tasmania ferry ride tips

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 06:37
ThreadID: 41604 Views:3619 Replies:15 FollowUps:10
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leaving tomorrow for the trip to melbourne and then the overnight trip on the spirit of tasmania. i have not booked a cabin. can anyone with knowledge give me a few tips to make the experience more comfortable.

regards peter
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Reply By: Leroy - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 07:27

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 07:27
Hey Peter,

If you haven't booked a cabin the same rules as flying in a plane apply! (same sort of seats)

AnswerID: 217643

Follow Up By: Member - Peter D M - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 07:45

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 07:45
G'day leroy
the only time i've been has been in a cabin but as i am travelling alone, others flying later, i didn't worry about the cabin, do you get a reserved seat? what is the temp. in side? i recall people making beds in corners, is the bar open all night? etc.

regards peter

ps i'm told the trout are on, also can you wear a george bush t/shirt?
FollowupID: 478080

Follow Up By: Leroy - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:52

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:52
first in best dressed as they say but others have covered it well in replies below. Temp is comfy and I think the bar does close eventually! May need to take a few travellers to tide you over til sunrise lol

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Reply By: HowdyDoody - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:38

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:38
Hey Peter, we have done the trip a few times with and without cabins. The first time I went on my own during the day to get the car there and other half flew down a few days later. I will never again travel during the day without a cabin. Everybody has the same idea - don't need to sleep so why get a cabin. You don't get allocated seats during the day so unless you are first on the boat and get a seat you will struggle. It's crowded and long. And, if like me, you get surprised by sea sickness then the last thing you want is to spend your time queuing for the loo only to chuck your guts up in it not knowing where all the other bums have been that sat on it. That trip I carried myself off to reception and paid an extra $60ish for a cabin so I got a clean loo and a place to get some peace and quiet.
Next trip got the cabin and so so so much better. At night I believe you do get an allocated seat so the experience should be much better for you but we now just automatically book a cabin for some privacy, peace and comfort. It means we wake up fresher and can shower etc before driving off at the other end and launching into our holiday right off the boat.
Another thing, not sure what alarms etc you have on your car. Last trip a guy in a Beemer parked next to us had to wait several hours to start his car (which was holding up all the other cars trying to get off) as the immobiliser in his car was activated by the tilting of the ship as it crashed over the waves. Apprently some immobilisers have a tilt sensor so maybe check your manual and deactivate it before getting on the boat. Weather can look calm but once you are out there the swell can be quite big.
And one more thing, make sure you get outside at the front of the boat as it goes through port phillip heads. The swell and the view is wonderful and it's quite a thrilling experience to see the boat crashing through it - the kids all love it.
Have a great trip.
AnswerID: 217654

Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Friday, Jan 26, 2007 at 15:59

Friday, Jan 26, 2007 at 15:59
After reading this we rang Spirit of Tas and booked a cabin for out and back journies. Also figured that we could have dinner and with a cabin we could keep out of the mayhem, have a shower and get to bed at our destination asap at the end of a long day. Thanks for the tip.
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Follow Up By: HowdyDoody - Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 08:36

Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 08:36
John 'n' Min, I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Assuming you are heading to Tassie, it's a wonderful place with so much beauty crammed into one small island. I have heard it referred to as 'The Other Australia'.
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Reply By: Member - Arkay (SA) - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:41

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:41
Yeah, two tips. Firstly get on the boat as soon as possible and grab however many seats as you need, ASAP. We went over overnight using a cabin but came back daytime in unallocated seats. By the time we boarded to come back there were no, and I mean NO, seats for us reitred people available to actually sit on. Some people had several seats so they could lie down on them, put their luggage on them, put their feet on them, etc. The cafe/restaurant seats were reserved for "patrons" and you could not sit here uness patronising, and even then there was a limited time span allowed. We contacted a crew member who was not prepared to asist us. In the end (after about an hour of searching up & down the decks) my wife asked a couple who were taking up 3 seats to move their luggage off heir thid seat & then had to sit next to (squeeze up beside) this now annoyed couple for the rest of the journey. I stood up nearby the whole time (journey) and watched the TV. We are both in our 60s.
Second tip. I wish you had asked earlier. Stay at the Big4 at Ashley Gardens if needed for overnight stopover before and/or after crossing. This caravan park is easily accessible from the West or North of Melbourne. Is very clean etc., and is ideally placed for day trips into Melbourne (10 mins on nearby bus), has supermarket, hotel & elecrical goods store withing 2 mins walk of it, and has excellent access to the roads leading to the Spirit Of Tasmania. The lovely newish cabins are a lot cheaper than hotel or motel accomodation in Melbourne.
Advert... visit my (younger) brother John in his souvenir shop Impressions in Devonport and Sheffield.
P.S. have you got a copy of the boklet 4Wd tracks in tasmania - Off-Road Tasmania by Chris Boden? Search this site for "Boden" in the last 6 months for my previous post about this booklet.
AnswerID: 217655

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 15:12

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 15:12
We sell this book on ExplorOz too (;-)

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FollowupID: 478180

Reply By: jdpatrol - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:42

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:42
Just got back from Tassie last weekend. We went during busy Xmas period which might be different but anyway my advice is:

-check out deck 7 for comfy seats
-we liked bench seats on deck 9 as you can lie straight and sleep
-get a passenger to book on as a foot passenger (staff suggested this to us) and get up to seating areas to reserve a spot as early as possible
-sun became too hot / bright for us on deck 9 RHS in late afternoon going to tassie - we had to move but there are few free seats by then.

Otherwise take a good book, maybe a pillow etc. We took lunches too. Kids ran riot - were in games room, watched the movies and basically looked after themselves. Enjoy JD

AnswerID: 217656

Reply By: Member - MrBitchi (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:50

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:50
"Kids ran riot"

Another good reason to get a cabin....
AnswerID: 217661

Follow Up By: jdpatrol - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 09:02

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 09:02
I probably could have put that differently. I don't think they annoyed anyone but they were not bored which is a big help and they did enjoy themselves. We parked ourselves outside games room where young adults were noisiest!
FollowupID: 478096

Reply By: Gerhardp1 - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:55

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 08:55
Hi Peter,

I've done the trip quite a few times on various vessels.

The best overnight was on the previous boats which were slower than the current ones, and a cabin or bunk was the only way. Here you could go to the bar till say 12, get some sleep till 8, have a shower and breakfast and still get to your car without rush.

I did the overnight with reserved seat on the current boat once, and I'll never do it again.
The room containing the seats is like a big aircraft, except that people are sprawled everywhere including (usually) on your seat or on the floor where you want to have your feet. The traffic in and out of the room is constant all night, and the snoring and other noises are so bad that you'll be lucky to get any sleep.

The bar was not open all night. (If it was, you'd never be able to drive off the boat.)

I found the day trip to be much better, although the last 3 or 4 hours drag somewhat.

For your trip I would hope that the night is not too cold, take a sleeping bag and pillow with you, and find a relatively quiet spot on the top decks (they're under cover) and sleep there, rather than in the zoo room. When traveling solo, it's hard to hold on to a good spot on the sofas, cause as soon as you take a pit stop, your spot is gone.

Take that thick book you've been wanting to read - it'll help to pass the time.

Don't take fruit you can't eat on the crossing - you'll be quarantine checked leaving the wharf area.

Oh, and when you are driving round Tassie, don't make the mistake many mainlanders make - over here, when a highway advisory sign says 55k, we all take it at 95k no worries. In Tassie, it means 55k.

AnswerID: 217663

Reply By: Snowy 3.0iTD - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 09:23

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 09:23
Go the executive seats, book them if you can, you get and allocated seat and in rough weather when the entire boat reeks of puke the sealed off area down the back is a welcome retreat.

AnswerID: 217673

Reply By: P.G. (Tas) - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 09:25

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 09:25
G'day Peter,

We are doing the night sailing Sunday night. After many trips my advice for night sailings is to upgrade to business class seating if you do not want a cabin. These are allocated seats, can't remember now about the aircraft style seats, I think they were allocated too.

They are much more comfortable, recline further, have a footrest and you can actually get a reasonable nights sleep in them. These seats are down the back of the boat, so you don't notice the pitching as much, and is a much more comfortable ride than up the front in the aircraft style seats, which at our ages are too narrow, too hard, don't recline enough, and besides that, get bl**dy uncomfortable after an hour or two.

We always take sleeping bags on board because both styles of seating only come with 1/2 a blanket and a shrunken pillow :-(

Hope you enjoy your trip.


Peter & Vicki

AnswerID: 217674

Follow Up By: Member - Peter D M - Friday, Jan 26, 2007 at 13:35

Friday, Jan 26, 2007 at 13:35
hi peter,
am going to follow your advise on seating.

but!!! will most prob delay departure for a day or two as the latest forcast is for 45knot winds and 5 plus mt swell on sunday, and would think this would lead to a rough trip

ive got 5 weeks and as long as i make hobart by frid no schedule

thanks for your tips.

if the weather changes i'm the 5o year old with sleeping bag in 'camo' pants
FollowupID: 478315

Reply By: Stu-k - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 10:43

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 10:43
Bring back the devil cat I say that was the best way to tas
AnswerID: 217699

Follow Up By: P.G. (Tas) - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 13:58

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 13:58
Here, Here !!!
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Follow Up By: Gerhardp1 - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 17:29

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 17:29
Too true - it berthed in Tassie 200 yards from Mum's place. That thing was awsome to travel on.
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Reply By: djrziggy - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 16:11

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 16:11
My wife and I travelled over with her elderly parents at christmas. We thaught that we would book them a 2 birth cabin and ourselves 2 seats, we thaught at least we would be able to have a shower in the morning. When checking on to the boat in melbourne we looked at the tickets and they were surprised to see that they had allocated the in laws a 4 birth cabin as no doubles were available. So guess where my wife and I slept that night. Same thing happened on way back. So we were very happy with paying for seats and getting a cabin instead. Not sure how often this happens. Any way youll love tassie, we are in the process of building a house in Scamander and will be moving from central qld as soon as we can. cant wait.
AnswerID: 217774

Reply By: luch - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 17:17

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 17:17
I went last March (2006)

Bar open till late - standard bar prices

Meals $18.00 all you can eat / fit on your plate(pile up your plate you can only go through once food is quite good)

Temperature on board is about 19 - 21 deg c

Get what ever you need onboard out of your car as you cannot go back to you car once you park it on the ship

Arrive early and you'll be first off the ship when it arrives at its destination

Enjoy the trip
AnswerID: 217782

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 17:33

Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 at 17:33
I wouldnt do it without a cabin again.. having said that it was in 95 we did it on the bike...

set alarm so you can wake up to see the boat coming into Tassie, worth the effort.
AnswerID: 217788

Reply By: Auntie - Friday, Jan 26, 2007 at 22:08

Friday, Jan 26, 2007 at 22:08
Did the return trip Feb '05. Day crossing to Tas. and overnight cabin to return. Both were good crossings,however Bass Strait is not very scenic after an hour or two,but we found the best seats on board are in the picture theatre. Four of us had a good snooze there in the dark. Some other patrons were amused by our snores though !!Night crossing is the way to go. Get on board, couple of drinks, into the farter,and next thing you know they're waking you up to go and man your veh. ready to disembark. Must admit , both crossings were fairly calm though. You'd reckon with those ships going back and forth for some years now they'd have flattened out a bit of a track across Bass Strait !!! Taswegia is a beautiful island though. We'll be going over again soon.
AnswerID: 217966

Reply By: allanmac856 - Friday, Jan 26, 2007 at 23:24

Friday, Jan 26, 2007 at 23:24
Great info folks. Even though it is some way off, our group of 4wders are going to head down to Tassie in March 2008. A few will be taking their families, & we recently discussed whether paying extra for cabins is worth it. From the above comments, I would now say a big YES, or at the very last pay a little extra for the business class seating. Also were debating whether a day or night trip, but now looks very much an 'overnighter'. Again, thanks for the info.
AnswerID: 217977

Reply By: flappa - Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 09:22

Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 09:22
We are heading over in April. There are 5 in our family so have booked a 4 berth cabin and a cruise seat. Yep . . . I drew the short straw for the seat :(

I'm hoping I can kick my young bloke off onto the floor of the Cabin ;)
AnswerID: 218309

Follow Up By: allanmac856 - Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 13:39

Monday, Jan 29, 2007 at 13:39
Let us know how it all went Flappa, including the good 4wd places.
FollowupID: 478760

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