THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL TO TASMANIA? ON THE SPIRIT OF TASMANIA

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It’s no secret I love Tasmania. The island state of Australia, Tasmania holds a very special place in my heart. You might have read up on my trip to Tasmania earlier this year where I stayed at Rocky Hills and visited Wineglass Bay, Honeymoon Bay and Freycinet Marine Farm, amongst other destinations which I have yet to write about! Six months on from my last trip to Tasmania, I knew I had to get back and explore the northwest region – most notably Cradle Mountain and Strahan. When looking at my options for travelling from Sydney to Tasmania, I came across the Spirit of Tasmania.

The Spirit is large ship ferrying travellers, locals, produce, cars, trucks and supplies between Tasmania and Victoria. It’s fleet of two ships were built in 1998 by Kvaener Masa-Yards in Finland and they have been taking passengers back and forth since 2002. The ships cross Bass Strait at an average cruising speed of 27 knots, so the journey itself is approximately nine to 11 hours between ports.

I had recently booked a trip to Melbourne to visit family and thought the Spirit would be a great little adventure over to Tasmania – and that it was! To travel between Victoria and Tasmania, there are two sailing options – by day and night. I chose to sail at night so I could maximise my time in Melbourne and Tasmania. And there really wasn’t a more relaxing start to my Tasmanian adventures than night sailing across the Bass Strait.

Arriving at Port Melbourne at 6pm via taxi, the excitement of boarding the Spirit was palpable! I’ve never sailed overnight on a ship, let alone stay in a Deluxe Cabin where I decided to treat myself. Boarding itself was seamless and easy; I simply presented my booking confirmation and was given a pack containing my pass, cabin key and details about the ship.

Crossing the walkway and into the main entrance of the ship felt like I was about to sail off on the Titanic, without the doomed ending - thankfully. I took several escalators up to the higher decks and was greeted by friendly staff along the way assisting me with finding my cabin. On the way, I did stop at the Tourist Shop to organise my pass for Cradle Mountain National Park. I could have organised these at the park, but organising it on the ship meant I didn’t have to stop at the Information Centre prior to entering Cradle Mountain. I also bought a couple of maps, which gratefully assisted me on my hike! More on that soon…

Meandering down the many aisles, I finally made it to my gorgeous Deluxe Cabin, which I fondly referred to as my personal floating hotel room! Perfect for two adults, the cabin featured a queen sized bed, bed side tables and lamps, ensuite with towels and a lush amenity pack, bathrobes, television with selected Foxtel channels, work desk, mini fridge stocked with two bottles of Tasmanian water, air conditioning, wardrobe, wall mirror, and large double porthole windows. The cabin was situated at the front of the ship, which gave the room a great vantage point, offered beautiful views and was away from the hustle and bustle of the ships bars and restaurants.

After settling in, I decided to explore the ship and stretch my legs by walking around the many outdoor and indoor areas. After taking in the fresh air, the ship departed Port Melbourne at 7.30pm sharp and I decided to indulge in a three-course meal at the Leatherwood Restaurant.

With my tummy full from a delicious dinner, I decided to retire to my cabin for the evening so I could awake refreshed and ready to begin my adventures in Tasmania. Although, for those not quite ready for some shuteye, there are a couple of bars as well as a cinema to keep you entertained.

The following morning, the captain announcing our imminent arrival into Devonport awakened me. After a quick shower and zipping up my suitcase, I had arrived and was ready to disembark and begin my Tasmanian adventures!

The Spirit of Tasmania is a brilliant way of travelling to Tasmania. Whatever your budget, the Spirit has accommodation to suit everyone, from Ocean View Recliners to the luxurious Deluxe Cabins. And however you choose to sail – by day or night – your journey on board the Spirit of Tasmania will be a memorable one! And I couldn’t wait to do it all over again in a few days when it was time for me to return to Melbourne.

TRAVEL NOTES What: Spirit of Tasmania When: Anytime of the year How: Depart from Port Melbourne in Victoria or Devonport in Tasmania Contact: Within Australia 1800 634 906 or international +61 3 6421 7209 Website: www.spiritoftasmania.com.au

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