Coming To TasmaniaBecause it is an island, Tasmania is the only state of Australia that cannot be reached by road, unless of course you take the car ferry from Melbourne to the north coastal Tasmanian port of Devonport. This is a popular option for mainlanders as one needs a motor vehicle when touring Tasmania as public transport options are limited.
Incorporating Tasmania into a visit to Sydney or Melbourne is something many overseas travellers don't even contemplate - after all, it's overseas (well that's how many people see it, even though the flight from Sydney to Hobart is only 20 minutes longer than the flight to Melbourne). The perception is that it takes time out of one's travel schedule and money from the travel budget to fit more distant destinations like Tasmania in, but with a bit of careful planning and application of a bit of local knowledge, such is not the case. In fact there is a way to include a trip to Tasmania into a visit to Sydney that could well be cost you less money than if you stayed in Sydney! Not only that, you'll get a day or two sightseeing in Melbourne thrown in for free!
Just as you can reach Tasmania from Sydney without losing any daylight time travelling, and at a cost that can often be cheaper than staying in Sydney, visitors to Melbourne can do the same thing. The secret is to take the overnight ferry from Melbourne to Devonport. From there, you can hire car and drive to Hobart, or catch the coach direct from the ferry terminal.
Because it is an island, Tasmania is the only state of Australia that cannot be reached by road, unless of course you take the car ferry from Melbourne to the north coastal Tasmanian port of Devonport. This is a popular option for mainlanders as one needs a motor vehicle when touring Tasmania as public transport options are limited.
Tasmania is linked by sea to the mainland via the car and passenger ferries Spirit of Tasmania I and II, which ply the waters of Bass Strait every night (duration: 10hrs 30 minutes), and during daylight hours in the summer months. Getting on and off with a car is an easy, painless experience; the only delay is likely to be going through the quarantine check at Devonport which is slow in peak periods.
Once that is behind you, there's something magic about heading along the coastal road to Devonport to Burnie just after sunrise with the road to yourself, with cows grazing on the lush green grass beside the shoreline. The Spirit of Tasmania operates daily from Station Pier, Melbourne to Devonport in Tasmania, running overnight, with additional trips in daylight hours during peak travel periods (mainly Summer); duration approx. 12 hours. The drive from Devonport to Hobart is 285 km (allow 4 hours).
Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and King Island are all gateways for domestic air traffic from the mainland to Tasmania. The majority of flights are from Melbourne and Sydney and go to Launceston or Hobart. The latter is still classified as an International Airport with full customs and immigration facilities, but the airport has not had a regular scheduled international passenger service since the 1990s (from Christchurch, New Zealand). Qantas, Virgin Blue, Jetstar, Tasair, REx and Tiger Airways provided regular services to the mainland.
Tasair caters also for internal air travel, with daily scheduled flights connecting Hobart, Launceston, Burnie, Devonport, King Island and Flinders Island. Much of the air traffic into Tasmania is through Hobart International Airport. In addition to domestic and general aviation operations, Hobart Airport, located 17 km from the city on a plain between Frederick Henry Bay and Barilla Bay, provides the only international gateway to the island. Hobart is one of the few cities in Australia to enjoy curfew-free air services. Launceston Airport is also widely used, particularly for travellers from the mainland seeking access to the north of the state. The main routes followed are:
Sydney 1 hour 55 min.
Melbourne 1 hour 15 min.
Brisbane (direct - limited flights per day) 2 hours 35 min.
Brisbane (via Sydney or Melbourne) 4 hours 10 min.
Perth (via Melbourne) 4 hours 15 min.
Adelaide (via Melbourne) 2 hours 35 min.
Darwin (via Melbourne or Sydney) 7 hours 15 min.
Sydney (via Melbourne) 3 hours 5 min.
Melbourne 1 hour 35 min.
Flinders Island (Sharp Airlines) 35 min.
King Island (Sharp Airlines) 1 hour 35 min.
Melbourne (Regional Express) 1 hour 15 min.
Sydney (via Melbourne) 3 hours 5 min.
Launceston (Sharp Airlines) 1 hour 35 min.
Wynyard (Sharp Airlines) 45 minutes
Melbourne (Regional Express) 55 minutes
Melbourne (Sharp Airlines) 1 hour 5 min.
Launceston (Sharp Airlines) 35 minutes