Budget Travel: From Melbourne

Incorporating Tasmania into a visit to Melbourne is something most people don't even contemplate - after all, it's overseas (well that's how many people see it, even though the flight from Melbourne to its capital, Hobart, is only 20 minutes longer than the flight to Sydney). Depending on which day of the week you travel (Tuesday to Thursday are the cheapest days to fly in Australia) and how far in advance you book and pay for your travel (book and pay a month or more in advance for the cheapest fares) the price difference between the two destinations is negligible.

If you'd like to visit Tasmania from Melbourne but think it is all too hard, too expensive and takes too long to get there and back, let us show you how easy and cheap it can be! We know a way to include a trip to Tasmania into your Melbourne visit that could well be cheaper than if you stayed in Melbourne!

Sounds interesting? Read on ...

The secret is travel overnight to Tasmania on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. Getting to the ferry terminal from Melboune city centre is easy, simply catch a tram from Southern Cross Station to Port Melbourne - the Spirit of Tasmania terminal on Station Pier is right across the road from the tram terminus. Apart from peak periods when two crossings to Tasmania are scheduled on certain days, the Spirit of Tasmania sails at 7.30pm, and you will be diembarking in Devonport at 6.30am. There are car hire facilities at the ferry terminal or you can catch a Redline Coach from the terminal. If your destination is Hobart, sit back and enjoy a five hour ride through the pretty Tasmanian countryside before arriving in Hobart at 12.30pm.

By travelling at night you won't lose a single hour of daylight travelling (you lose half a day getting to and from airport, waiting in terminals and travelling if you fly) and you can offset the cost of your travel against the money you save by not having to pay for accommodation for the night you spent on the ferry.

Use the same method of travelling at night with their time and accommodation cost saving benefits can be applied to your return journey. You can return your hire car back to the Devonport terminal on the evening of departure, or you can get back to Devonport by coach from wherever you happen to be in Tasmania in time for that night's ferry. The ferry leaves Devonport at 7.30pm and arrives back in Melbourne at 6.00am.
Cost Saving: Provided you don't mind travelling in sleeper seats, the cost of the ferry and train fare is around $120.00 each, so if your accommodation in Melbourne costs $120.00 a night, it will cost you no more to travel to Tasmania and back than to stay in Melbourne. If your accommodation in Melbourne costs more than $120.00 a night, it will actually be cheaper for you to go to Tasmania than to stay in Melbourne!

Note: these prices are a guide only, and are based on ferry travel in sleeper seats. Sleeper cabins with a bed are available on the Spirit of Tasmania at extra cost.

Time Saving: All travel is done at night so no daylight time is lost travelling to and from Tasmania. Were you to fly to Tasmania, you'll lose half a day getting to and from airport, waiting in terminals and travelling - in both directions, which is effectively a whole day.

Suggested itinerary
The following 3 day itinerary gives you two half-days travelling through Tasmania, two half-days in Hobart, and one full day touring southern Tasmania. You can extend your travel experience by adding extra days inr Tasmania.

Overnight ferry to Devonport.
Day 1: coach from Devonport to Hobart (morning); sightseeing in Hobart (afternoon)
Day 2: day tour around southern Tasmania, eg. Port Arthur (full day) Guided tour options
Day 3: sightseeing in Hobart (morning); coach to Devonport; overnight ferry to Melbourne

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The Spirit of Tasmania I loading at Station Pier, Melbourne