Travelling Tasmania is getting very popular and if you plan on taking your caravan over be mindful that due to the length and weight spots can be limited.
We took our Landcruiser 200 series and Australis Coastline 216 caravan over on 8th February 2022 until the 3rd April 2022.
We booked our return trip 6 months in advance to ensure we could secure a spot. We would also recommend you book your return trip so you dont get stuck over there (although I can think of worse places to be stuck)
When you book the trip you need to enter the full length of your caravan and car including any extras you have on the back of your caravan like tool boxes, bike racks or spare wheels. You also need to record the height of your caravan.
You can choose to sail on a day sail or a night sail. We chose a night sail because we have 2 boys and didnt want them to get bored on the cruise. We paid extra for a cabin because your are not allowed to go back to your caravan while your are on the Spirit of Tasmania.
We stayed in Geelong for 5 nights prior to our sail. The drive from Geelong and into Melbourne is approx 1 and a half hours. Onboarding opened at 5pm for a 7:30pm departure. We got there as soon as boarding opened at 5pm. First we drove through check in. There are 5 decks on board and when you check in you are given a card which details what deck you will be parked on, if you have a cabin you are also given the cards to unlock the cabin door and details of the cabin you are staying in, incuding what deck.
Once you are checked in you drive through the quarantine station.
TIP - Tasmania has strict quarantine laws and therefore fresh fruit and veg is not allowed to be taken. There is a quarantine check and our caravan was checked so please make sure you throw these out.
We packed an overnight bag including toiletries so we could all have a shower in the morning.
Tip - make sure you pack Kwells. We took one each at 5pm when we arived and again at 7:30pm when the boat set sail.
Once we got onto the boat we headed straight to our cabin and dropped off our bag then we went to the tourist information centre where they have heaps of leaflets on what there is to do in Tasmania. You can also buy your National Parks pass here and fishing permits. The National Parks pass is definitely recommended if you plan on touring Tasmania and seeing some of the world class parks Tasmania has to offer. We paid $80 for the 2 months pass. We also paid $75.70 for an annual fishing license. This is needed to fish in the lakes and inland waters of Tassie, it is not needed if you only plan on fishing the ocean. Neil hoped to catch a famous Tasmania trout so we got the license. The kids didnt need one.
The ship has lots of onboard entertainment to keep you busy. We headed to Deck 9 where you can venture outside and watch the boat leave Melbourne.
We stayed on this deck for the rest of the evening. They have 3 gaming machines which are free to use and these kept the boys quiet while we had a drink and researched what we wanted to do in the 8 weeks we were in Tasmania. We also ordered pizza at the Terrace bar lounge which is also situated on Deck 9.
There is a cinema on board too. We didnt use this but its definitely a great option if you opt for a day sail.
We headed to our cabin at about 8:30pm to get an early night ready for our 5:30am alarm.
Im not going to lie, it was'nt the best nights sleep I have ever had. I woke up at approx midnight and felt like I was in a washing machine. Thankfully the Kwells did as they should and there was no sickness. The boys slept well and we didnt here from them at all.
At 5:30am we got up, got showered and packed up our overnight bag. We made our way to Deck 7 which is where you can get tea/coffee and a buffet breakfast. We grabbed a hot drink and sat and watched the ship sail into Devonport.
The ship calls out the decks in order for them to disembark. This process starts at approx 6:30am. Thankfully we were first up so once we were called we headed to our car and were off the ship by 7am.
The whole experience was awesome and added to our Tasmania adventure. We are pleased we opted for the night sail and when we visit this amazing state again we will opt for a night sail again, mainly because we didnt need to entertain the kids for so long and it meant we arrived in daylight and had the day to explore and get our bearings.