A red and white ferry with the name Spirit of Tasmania painted along the side.

The Spirit of Tasmania leaves Melbourne for Devonport in Tasmania daily in winter and twice daily in summer. Photo © Nelson Minar, licensed Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike.

Travel map of Transportation in Australia

Transportation in Australia

Commuting by ferry is slightly more glamorous than by a bus or a train. Floating past some of the world’s prime real estate, the Sydney Opera House, and Sydney Harbour Bridge is hard to beat. You can also commute across the water in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, and various points in Victoria. Ferries feed into other modes of public transportation and tend to start at 5am or 6am and in most cases run until after midnight. Like other modes of public transportation, ferry timetables are widely publicized, tickets come in single-ride to annual passes with many other options, and there are discounts for students, disabled people, and pensioners.

Ferry fares vary by city and the length of the commute; for example, the regular Manly ferry in Sydney Harbour costs $7 one-way, while the fast Manly ferry costs $9 one-way, with the fast one being quicker than any comparable bus trip. Generally speaking, if you have a ferry stop near you, it’s quicker and more economical than the bus.

Some longer commutes are possible by ferry, most notably the Spirit of Tasmania, which leaves Melbourne for Devonport in Tasmania daily in winter and twice daily in summer. The trip takes 14 hours and can get rough, but while there is no cost advantage over flying, with fares from $65 one-way, it does allow you to take your car.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Living Abroad in Australia.