Tasmania is Australia's only island state, sitting about 300 miles (500 km) south of the mainland's south-eastern corner. Melbourne is the nearest mainland city to Tasmania, just across the Bass Strait.
The two biggest cities in Tasmania are Hobart in the south and Launceston in the north, plus there are many smaller towns and cities. It's easy to get to Tasmania from the mainland by air or ferry. Here's how.
Flying is the quickest and easiest way of getting to Tasmania. Most international visitors to Australia will fly into Sydney or Melbourne, from where they can get an onward flight to Tasmania.
Daily direct flights to Hobart and Launceston leave from Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. If you're coming from another mainland city (such as Perth, Adelaide, or Canberra), you'll need to transit in one of these cities first.
Rough flight times are:
- Melbourne to Launceston 1 hour
- Melbourne to Hobart 1.25 hours
- Sydney to Launceston 2 hours
- Sydney to Hobart 2 hours
- Brisbane to Launceston 2.75 hours
- Brisbane to Hobart 3 hours
There are also regular flights from Melbourne to other, smaller Tasmanian cities, such as Wynyard and Devonport. Or, you can fly to Hobart or Launceston and take another flight onward to your destination.
One ferry, the Spirit of Tasmania, operates daily between Melbourne and Devonport, in the center of Tasmania's north coast. It takes between 9.5 and 11 hours. Some days just one sailing is scheduled, whereas on others there are two. When there are two, there's a morning and an evening crossing, but when there's only one it's an overnight service. There are lots of facilities on board, such as berths, restaurants and bars, activities for kids, and a cinema.
Although the ferry takes much longer than flying, you have the added advantage of being able to take your car on board, so if you're driving around Australia, you don't really need to break stride to include Tasmania on your itinerary.
If you're a keen sailor, or interested but not skilled in sailing, it's also possible to charter a yacht to Tasmania. This can be done from Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, or even further afield if you have a generous budget to spend. This isn't a very common way of travelers to get to Tasmania, but it can be done. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is an annual race that takes racers about two days, but it's safe to assume that if you're not racing, it'll take a bit longer!