth factoring, though, that check-in starts 2.5 hours before departure.
The capital of Victoria is famous for coffee, food, art and culture, with plenty more to see and do besides. Surrounded by stunning countryside, get out and explore the rugged cliffs of the Great Ocean Road, the red deserts to the northwest, and the lush green stretches of bush, mountains and pastures in between.
Where the Mersey River meets Bass Strait, this northern Tasmanian city boasts beaches with sailing, kayaking and fishing, a historic lighthouse and a maritime museum, plus plenty of non-nautical points of interest. Wander among the beautiful local flora and fauna at the Tasmanian Arboretum or get out of town to explore some of the island’s wonderful wilderness including Cradle Mountain. Image thanks to Sean Scott.