13/03/2019

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Tips For Motorcyclists Taking The Ferry To Tasmania

There is something special about riding your motorcycle through Port Melbourne before boarding the Spirit Of Tasmania for a ferry crossing of Bass Strait.

Here is some info to help make your first time passage on the ferry a little easier: 

  • You will need to arrive at the ferry terminal in Port Melbourne by 6.00pm with the ferry departing at 7.30pm. Check these times though because they do vary a little depending on the time of year. There are also day sailings at times too.
  • You will pass through quarantine inspection as you approach the ferry pier so make sure you are not carrying any fruit and be prepared to open your luggage if the inspectors want to check things more closely. Usually they don’t hassle bike riders too much.
  • Have your booking reference number and drivers license handy as you approach the check in booth on your bike. They will issue you with a key card for your cabin and a map to locate your cabin.
  • Generally the traffic flows in quite an orderly fashion but you will have to wait in line for a period of time. Often a good chance to chat to the riders around you about the adventures waiting to be had.
  • Once you are on the ship you will be directed by staff to an area where your bike will be parked for the voyage. Once you get your gear off your bike it will be tied down by ferry staff. These guys are generally very good at securing your bike and know how to use the tie downs to look after your bike.
  • Be mindful that the cabins are extremely tight for space so take the bare minimum of gear upstairs with you. Prepare a small grab bag with toiletries, PJ’s and a change of undies to take to your cabin for the evening. If you can, secure your helmet and perhaps jacket with your bike to maximise cabin space.
  • Once the ferry departs the dock the vehicle transport deck is locked and secured so you will not be able to get to your bike until disembarkation in the morning. This keeps all your gear safe too.
  • After checking into your cabin, claiming a bunk and ditching your riding gear, make your way upstairs where you will find a couple of bars and two dining options. They have an “all you can eat” buffet area or restaurant on board to choose from and the meals are quite good.
  • If you’ve gone and booked yourself a reclining chair for the voyage enjoy the bar for as long as you can stand and may god help you finding rest in the aircraft style seats!
  • Introduce yourself to others that are obviously riders because you may get an inside tip on the best roads from a Tassie local who is heading home!
  • If you are susceptible to sea-sickness it might be a good idea to consider popping drugs like Travacalm to help with a smooth sailing. Personally I kind of enjoy being rocked to sleep!
  • Generally you pass through “The Heads” near Portsea just after 9pm. If it’s going to be a rough sailing this is when you will likely find out as you leave the pond like confines of Port Phillip Bay and the Bass Strait waves begin to pound the ship!
  • Hit the sack early because once berthed in Tassie they wake you at the ungodly hour of 5.30am with a PA system announcement to all on board which is not the most pleasant way to wake from a deep slumber! 
  • Since you get off onto dry land again at about 7am it means you’ve got a full day ahead of you to start exploring the Island. Be mindful though that you might have had a crap nights sleep if it was a rough sailing.

Hopefully some of these tips will help set you up for an awesome time riding the Apple Isle. There certainly is some spectacular riding down to be had down there!

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