Tasmania by Campervan, Embarking the Spirit of Tasmania!

Hey fellow travellers and vanlifers! I’m thrilled to share my experiences from my Tasmanian voyage with you – sailing across the Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania, and then exploring this stunning isle with my trusted campervan. There’s nothing quite like waking up in your cosy van to a new Tasmanian view each morning. I’ve been there, lived it, loved it, and now I’m here to pass on all the insider tips, tricks, and advice for your own upcoming adventure.

So, buckle up and let’s set sail together!


Quick Links


Part 1: All Aboard the Spirit of Tasmania

You know, the Spirit of Tasmania isn’t just a ferry; it’s more like a cruise ship that also happens to transport vehicles. With a range of amenities and services, the trip itself is as much an adventure as your exploration of Tasmania. I’ve taken this voyage several times, each experience just as exciting as the first, and I promise it’s more than just a passage – it’s a voyage to remember.

The Journey


I’ll cut straight to the chase – how long does it take?
Well, you’re looking at an overnight journey of around 9-11 hours, but trust me, it’s not as long as it sounds. I fondly remember my first journey, stepping on board late in the evening, the anticipation buzzing in the air. I explored the ship, had a bite to eat, then retreated to my cabin to the lullaby of the sea, and before I knew it, we were docking in Tasmania. The crossing from Melbourne to Devonport goes by surprisingly quickly, and the comfortable onboard facilities make it a genuinely enjoyable ride.


Ah, the age-old question of seasickness! I’d be lying if I said the Bass Strait doesn’t get a bit choppy sometimes. But you know what? The ship is large and well-stabilised, and unless you’re particularly prone to seasickness, you’ll likely be just fine. And hey, if you’re worried, pack some ginger tablets, travel calm or seasickness wristbands – works like a charm, in my experience!

The Sea’s Moods

One of my favourite aspects of the journey is the changing moods of the sea. On a calm day, the ocean is a tranquil, mesmerising sheet of blue. I remember one journey where a pod of dolphins decided to race our ship, their silhouettes darting through the waves at sunset. But, even on rough days, there’s a wild, untamed beauty about the sea that’s absolutely breathtaking. So, whether you’re lounging on the deck or looking out from the comfort of your cabin, the journey across the Bass Strait is an experience in itself.


  • The Spirit of Tasmania is more than a vehicle ferry; it’s a fully-fledged cruise ship that offers a range of amenities and services to ensure your journey across the Bass Strait is as comfortable as possible.
  • The voyage takes approximately 9-11 hours, usually overnight.
    It’s an opportunity to relax and enjoy the ship’s facilities, or catch up on some sleep before you begin your Tasmanian adventure.
  • The sea can get a bit choppy at times, especially in winter.
    However, the ship is large and well-stabilised, If you’re prone to seasickness, consider taking some preventive measures.
  • Whether the sea is calm and tranquil or wild and untamed, the journey across the Bass Strait offers stunning views and can be an adventure in itself.

There you have it – the start of our journey across the Bass Strait. Now, let’s move onto what to expect once you board the Spirit of Tasmania – it’s time to delve into the world of cabins and comfort.

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Cabins and Comfort

Today, we’re pulling back the curtain to reveal the ins and outs of the Spirit of Tasmania’s cabins and facilities. Having made the journey over in my faithful campervan, I’ve got plenty to share with you, my fellow vanlifers, about the luxurious amenities on offer and how to get the most from your voyage. So, let’s not keep the adventure waiting any longer!

Cruising on the Spirit of Tasmania isn’t merely about getting from Point A to Point B. It’s about experiencing a memorable voyage that begins the moment you step on board. And trust me when I say, the comfort and amenities available on the Spirit are definitely worth writing home about!

Deluxe Cabins

So you’re wondering, just how much is a deluxe cabin on the Spirit of Tasmania? They’re a bit of a splurge,  A deluxe cabin comes with a queen-size bed, private ensuite, and even a television. It’s like a little slice of a hotel room floating on the sea. And did I mention the views? With a deluxe cabin, you get a window looking out onto the water. There’s nothing quite like watching the horizon change from your cosy cabin.

Sleeping On Board

It’s surprisingly easy to catch some zzz’s on the Spirit of Tasmania. I’ll never forget my first night on board, expecting to toss and turn, only to wake up to the morning announcements and realize I’d slept like a log. The gentle hum of the engine, the slight rocking – it was more soothing than any lullaby. Plus, with options from recliner seats to cabins, you can pick the one that suits your budget and comfort.

Showers and Fridges

Good news for my fellow cleanliness enthusiasts – every cabin on the Spirit of Tasmania comes with a shower. You might not expect much from a ferry shower, but let me tell you, nothing beats a warm shower after a day of exploring the ship. Plus, Deluxe Cabins, come with access to a fridge. Perfect for keeping your snacks fresh!


On-Board Amenities

The Spirit of Tasmania is more than just a ship – it’s a floating resort packed with amenities designed to make your journey as enjoyable as possible.

Pool and Wi-Fi

While the Spirit doesn’t have a pool (I checked!), there’s plenty else to keep you occupied. For those needing to stay connected, you’ll be glad to know that Wi-Fi is available, though it might not be as fast as you’re used to back home. Its best to pre-download those Netflix movies and YouTube videos before leaving. But hey, you’re on an adventure – a little digital detox never hurt anyone!

Car Access and Recliners

While you can’t access your car during the voyage (safety rules, folks), the ship offers ample lounge areas for relaxation. For those not wanting a cabin, the recliner lounge is a fantastic option. It’s on Deck 7, and the seats are super comfortable. I’ve spent a few voyages there myself, book in hand, losing myself in a good read while the sea sailed by.

On-Board Facilities

From movie lounges to dining options and a playground for the kiddies, the Spirit of Tasmania has thought of everything. It’s not just about getting you to Tasmania – it’s about making the journey enjoyable.


  • Deluxe cabins on the Spirit of Tasmania offer a comfortable stay with private ensuite, a queen-size bed, and even a television. 
  • Don’t fret about sleeping on board – the gentle hum and sway of the ship make it surprisingly easy to drift off.
  • Every cabin comes equipped with a shower, Perfect for freshening up and keeping your snacks cool.
  • While the Spirit doesn’t have a pool, it offers plenty of on-board amenities, including Cinema, Bars, Wi-Fi, lounges, dining options, and a comfortable recliner lounge on Deck 7.
  • You won’t have access to your car during the voyage, but with so many facilities, you’ll barely notice.
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Part 2: Campervanning the Tasmanian Way

Bringing Your Campervan Aboard

How much does it cost to take a caravan to Tasmania?

The cost to take a caravan to Tasmania can vary greatly depending on the time of year, the size of your caravan, and the specific sailing you choose. However, as a rough guideline, you can expect to pay anywhere from $99 AUD to $269 AUD one way for a standard caravan during the low season (which typically includes the winter months). High season (usually summer and school holidays) can see prices rise to $339 AUD or more. It’s always best to get a direct quote from the Spirit of Tasmania’s booking system for the most accurate pricing.

For me with my 3m tall by about 5m long Van, it was about AU$1,150 return,  including a 4bed cabin (no window). Leaving Late January from Geelong, and returning in March.

How does booking a motorhome/campervan differ from booking a caravan?

Booking a motorhome or campervan on the Spirit of Tasmania is slightly different than booking a caravan. The primary difference is that a motorhome or campervan is considered one unit, as it is both your vehicle and your accommodation. When you book, you will pay a single fee based on the length of your motorhome or campervan.

A caravan, on the other hand, is considered two separate units: the towing vehicle and the caravan itself. Thus, when you book, you will pay a fee for your vehicle and an additional fee for your caravan.

In terms of the booking process, you will need to provide accurate measurements for your vehicle (for a motorhome or campervan) or vehicles (for a car and caravan). This includes length, width, and height, as the pricing can vary based on these dimensions.

How far in advance can I book?

You can generally book your voyage on the Spirit of Tasmania up to 11 months in advance. The sooner you book, the better your chances of securing the sailing date and time you prefer, and possibly scoring a lower fare. During peak travel times, such as the summer months and school holidays, sailings can fill up quickly, so it’s a good idea to book as early as possible if you’re planning to travel during these periods. 
The first time I planned on going to Tasmania I could get there easily but returning to main land Australia there were no avaliable spots for 6-7 months!! My 2nd attempted at booking 7 months in advance and was able to get pretty close to the dates I wanted.

Boarding the Vessel

Boarding the Spirit of Tasmania with your campervan is a breeze. The friendly crew members are pros at guiding vehicles of all shapes and sizes onto the vehicle deck. Remember the first time I boarded with my van? I was all nerves, my hands tight on the wheel, but they directed me in with ease. And the best part? You don’t need to manoeuvre your way out – they turn the whole ship around before docking. It’s a sight to see!

Vehicle Deck Access

Now, you might wonder if you can pop down to your campervan during the voyage. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but once you’re parked and leave the vehicle deck, you can’t access it again until you disembark. Safety regulations, you see. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of room to bring any essentials up to your cabin or recliner seat. Just make sure you pack a small overnight bag with everything you’ll need for the voyage.





Preparing Your Campervan for the Voyage

Gas Bottles 

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a gas bottle tucked away for cooking and or heating in your campervan. Now, you can absolutely bring them with you on the Spirit of Tasmania. Just make sure they’re turned off before you embark.

Jerry Cans And Fuel

As for jerry cans or additional fuel, Diesel-filled Jerry Cans and Boat Fuel Containers are permitted for transport. Transportation of Jerry Cans and Boat Fuel Containers filled with other volatile fuels such as petrol, aviation fuel, and non-standard fuels is strictly prohibited.
The capacity of Jerry Cans and Boat Fuel Containers carrying diesel must not exceed 50 litres. All containers other than Jerry Cans and Boat Fuel Containers must be completely empty and devoid of any residual liquid.

Packing Essentials

When packing for the journey, remember to bring some essentials on board with you. Warm clothes for the deck, some snacks, entertainment – books, music, card games always make the journey fun for me.

Upon Arrival in Tasmania

Biosecurity Measures

Tasmania is an island blessed with unique flora and fauna, and they’d like to keep it that way. Upon arrival, you’ll find strict biosecurity measures in place. Certain items, like fresh fruit and vegetables, cannot be brought into the state. Always check the latest guidelines before you travel to avoid any surprises.

Hitting the Open Road

Once you’ve disembarked and passed through biosecurity, the beauty of Tasmania is yours to explore. From stunning beaches to lush forests and quaint towns, there’s something for every vanlifer here. I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve woken up in a new location, the scenery taking my breath away. But we’ll save those tales for another day!


  • Boarding the Spirit of Tasmania with your campervan is straightforward, with the crew guiding you onto the vehicle deck.
  • While you can’t access the vehicle deck during the voyage, you’re allowed to bring essentials with you. Packing an overnight bag is recommended.
  • Gas bottles are permitted on board, provided they are turned off. Additional fuel or jerry cans are not allowed due to safety regulations.
  • Tasmania has strict biosecurity measures, and certain items, especially fresh produce, can’t be brought into the state. Always check the latest guidelines before travel.
  • Once you’ve disembarked, the stunning beauty of Tasmania awaits you.

We’ve covered the basics of campervanning your way to Tasmania on the Spirit, lets talk about some Rules and Regulations.

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Part 3: The Tassie Rules and Regulations

Navigating the rules and regulations of a journey like this can feel a bit like doing the tango with a twist, can’t it? But it’s necessary for keeping everyone safe and the journey smooth. So, let’s dive into what you can and can’t bring into Tasmania, and some onboard rules for the Spirit of Tasmania.

Import Regulations

When it comes to bringing food into Tasmania, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I remember a time I almost lost my favourite homemade chilli sauce to the authorities because I didn’t know the rules. The state has some strict biosecurity laws, and for good reason, we wouldn’t want to introduce anything that could harm the local ecosystem. So, while you can bring in most commercially prepared, packaged, and sealed foods, there are restrictions on some fresh fruits, vegetables, and seeds. The complete list is available on the Biosecurity Tasmania website.

You are, however, free to bring your wine on the Spirit of Tasmania. Just remember, it needs to stay unopened for the duration of the trip as the ship has a policy of not allowing consumption of personal alcohol on board. Trust me, their on-board bar is great and you’ll have plenty of time to uncork that bottle once you disembark!

Other than food and wine, you’re allowed to bring most personal items into Tasmania. The important thing to remember is that anything that could potentially harm the state’s pristine environment (including certain plant materials and animal products) may be restricted. Always double check if you’re unsure!

Onboard Regulations

Boarding the vehicle deck isn’t too tough a task, even for bigger vehicles like campervans. Just follow the crew’s guidance – they’re experts at getting everyone on and off safely. You won’t be able to access your vehicle throughout the voyage, though, so make sure you pack everything you might need in a carry-on bag.

When it comes to luggage, anything you don’t need for the voyage can stay in your vehicle. For your overnight bag, think of it as packing for a one-night hotel stay. But remember, that bottle of wine you brought has to stay corked during the journey!

And there you have it, a quick rundown of the do’s and don’ts for your trip on the Spirit of Tasmania.


  • Check the Biosecurity Tasmania website for specifics on what food you can bring into Tasmania.
  • You can bring wine on the Spirit of Tasmania, but it must stay unopened during the voyage.
  • Most personal items are allowed into Tasmania. Anything that could potentially harm the local environment may be restricted.
  • Boarding the vehicle deck is straightforward. The crew will guide you.
  • You can’t access your vehicle during the voyage, so pack an overnight bag.
  • Your remaining luggage stays in your vehicle.
  • Personal alcohol cannot be consumed on board.

It’s a bit to remember, but a smooth journey is well worth it. Take the time to get your things in order and you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip. 

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Part 4: From the Quay to the Highway

With all your T’s crossed and I’s dotted, the moment of departure is almost here. But before we set off across the Bass Strait, let’s cover some basics about getting to the Spirit of Tasmania Quay and what to expect when your campervan journey truly begins.

Getting to the Quay

The Spirit of Tasmania Quay is located in both Melbourne and Devonport. So depending on where you’re starting your journey, you’ve got two options. If you’re in Melbourne, it’s in Station Pier in Port Melbourne. If you’re coming from Devonport, it’s at East Devonport.

In Melbourne, if you’re relying on public transport, the 109 Tram will get you right there. If you’re driving, just pop ‘Station Pier’ into your GPS and you’ll be on your way.

In Devonport, it’s pretty straightforward – the town isn’t huge and the terminal is well signed.

As for what time you need to be there – well, they aren’t mucking about. You need to be there at least 2 hours before departure time. If you ask me, it’s better to be a bit early. No one wants to start their trip stressed and panting, eh?

The Journey Begins

Once you’re there, you’ll be joining a throng of excited travellers, just like you. The Spirit of Tasmania can carry up to 500 vehicles. That’s quite the road trip party!

As the journey starts and you wave goodbye to the mainland, it’s time to get cosy in your campervan. My top tip? Treat it like your home from home. Get your sleeping area sorted, your kitchen area well stocked, and have your favourite cozy jumper close at hand for those chillier Tasmanian evenings. It’s all about finding a rhythm that suits you. I always enjoy preparing a good playlist and a couple of audio books for the drive. You’ll be surprised how much the right soundtrack can add to the experience.

And with that, your adventure across Tasmania truly begins. The freedom of the road, the thrill of exploration – there’s nothing quite like it.


  • The Spirit of Tasmania Quay is in Station Pier, Port Melbourne or East Devonport, Tasmania.
  • Arrive at least 2 hours before the departure time.
  • The Spirit of Tasmania can carry up to 500 vehicles.
  • Treat your campervan like your home from home.
  • Get settled in your campervan, prepare a good playlist and maybe some audio books for the drive.

So go forth, my adventurous friend, and enjoy every moment of your incredible journey on the Spirit of Tasmania.
Next up my Essential Pre Boarding and Arrival Tips.

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Part 5: Essential Pre-Boarding and Arrival Tips

Pre-Boarding Checklist

Fishing Equipment and Other Items

Taking fishing gear on the Spirit of Tasmania? Sure thing! Just ensure all gear is stowed safely. Also, take into account Tasmania’s biosecurity measures. As a nature-loving vanlifer, I totally support this – we all need to do our bit to protect the environment.

Alcohol on Board

Now, about that precious wine collection of yours. You can indeed bring your alcohol on board, but it must remain unopened during the voyage. There are bars on board where you can grab a drink, though, so you won’t be left high and dry.

Luggage and Essentials

Where to stow your luggage, you ask? Most travellers keep their luggage in their cars or campervans, though remember, you can’t access the vehicle deck during the voyage. So, pack an overnight bag with what you’ll need for the journey. Trust me, it’ll make your voyage much more relaxed.

Arrival in Tasmania

Disembarking and Biosecurity

Once you arrive in Tasmania, there’ll be a bit of a process to disembark. But don’t stress, the crew on the Spirit of Tasmania are champs at getting everyone off efficiently. And remember those biosecurity measures I mentioned? They’ll check your van for any forbidden items, so best to familiarise yourself with what you can and can’t bring into Tasmania. I always check the latest updates before my trip – just to be on the safe side.

Destination Tasmania!

After all that, you’re ready to explore the breathtaking sights of Tasmania. Whether you’re off to Cradle Mountain, Freycinet National Park, or simply taking the scenic route, Tasmania is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. I can still recall my first time setting wheels on Tasmanian soil – the excitement, the wonder… but that’s a story for another day.


  • Fishing gear can be brought on the Spirit of Tasmania, as long as it’s safely stowed. Always remember the biosecurity measures in place.
  • Alcohol is allowed on board but must remain unopened during the voyage.
  • Most luggage can be kept in your vehicle. Pack an overnight bag with what you’ll need for the journey as you can’t access the vehicle deck during the voyage.
  • Upon arrival, there’s an efficient process to disembark. Ensure you’re familiar with what items are allowed into Tasmania due to strict biosecurity measures.
  • Tasmania is a vanlifer’s paradise, offering breathtaking landscapes and a myriad of adventures.


I hope this info and tips about traveling to Tasmania in a Campervan helped you.
Be sure to follow along with the rest of my Tasmania Travel Guides here.

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