Guide to travelling on Spirit of Tasmania

Spirit of Tasmania ship sailing on ocean

Danny Baggs

Posted October 27, 2022

Ready to discover Tasmania? Catch the iconic Spirit of Tasmania ferry over Bass Strait to kickstart your holiday in the Apple Isle. Here are your questions about Spirit of Tasmania answered for the best journey possible.

Spirit of Tasmania transfers thousands of holidaymakers between Tasmania and mainland Australia each year and is one of Australia’s most famous travel experiences. If you’re planning a trip to Tasmania soon, read up on this iconic red and white ferry so you’re fully prepared. Best of all, RACV Members can save 10 per cent off Spirit of Tasmania passenger fares.*

Spirit of Tasmania: all you need to know

What is Spirit of Tasmania?

Spirit of Tasmania operates passenger and vehicle ferries between Tasmania and mainland Australia.

There are currently two ships: Spirit of Tasmania I and Spirit of Tasmania II. Each ship is longer than the length of the MCG and able to carry 1,400 passengers along with 500 vehicles. In 2024, two new ships – Spirit of Tasmania IV and Spirit of Tasmania V – will replace the existing fleet. These bigger ships will hold 1,800 passengers and have 3,700 lane metres for vehicles.

Where does Spirit of Tasmania depart from and arrive at?

Spirit of Tasmania ferries travel between Devonport in Tasmania and Geelong in Victoria.


Spirit of Tasmania arriving

Spirit of Tasmania is a ferry between Victoria and Tasmania. Image: Jess Bonde

Why did Spirit of Tasmania move to Geelong?

The new Spirit of Tasmania Quay terminal in Geelong features easy vehicle access, with dedicated drop off/pick up zones and ample undercover parking. You can enjoy the boardwalk looking over Corio Quay if you arrive before check in or relax in the comfortable lounge areas with free-Wi-Fi and a drink from the café.

How much are Spirit of Tasmania ticket fares?

There are a range of ticket options available on board Spirit of Tasmania.

Prices differ depending on whether you are travelling at day or night, the seasonal popularity, what you are travelling with (e.g. a car, motorhome, campervan, motorbike, bicycle, pet), and whether you are booking a cabin or a recliner.

RACV Members can save 10 per cent off Spirit of Tasmania passenger fares when booking through RACV.*

How long does it take to travel on Spirit of Tasmania?

Sailing between Victoria and Tasmania on Spirit of Tasmania takes between 9.5 to 11.5 hours, depending on weather and sea conditions.


Spirit of Tasmania

The Spirit of Tasmania sail takes 9.5 to 11.5 hours. Image: Spirit of Tasmania

Is Spirit of Tasmania a rough journey?

Bass Strait is known for its open, choppy waters, but thanks to the giant Spirit of Tasmania ships’ stabilisers, most passengers will only feel a gentle rocking. In the event of a storm, Spirit of Tasmania ships are designed to handle rough weather.

If you are prone to seasickness, however, it’s a good idea to take motion sickness tablets before the journey as per packet instructions.

When should I check in for Spirit of Tasmania trips?

You can check in for your Spirit of Tasmania ferry 2.5 hours prior to departure. Bring your driver's licence or passport, as photo ID is required at check-in.

Check-in closes 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to arrive and check in. If you have special needs, allow at least 2 hours.

Boarding begins 1.5 hours prior to departure, allowing you to get settled in your cabin or a lounge before you set sail.


group of friends driving onto Spirit of Tasmania in a blue convertible car

Boarding begins 1.5 hours before departure. Image: Spirit of Tasmania

What can I bring on Spirit of Tasmania?

If you are a passenger travelling without a vehicle, you can check in two carry-on bags or suitcases and take one of them on the passenger decks with you.

If you are a passenger travelling with a vehicle, you can load up your vehicle with no weight restrictions. You can then take one carry-on bag or suitcase on the passenger decks. You won’t be able to return to your vehicle, so make sure to take any medications and necessities with you.

The accepted carry-on baggage dimensions are 66cm x 46.5cm x 27.5cm or smaller. No weight restrictions apply.

Please note that you cannot bring anything that contravenes Tasmanian biosecurity laws. Fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, plants, honeycomb and soil are some items that can’t be brought into Tasmania.

Can you sleep on Spirit of Tasmania?

Many passengers book overnight sails with Spirit of Tasmania and sleep overnight. There are over a hundred recliners on board each ferry, where you can sit back and nap complete with a comfy blanket. There are also plenty of private cabins, ranging from four-bed to deluxe cabins. There will be a wakeup call 45 minutes before the scheduled disembarking time for sleeping passengers on the overnight ferry.

During high demand periods like the summer months, passengers can alternatively book a Day Ticket and enjoy a variety of entertainment options.

Can I bring my dog or cat with me on Spirit of Tasmania?

Yes, you can bring dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and some birds, chickens and ducks on board Spirit of Tasmania. Other animals are generally not allowed on board due to Tasmanian biosecurity laws.

While Assistance Animals may stay with you throughout the journey, all other pets must be booked into a kennel and may not stay in cabins. Spirit of Tasmania also strongly discourages keeping pets in your car during the journey.

Pets will instead be housed in kennels on ventilated decks, with fresh water and regular staff checks throughout the sailing. You will not be able to access the kennels during sailing, but you can leave bedding and comfort items with your pet.


Spirit of Tasmania sailing

Spirit of Tasmania offers both day and overnight sails. Image: Jess Bonde

Are dining and drinks available on Spirit of Tasmania?

There’s plenty of food and beverage options on Spirit of Tasmania.

Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner on board at Tasmanian Market Kitchen (TMK), with kids under five eating for free. Just make sure to turn up at the set meal times, available online. If you’re only feeling peckish, The Pantry offers grab-and-go snacks and sandwiches along with Tasmanian wines and souvenirs.

There are also three bars on board serving Tassie wines, beers and ciders. You can select from the intimate and modern Bar 7, the summery The Terrace Lounge Bar, and the deck chair-strewn Top Deck Lounge. Toasted Turkish rolls or sandwiches and pizzas are also available at The Terrace Lounge Bar and Top Deck Lounge.

What entertainment options are on Spirit of Tasmania?

There’s plenty to do on Spirit of Tasmania ships. Catch newly released and popular films at multiple on-board cinemas for low prices, bop along to live music sessions performed by Tasmanian artists or stow away in the Reading Room for some quiet time with your book, magazine or laptop. Wi-Fi is available in all public areas of Spirit of Tasmania for a small charge. In the Tourism Hub, passengers can browse tours, activities and attractions on offer around Tasmania and pick up any necessary National Park Passes or fishing licences.

Kids can have a blast in the arcade-style Game Zone or beach-themed Kids Play Area, with extra family entertainment like face painting, roaming circus performers and art carts available during school holidays from December to April.


Cataract Gorge Reserve

Cataract Gorge is an essential stop in Tasmania. Image: Jason Charles Hill

What to do in Tasmania

Once you’ve disembarked Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport, there’s plenty to see, eat, drink and stay at. Explore the Mersey Bluff Lighthouse, ride the heritage Don River Railway, or watch Little Penguins come ashore after dark at Lillico Beach. If you aren’t joining a tour and haven’t brought your own car, RACV Members save on car and campervan hire
Hobart is a great base to explore the rest of Tasmania: it’s home to the famous MONA art gallery, Salamanca Market and the nearby Mount Wellington. Plus, RACV Members save when staying at RACV Hobart Hotel. Check out the local’s guide to Hobart and Hobart bucket list for more fun travel ideas.

Beautiful riverside Launceston is another essential stop on your Tassie trip, so you can explore Cataract Gorge and taste wines from all along the neighbouring Tamar Valley Wine Route.

Check out even more destinations and discounted attractions across Tasmania here.


RACV Members can save 10% off Spirit of Tasmania fares.
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*Terms and conditions apply. Offer applies to new bookings only. RACV Members must book Spirit or Flexi passenger fares direct with Spirit of Tasmania by using this page. Discount excludes Deluxe Cabins and vehicle fares. To qualify for this discount you must be a current RACV Member. Members of Auto Clubs other than RACV are not eligible. A valid RACV membership card must be presented at the time of check-in. Discount cannot be used in conjunction with another special offer or Red Hot Deal.