Last updated on February 6, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Melbourne

Melbourne to Tasmania: Ferries and Flights

  • Spirit of Tasmania is the only tour operator running ferries between Melbourne and Tasmania. Great service and reasonable prices.
  • Seats are usually available in the winter season however they tend to be booked out during the summer months, especially during the school holidays.
  • Flights are available from the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport to eithe Hobart (the capital, in the south of Tasmania) or Launceston (in the north)

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Melbourne to Tasmania

  • Melbourne-Tasmania Ferries  are operated by Spirit of Tasmania with single daily departures during the winter at 7:30pm. In summer it leaves twice a day, at 9am and 9pm, but only in the busy weekends and weeks of the year. Check the schedule for more updated information.
  • Melbourne-Tasmania Flights: daily flights are available from the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport to either Hobart, in the south of Tasmania, or Launceston, in the north. There are between 15 and 20  flights per day. The main airlines are Tigerair, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Qantas. Flights are quite often booked out during the school holidays and around Christmas, therefore buy your ticket well in advance if you fly in that period.
Spirit of Tasmania leaving Devonport
Spirit of Tasmania leaving Devonport

Flights from Melbourne to Tasmania

There are more than 20 flights per day from Melbourne to Tasmania during the summer, less so during the winter. Plenty of options for departures from the early sunrise till night.

The airfare from Melbourne to Tasmania flights is in the $50 to $200 range. Occasionally specials can go down as much as $20 one way.

Flights depart from the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, about 30 minutes from the city centre, and land either in Launceston, north of Tasmania, or Hobart, in the south of the island.

The flight takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Melbourne to Tasmania : flights and ferry
Melbourne to Tasmania: flights and ferry (see interactive Google map here)

Tigerair is the cheapest of the airlines flying from Melbourne to Tasmania.

They have up to 2 flights per day, usually one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

This is the airline with the best deals however with the lowest service too. It’s the RyanAir of Australia.

Tigerair does not fly to Launceston.

Tigerair at the Melbourne Airport
Tigerair at the Melbourne Airport

Jetstar has 6 to 8 flights per day. They use an Airbus A320 or A321. It’s one of my favourite airlines.

They are still quite cheap, however, they do offer more quality than Tiger Airway and only for a small difference in the ticket price.

Jetstar flies to both Launceston and Hobart

Jetstar flight
Jetstar flight

Virgin Australia has 7 to 9 flights per day from Melbourne to Tasmania. They use a Boeing 737.

The check-in process is one of the smoothest between all the airlines and the service is absolutely great. They do charge more than the previous two airlines however you get also more.

Virgin flies to both Launceston and Hobart

Virgin Australia landing at the airport
Virgin Australia landing at the airport

Qantas is the best airline. They do provide free food and drinks during the flight as well as entertainment.

They even have inflight wifi where you can download and watch or read plenty of movies, series, magazines and newspaper (you need to download the app before you board).

Qantas flies to both Launceston (Bombardier Dash-8) and Hobart (Boeing 737)

Last Qantas flight at night
Last Qantas flight at night

Google flights is a good accumulator website site where you can compare all flight tickets and departure times. I suggest however to book the flight directly on the airline website, it’s cheaper.

The first flight leaving Melbourne is at 6am and the last flight is either at 7:40pm or 9:10pm (Sunday).

The number of flights to Hobart are double as many as to Launceston.

Flights from Melbourne to Tasmania are sometimes more expensive when the destination is Launceston, meanwhile other times Hobart tends to be more expensive. There is not really a rule of thumb. 

If you fly from Melbourne to Tasmania and you rent a car at your destination then it’s worth looking for flights to both destinations and check out what is less expensive.

Driving from Launceston to Hobart takes about 2.5 hours.

Should I book my tickets in advance?

Book your tickets well in advance if flying on weekends and school holidays.

Also around Christmas and the end of January, the airlines are very busy, as well as the ferries.

How do I get to the airport?

Melbourne, unfortunately, does not have a train to connect the city to the airport. 

There are, however, buses (Skybus) running from the city centre (Southern Cross station) every 10 minutes. You will notice them, they are all red.

Skybus in Melbourne
Skybus in Melbourne

If you are staying in St Kilda you may also get a direct Skybus from there. They usually run every 30 minutes. There are 4 stops in the neighbourhood (check here for more info).

Skybus Pickup sign in St Kilda
Skybus Pickup sign in St Kilda

Travel time is 40 minutes from the city centre and one hour from St Kilda

Both Launceston and Hobart have buses that connect to the city (30 minutes).

A uber, or a taxi, may come out actually cheaper if you travel in 3 or 4 of you.

Ferries from Melbourne to Tasmania

  • there is only one company providing a ferry service from Melbourne to Tasmania, Spirit of Tasmania. This means that there is no competition, therefore higher prices. Expect $90 on a special fare or $140 and more on peak time (school holiday time)
  • usually, the cost of a ferry ticket is higher than the cost of the flight, however, the experience is also very different and you can always take the car with you on the ferry of course, which is a big plus
  • the ferry departs from Station Pier in Port Melbourne (5km from the city centre) and arrives in Devonport, in the north of Tasmania, over 3 hours from Hobart and just 1 hour from Launceston
  • If you are planning to take the ferry on school holiday then book well in advance, especially around Christmas time. It can be all booked out well in advance, especially if you are travelling with a car.
Spirt of Tasmania at Station Pier in Melbourne
Spirt of Tasmania at Station Pier in Melbourne

Ferry times from Melbourne to Tasmania

  • The departure of the Spirit of Tasmania ferry varies based on season, time of the year and weekend. 
  • The typical times of the day are 9:00am (morning service) and 7:30pm (evening service), however, on certain days the ferry lives at 9:30pm or 10:30pm.
  • To have an accurate time I suggest to check the schedule here.
  • Check-in starts 2.5 hours prior to departure and closes 45 minutes before the leaving time.
Station Pier in Port Melbourne
Station Pier in Port Melbourne

Ferry times from Tasmania to Melbourne

  • The schedule is very similar to the Melbourne to Tasmania service (9am and 7:30pm)
  • Allow extra time to drive to the Devonport Terminal. It can be quite busy.

How long does it take the ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania

The trip takes between 9 and 11 hours. You can check-in up to 45minutes prior to departure.

It’s a 9 hours trip when there are 2 ferries per day and 11 when there is a single ferry per day.

Keep in mind that the sea condition may affect the travelling time. 

Spirit of Tasmania at the Devonport pier
Spirit of Tasmania at the Devonport pier
Aboard the Spirit of Tasmania
Aboard the Spirit of Tasmania
The seating area on the Spirit of Tasmania
The seating area on the Spirit of Tasmania
Inside the cabin on the Spirit of Tasmania
Inside the cabin on the Spirit of Tasmania

From the city to the ferry terminal

The trip to the ferry terminal from the city centre is very simple. Grab the tram 109 from anywhere on Collins Street or at the Crown Casino and you will be in no time at the station pier.

If you need to go from the Airport to the Ferry Terminal then

  • take a Skybus at the airport to Southern Cross Station
  • walk out from the station and go to the Tram Stop Nr.1 (just a few meters)
  • grab the tram 109 till the Station pier (end station)

I suggest booking in advance a spot at the ACE Car Parking in Bay Street if you need to park your car. The cost is around $80 per week.

Free parking is instead available at the Devonport terminal.

Boarding the ferry with a car

Boarding on the Spirit of Tasmania is a simple process that starts with the quick quarantine. Check out this 45 video for more information.

If you are arriving through the M1 I suggest exiting on Cook St and follow the beach (Todd Road and Beach Street) from there. It’s so much easier and you will avoid all the city traffic.

Recommended hotel close to the ferry terminal

If you have an early start and you want to book a hotel close to the ferry terminal then I would suggest these options:

  • in Melbourne: there are plenty of options in the CBD, less so in Port Melbourne. If you have a car then the Hamptons Apartments is the best option. They are meters from the pier and they offer parking included in the price. If you don’t have a car then any place in CBD will do. The Holiday Inn on Flinders is very very convenient as it is located meter from the Tram 109, and just 15 minutes from the pier.
  • in Devonport: the Port Masters Lodgings is meters away from the pier and ultra-convenient for an early morning departure

The cheapest way of getting from Melbourne to Tasmania?

If you have a car, obviously, the ferry is the only way.

If you are travelling without a car than, most probably the flights are cheaper, if you are flexible with the time.

It’s worth however checking the Spirit of Tasmania fares.

It has to be said that with the flight you land in the two major cities meanwhile with the boat you end up in Devonport, a small town. You would then need to catch a bus to go to Hobart, if this is your final destination.

If you have a bicycle then the ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania can be a better value as they charge just $19 for it. 

Moreover, you can start your ride from the south, a lovely part of Tasmania.

Summary on the Melbourne to Tasmania trip

The quickest and cheapest way is to take a flight, however, the most scenic and memorable is to board on the Spirit of Tasmania.

If you have a car then book your ferry well in advance to avoid disappointments.

Photo credits
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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