How to Get to Tasmania

Whether it’s by plane or by ferry, find out how to get to Tasmania and get your Lap of Tasmania road trip started.

A Lap of Tasmania road trip down the East Coast of Tasmania
Experience the open road in Tasmania | 📷: Lisa Kuilenburg

Wondering how to get to Tasmania?

Tasmania is a small island separated from mainland Australia by the waters of Bass Strait.

If you’re planning to pick up your rental car on arrival, or if you’ve only got a few days in Hobart or Launceston, then flying to Tasmania is the best option.

But if you’re planning on bringing your own vehicle to Tasmania then your only option is to cruise across on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry.

In this guide we give you an overview of both options, together with some tips and advice that will make the ferry crossing a breeze. There’s also a great summary of what you can and can’t bring into Tasmania – don’t get caught out!

We are currently writing a very detailed article on how to take the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, so watch this space!

Fly - Direct to Hobart International Airport

Looking down at Hobart Airport
Hobart Airport | 📷: YSSYguy @ Wiki (CC3.0)

Flying direct to Hobart International Airport – Tasmania’s largest airport – is possible from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast.

There are plenty of options throughout the week and you’re sure to find a flight time that suits your schedule, or connecting flight.

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Fly - Direct to Launceston Airport

Launceston Airport
Launceston Airport | 📷: Coekon @ Wiki (CC3.0)

Flying directly to Launceston Airport is possible from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

As with Hobart, there are plenty of options throughout the week.

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Jetstar

Virgin

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Fly - Direct to Burnie Airport (Wynyard)

Burnie Airport is located on the outskirts of Wynyard – 20km from Burnie – and locals often refer to it as Wynyard Airport.

It is a small, regional airport with direct flights from Melbourne only.

Fly - International flights to Tasmania

It may have the word ‘International’ in its title, but in a quirk of history Hobart International Airport doesn’t currently service any international destinations – unless you count Antarctica!

A recent federal funding announcement means this status may change in 2020, but for now overseas travellers must fly to Tasmania via Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth or the Gold Coast.

Spirit of Tasmania ferry to Tasmania

Spirit of Tasmania Ferry
Spirit of Tasmania Ferry | 📷: Nick-D @ Wiki (CC3.0)

Taking your car, campervan, caravan or motorbike on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry between Melbourne (Victoria) and Devonport (Tasmania) is a great option.

No luggage limitations, no need to deal with rental companies, and you can experience your Lap of Tasmania in a vehicle that you know and love. You can even bring your favourite furry friend!

Spirit of Tasmania departure information

The Spirit of Tasmania ferry crosses Bass Strait, sailing between Port Melbourne (Victoria) and Devonport (Tasmania). Unfortunately the Spirit of Tasmania doesn’t leave from Sydney.

Departure days and times depend on the day of the week, and the time of year.

There are two types of journey – commonly called the Night Sail (leaving late in the day) and the Day Sail (leaving early in the morning).

Click here to see the Spirit of Tasmania sailing schedule.

🚢 Spirit of Tasmania

From Melbourne

The Night Sail is the most frequent and leaves at different times between 7:30pm and 10:30pm.

The Day Sail isn’t quite as frequent, leaving at either 9:00am or 9:30am.

On some days – mainly during the off-peak winter season – there are days with no departures from Melbourne.

From Devonport

Again, the Night Sail is the most frequent and leaves at different times between 7:30pm and 9:30pm.

The Day Sail isn’t quite as frequent, and usually leaves at either 9:00am or 9:30am, with occasional 10:00am departures.

On some days – mainly during the off-peak winter season – there are days with no departures from Devonport.

The journey across Bass Strait takes between 9 and 11 hours, and there is plenty to keep you and the children occupied throughout.

Two cinemas, free TV streaming, live music, kids play area, and even a reading room if you need a bit of peace and quiet. Three bars offer you your first taste of Tasmania’s delicious beer, wine and spirits, and the Tasmanian Market Kitchen will keep you well fed. What more could you want? 😃

Accommodation options are also plentiful, and one is bound to suit your budget and style of travel.

👍 Pro tips for the Spirit of Tasmania!

  • Book ahead – 6 months ahead if possible! Demand is high throughout summer but is particularly busy between February and April due to many long-term travellers returning to the mainland before winter.
  • Buying your Parks Pass is super easy online (here). But if needed you can also purchase your Parks Pass on the ferry.
  • Most travellers have no problems on the ferry crossing, but if you have a sensitive stomach you may want to bring some sea sickness tablets with you, or consider ginger as a natural remedy.
  • Discounted ferry tickets are available for members of Big4 Holiday Parks, RACV, Travel With a Cause, or the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia.
  • Spirit of Tasmania have promotions that can save you $$$ but occasionally they aren’t shown on their website. Give them a phone call to check.

Tasmanian quarantine information

Tasmanian produce is the best in Australia, and one big reason for this is that as an island it is possible to prevent many of the insects, bugs, weeds and other nasties that are common on the mainland.

Biosecurity is a big thing when visiting Tasmania and your vehicle will be thoroughly inspected before you board the Spirit of Tasmania ferry – exterior, interior, under the bonnet, and inside any fridges in your campervan or caravan.

If you’re flying to Tasmania then there’s a good chance you’ll be greeted by the local Beagle Brigade at the airport on arrival.

A full list of permitted and prohibited items can be found here, but this is a summary…

  • Frozen fruit and vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Bread
  • Processed food
  • Nuts
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Some fish varieties
  • Fruit salad mix
  • Green salad mix

If you’re taking the ferry, prohibited items will be thrown out by the inspectors in Melbourne before boarding, so keep this in mind if you plan to take your own sandwiches or other meals onto the ferry.

Swim to Tasmania

It’s been done before, but yeah…nah…not such a good idea 🤣

Start your Lap of Tasmania road trip!

If you’re still thinking about the best time to visit Tasmania for your road trip, then you’ll love this easy-to-read guide.

It takes you through the different weather you can expect in each of the season, and also tells you exactly when to visit if you want to experience Tasmania’s most famous icons like Cradle Mountain, Bay of Fires or Bridestowe Lavender Estate!

Maybe you’re not sure where to start when it comes to hiring a car in Tasmania? We’ve got an awesome little article that compares the different options, recommends the best car hire in Tasmania, and stops you getting caught by the pesky terms and conditions.

Happy road tripping!

Andrew Strikis

Andrew Strikis

Andrew is an award-winning travel writer and photographer from Tasmania. Over the last 10 years he has been an advocate for Tasmanian tourism, working with and supporting many of Tasmania's prominent organisations such as Tourism Northern Tasmania, Hobart and Beyond, and MONA. Together with his wife he enjoys exploring Tasmania by road, and he looks forward to helping others plan and enjoy their own Lap of Tasmania road trip.

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Dog and bear in suitcase - Lap of Tasmania Road trip

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