Tasmania - Getting There
Tasmania is an excellent holiday destination, small in size compared to other Australian states, but huge in terms of the diversity of traveller experiences.
The compact nature of this heart-shaped island and the extensive roading network, makes it ideal for self-drive touring by rental car or campervan. The peak tourism season is December to February when bookings are high, but relatively mild weather and lower prices mean that spring and autumn are a good time to visit.
Tasmania does not enjoy the benefit of direct international flights, so it is necessary to transit Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney or Brisbane and take a domestic flight into Hobart, Launceston, Devonport or Burnie.
Jetstar and Virgin Blue have direct flights from the four capitals to Hobart. Qantas has direct flights from Melbourne and Sydney. Regional Express flies from Melbourne to Devonport and Burnie.
Two TT-Line, high-speed vehicular ferries, called ‘Spirit of Tasmania,’ operate nightly from Melbourne to Devonport (10hr journey). A third vessel sails three times a week from Sydney to Devonport. The Melbourne ferries have a capacity of 1,400 passengers and 650 vehicles. Cabin accommodation is available and there is an excellent choice of dining facilities, bars, lounges and entertainment on board. The cheapest fares relate to the airline-style cruise seats. A number of discounted advance fares are available for return journeys.
Tassie’s small population is largely decentralised, clustered mainly along the north coast and around Hobart. Public transport is generally limited to connections between the larger towns and tourist destinations. Car, campervan, motorbike and cycle rentals are widely available at reasonable rates, which are generally lower than those on the mainland. Avis, Budget, Auto-Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty all have outlets at main centres.
Road conditions are good overall but travel times can easily be underestimated due to the narrow, winding nature of some highways. Many tourist routes are unsealed. Night driving on country roads is not recommended as local wildlife is largely nocturnal and loves to cross roads at dusk. Traffic drives on the left and follows the basic rule ‘give way to the right, at intersections.’ The speed limit is 50 km/hr in built-up areas and 100 km/hr on the open road. Police frequently conduct random breath tests and speed cameras are often in hidden locations.