Is ‘Spirit’ sale the answer to costly caravan crossings?

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A proposal to privatise the 'Spirit' is being investigated

Many grey nomads are shocked at the high cost of taking their van or motorhome across the Bass Strait aboard the Spirit of Tasmania … but times they could be a’changin’.

The state-owned operator of the Spirit of Tasmania ferries, TT-Line, could soon be sold off as part of a plan to encourage more private investment in the Bass Strait shipping trade.

An investigation by consultant Juturna into the state’s freight problems found a lack of private investent  in ports, rail and freight roads had contributed to the high cost of shipping across Bass Strait. It made 13 recommendations to improve the situation …  including examining the possibility of privatising TT-Line.

Spirit of Tasmania ferries currently carry about a quarter of the state’s annual container load.

However, Infrastructure and Economic Development Minister Mr O’Byrne has said the government bought the Spirit of Tasmania I and II to resolve a ‘market failure’ and there was no ‘compelling case’ to sell them now.  

Another possibility being considered by cabinet is for the Tasmanian Government to lease and run a freight ship – most likely a roll-on, roll-off vessel – in order to drive down freight costs and address capacity constraints.

The Australian newspaper reports that, importantly, the plan would also free the Spirit of Tasmania passenger ferries of their freight loads, allowing them to carry more caravans and campers, which compete for the same hold space.

It remains to be seen what effect either of these proposals would have – if adopted – on the cost of taking a rig on the Bass Strait.

Does something have to be done about the cost of taking a rig to Tasmania? Comment below

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18 Responses to Is ‘Spirit’ sale the answer to costly caravan crossings?

  1. We would love to tour Tasmania, but the cost to get there is prohibitive. The price would have to dramatically reduce for us to travel there.

  2. The cost is too high now especially at peak times. It makes a trip to Tassie a very expensive exercise. We did the trip a few years ago and had a great 3 months there, would love to go back for another 3 or 4 months, but find it hard to justify the ferry cost.

  3. We own a coach with a car trailer behind. If we go on the cheapest seats and off season, we still pay $1000 each way. Not very affordable at all..

  4. I have written to the Dept of Tasmanian Tourism over the insane prices they want to charge and guess what, no reply. All I can assume is that Tasmanians are not sincere about tourism.

    • I also wrote to the same department complaining of what was happening to Tasmania and I am Still awaiting on a reply. have you checked lately on the Dayb Sailings this year they at over $200 each last year around $89. each what happening to Tasmania Tourism

  5. We would go for around 6 months or more if the fares were bought down considerably…we are around 18m long with 5th Wheeler and Chevy – so will not be contributing to the Tasmanian economy because it’s to expensive to go there on the Spirit…very sad…we will spend our money elsewhere:-(

  6. Build a bridge lol

  7. always wish they would run a spirit out of Sydney once a month doesn’t have to be a weekly service, but im sure it would sell out

    • They tried that a few years ago but it was much cheaper to drive to Melbourne and stay at a top hotel then to go from Sydney.

  8. Have had 2 trips to Tassie with the ‘van, but now can’t afford to go back.
    Were planning for next year but we can travel a lot of kilometres and nights for $1600. Sorry Tassie, we would love to come back.

  9. You want to try living here and taking your van over. Its getting to the stage were considering leaving the van in Melb

  10. We took our car and van over to Tassie a few years back and had a ball for three months,
    We would love to do it again But….. when working out the cost of fuel from Perth and then add the “Ridiculous” cost of the return trip on the “Spirit” it is just,… not worth another visit,
    Sorry Tasmania, I guess we will be spending our savings somewhere else,…..UNLESS, there is a great reduction in fares very soon

  11. it will be like all fire sales the govts make.
    once privatised watch the price of the trip go up up and up

  12. I agree with all the statements above and have not done the trip with a van as yet for the same reasons. I do however agree with Gayle of Tassie. They are isolated and cannot enjoy the rest of this beautiful country because of the costs of getting to the mainland. For that reason alone something should be done. I also don’t think that privatization is the answer, hasent worked for anything else really.

  13. we did the trip with the van 2 years ago. The cost then was around $2000.
    Spent 9 weeks on the little island, but will not go back, as the costs are now beyond our reach. We spent in excess of $8000 on the total trip which last 3 months.
    Tassie loss, but they will continue to complain re the lack of tourism support, and not listen to what the people want,

  14. Since bob brown and the greens stopped the franklin dam all the buisness has left that means no jobs people are working out of the state
    The greens that live in tas live in wooden houses have wood fires and have old cars and they call themselves green
    No buisness means no taxes & no subsidies for tourism if boats privatised see the prices rise just have a look back over the years what happened with the railway in tas

  15. I have lost count of the number of Grey Nomads who, on seeing my Tas Number plates, have asked re the cost of coming to Tas. When told, the answer I receive mostly is to the effect they can travel from Melbourne to Qld and return cheaper than the ferry cost. Car + van average cost $1600 for overnight return trip, no meals included, works out at about $70 per hour. A glass of wine is $8.50 at the bar, must buy grog on the ferry, cannot bring one`s own o board.

  16. We went there for 2 months, travelling on the Spirit with van, it worked out a little cheaper for us as we were able to free camp in the State, the cost of Petrol and van parks and getting to Queensland from S.A was much dearer, we did stay in some C/P in Tassie as well,

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