Motorcycle Travel Guide: Tasmania

Welcome to Tasmania – one of the best places in the world to ride a motorcycle. This motorcycle travel guide explains everything you need to know about motorcycle touring and riding in Tasmania and will help you get the most out of your biking adventures there.

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Contents

Motorcycle Travel Guide Tasmania

Welcome to Tasmania – one of the best places in the world to ride a motorcycle! Off the southern coast of Australia, the little island may be small, but it packs a punch.

Tasmania is an island state of Australia located around 150 miles south of the mainland. To get there, you’ll need to either fly in or take the ferry across the Bass Strait. It’s the least populous state of Australia with over 40% of its inhabitants living in the capital, Hobart, but it’s also the most mountainous with over 450 peaks. So the roads are long, open and empty – perfect for biking.

It’s a rite of passage for every Australian motorcyclist and everyone we ran into on the mainland said we absolutely had to go. And they weren’t wrong. It’s wild, remote and raw with the cleanest air in the road. It’s backcountry is rugged and riding through it feels like venturing through a long forgotten land.  

You’re going to absolutely love it! And to help you plan and get the most out of your motorcycle ride in Tasmania, we’ve pulled together this packed biking guide. Read on for everything you need to know about motorcycle travel in Tasmania. 

Paperwork for motorcycle travel in Tasmania

Tasmania is a state of Australia, so to travel there you’ll need the appropriate Australian visa. If you are planning on taking a foreign plated motorcycle to Tasmania, then the same rules apply as per shipping to Australia in regards to Carnet de passage, quarantine, insurance etc.

We have a motorcycle travel guide for Australia, which explains all the paperwork requirements in detail for you personally and for your motorcycle (if you are shipping your own bike there) and it is all applicable to travel in Tasmania.

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How to get in and out of Tasmania with a motorcycle

Firstly, you’ll need to fly to Australia’s mainland. The closest city on the mainland is Melbourne, which has the most flights to Tasmania. You can also easily fly from Sydney. Flights from Melbourne typically go to Hobart or Launceston and take around one hour.

So, if you’re flying in to collect your own motorcycle that you shipped to Australia, we recommend shipping to Melbourne, flying there and riding to the ferry (more on the ferry below).

Or, if you’re flying into Australia to rent a bike in Tasmania, we recommend flying to either Melbourne or Sydney (whichever has the cheapest flights) and then flying to Hobart or Launceston using Virgin Australia, Jetstar (usually the cheapest), Qantas (Qantaslink does fly to Devenport) or Regional Express.

We recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights. When you click on departure and arrival dates, select Flexible and click entire month as it will then show you the cheapest days that month.

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Shipping a motorcycle to Australia

You cannot ship your motorcycle directly to Tasmania from outside of Australia. But you can ship to most of Australia’s main cities. But, as you’re heading to Tasmania, the easiest mainland city to ship to is Melbourne.

Be aware, shipping to Australia is trickier than a lot of other countries due to their strict quarantining rules. We have a dedicated article on shipping to Australia, which explains the process in more detail. We also have shipping guides and recommended shipping agents in Australia who we have personally used. You’ll find the links below.

Once you have shipped your motorcycle to Australia, you can then ride to the ferry terminal and catch the boat to Tasmania.

READ MORE:

Australia Motorcycle Travel Shipping

Entering Tasmania with a foreign registered motorcycle

If you’re travelling with a foreign registered motorcycle, you would have had to of shipped to mainland Australia first and will then be taking the ferry to Tasmania. Your paperwork, such as customs documents, insurance, carnet etc will have been sorted on arrival into Australia. There are no additional paperwork requirements for entering Tasmania. But do make sure your paperwork is in order and your insurance covers you to ride there.

How to use the Tasmania ferry with your motorcycle

To get from mainland Australia to Tasmania, you will be using the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry service. The Spirit used to be located in Victoria, but moved to Geelong in 2022. The ferry departs from Geelong and arrives in Devenport, Tasmania.

Expect the crossing to take between 9 and 11 hours. You can reserve tickets online by visiting their website spiritoftasmania.com.au

It’s always best to book in advance. Ticket prices vary dependent on the time of year, how busy the sailing is and whether you’ve got a day or night passage. Here’s some extra info on the crossing:

Port locations

The Spirit of Tasmania ferry port is located in Geelong on the mainland and Devenport in Tasmania. Below are the Google Map links to both ports.  

Check in

This one is very important. You can check in 1.5 to 2.5 hours before departure – but – check-in closes 45 minutes before departure. And they are very, very strict. We were close to that time and out of curiosity asked at the booth what leyway they give. The lady said a maximum of five minutes, but we saw them close the booth and place barriers up at exactly 45 minutes prior to departure time. So don’t be late.

You can arrive early at both terminals and will find free parking spaces. So it’s best to leave plenty of time.

Day or night

The Spirit of Tasmania offers day and night sailings. Consider this for your crossing and don’t get caught out. If you take the day crossing then you will need to book a hotel in advance so you can ride off the ferry and straight to your accommodation. If you go for a night crossing, it’s worth paying extra for a cabin on the boat so you can sleep on the crossing and are ready to start your ride straight away.

Rough crossing

Tasmania is around 150 miles south of mainland Australia and separated by the Bass Strait, which is known for being very rough. When we got on the boat, before it had even moved the captain came on the announcer and said, “If you have seasickness tablets, take them now.” They do sell tablets on the ferry, but it’s of course best to take your own and in advance if you suffer. A cabin might also be a good idea.

Petrol canisters

If you carry auxiliary fuel cannisters (or even petrol stove bottles), make sure they are empty before you get to the port because this will definitely hold you up.

Biosecurity

Tasmania does have strict biosecurity rules even though you are coming from mainland Australia. You cannot take certain foods like fruit and vegetables. Here is a link to the Tasmania government website explaining what you can and can’t take.

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Motorcycle transport to Tasmania

We have met a few people in Australia that would love to ride in Tasmania, but suffer from very bad sea sickness or are afraid of sea crossings. If this is the case for you, or even if you’re just strapped for time, bear in mind that there are companies that can transport your motorcycle from Australia mainland to Tasmania. 

That way you can do away with the crossing and simply catch a one hour flight. A good example of a Tasmania motorcycle transport company is tmt.net.au.

Renting a motorcycle or joining a tour in Tasmania

Tasmania is a fantastic place to rent a motorcycle or even join an organised motorcycle tour, and there are plenty of brilliant companies out there offering their services.

If you are from Australia, or even if you’re from abroad, and want to ride there, you can do away with the hassle of the ferry or shipping your bike into Aus and just rent a bike in Tasmania. It takes the stress out of it. Of course, rentals are more expensive than using your own bike, but consider the ferry costs and the two days spent travelling too.

Here’s a few great companies based in Tasmania and below you’ll find our recommended companies for mainland Australia.

READ MORE: Australia Motorcycle Rental and Tour Companies

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Buying a motorcycle in Tasmania

Another option is to simply fly in and buy a motorcycle in Tasmania. As a foreigner, you can buy a bike in Australia and Tasmania is no different. You’ll find lots more info about this in our Motorcycle Travel Guide for Australia. 

Just bear in mind, it’s easier to sell the bike in the same state it was bought in. So you may have to stay until you’ve sold it if you don’t have anywhere to store the bike after your trip.

When to motorcycle travel in Tasmania

Luckily, Tasmania has a very temperate climate, meaning it doesn’t get excessively hot or cold. But it can rain sporadically – and a lot. You can have four seasons in one day in Tasmania, so pack the appropriate gear regardless of when you go.

So, the best months to go on a motorcycle trip in Tasmania are between November and February. Bear in mind that December and January are popular months and so you might find the campsites are busy. The shoulder seasons are also a good idea. We travelled in March and had brilliant weather and the campsites were near enough all empty.

When you arrive on the island, have a look at the forecasts for the east and west of the island. One side may be raining while the other is fine, so simply decide based on the best weather if you should go clockwise or anti-clockwise.

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Accommodation and costs

Tasmania is tiny in comparison to mainland Australia, and as mentioned at the beginning, over 40% of its population reside in Hobart. It’s also a very popular destination, so that means its hotels can get booked up quickly.

We recommend using booking.com and finding places in advance. You don’t need to book your entire trip in advance, but just have your places saved as backups. Airbnb is also another good option if you’d like a longer-term base.

Here’s a link to Devenport on booking.com. Using this map you can quickly move around the island and easily gauge current prices and the types of places that are available today.

Motorcycle camping in Tasmania

Camping with your motorcycle is absolutely brilliant in Tasmania and very easy to do. We highly recommend downloading the WikiCamps app. You’ll find loads of camping spots throughout the island with updates, reviews, prices, pictures and more. It’s well worth the couple of pounds for the app and we used it every day. There are also plenty of free campsites in Tasmania that you will find on the app as well as paid for sites. The free iOverlander app also works well.

If you do decide to camp, make sure your tent is fully waterproof. You might have blue sky all day and a cool evening, but the heavens could easily open at 2am with an accompanying thunderstorm. It might also be very warm during the day but freezing at night, so pack warm sleeping bags too.

 READ MORE:

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Our favourite motorcycle campsites in Tasmania

Tasmania is filled with brilliant campsites, many of them free and the majority are beautiful. We absolutely loved motorcycle camping throughout Tasmania and have listed some of our favourite campsites below. 

Binalong Bay

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

This was a stunning free camp spot right by the sea. Waves lapped through night as you sleep on soft sand. Binalong Bay is busy, but there are great campsites dotted along the coast. The spots might get filled up fast in peak season. Use WikiCamps and find a site anywhere along this stretch of coast.

Derwent Bridge

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

There’s a pub in Derwent Bridge and the car park is full of campers, but they don’t allow tents. But don’t worry, a very short ride down the road is a secluded lovely spot right by a flowing stream on soft ground. The Aurora Australis lit up the sky when we were there too. 

Just before Corinna

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania Camping

We loved the Western Explorer road (see The Best Motorcycle Routes in Tasmania Guide). Once you get to the old gold mining town of Corinna you’ll need to take a cute little barge across the Pieman river to carry on to Zeehan. But it’s worth mooching about Corinna first and seeing what life was like there. Just a few miles short of Corinna are great free little camp spots by the river. The spots aren’t particularly special and there’s no amenities, it’s more for convenience in Corinna the next day.

Teds Beach

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

This campsite is right on the waterfront of Lake Pedder. We camped here as we went to check out Gordon Dam. It’s close by, has toilets and a cooking area with free BBQ facilities. It’s a beautiful spot.

Safety for motorcycle travellers in Tasmania

Of course, it is nowhere near as large as the Australian outback and you don’t have the same associated risks, but there are large parts of Tasmania that have not been touched by humans before. It’s still a wild and unpredictable island with some extremely remote roads and areas where you might not pass other people for hours or even days, so caution should be taken.

It’s always worth carrying an emergency GPS device should you need help. There are stretches of road that clearly signpost that there is no phone signal. So, especially if you’re travelling alone, a device like this could save a life.

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Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Wildlife when motorcycle travelling in Tasmania

Tasmania is home to three deadly snakes and a selection of spiders too. If you get a bite from any snake or spider, dial 000 immediately.

Watch out for huntsman spiders too. They’re not deadly, but one crawled up inside Alissa’s helmet – as we were riding… (read more about that in our Devil of a Time in Tasmania Blog)

Animals such as wallabies and wombats are also a danger for motorcyclists as they often jump out in front of bikes. The same rules apply as on the mainland, stop riding by dusk and don’t ever ride at night.

Check our Australia motorcycle travel guide for more tips and info on dealing with animals in Australia.

Riding conditions in Tasmania

Paved roads

You can ride around Tasmania using only paved roads and not touch gravel. The roads are in great condition and there’s a lot of beautiful tarmac roads on offer with plenty of twisties throughout the island.

Off-road

If you’re into gravel riding then you’re in for a treat. Tasmania is packed with incredible off-road tracks weaving their way through deep forests and up and over misty mountains. The riding isn’t technical unless you specifically go in search of it. You can ride beginner to advanced off-road routes dependent on your ability levels.

National Parks

There is some fantastic riding to be had through Tasmania’s National Parks. To ride there, you do need a Parks Pass. This can be purchased on the ferry or online.

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Route planning

Tasmania is one of the very, very few places in the world that we actually came up with a day-by-day route for. We’re on a round the world trip with no time limit, so we take each day as it comes. But, we only had ten days for Tasmania because we needed to get back to Australia and get up to Brisbane ready for shipping onto New Zealand before the weather changed.

We didn’t want to miss anything in our ten-day trip, and because there is so much to see and do in Tasmania, we had to come up with a solid plan to make sure we could fit it all in.

We ended up staying with a friend in Melbourne before catching the ferry and he had visited Tasmania a bunch of times and pulled a book of his shelf and said this would help.

Throw Your Leg Over – Tasmania was an invaluable resource in planning our trip there and we highly recommend it. Written by Alan Cox and Bridget Hallam, the book has every single amazing road listed with maps that you can scan using a QR code and instantly have on your phone. It was a huge help in planning our ride and we suggest you get it to make the most of your trip there too. 

The best motorcycle routes in Tasmania

There are so many incredible routes throughout Tasmania that it deserves its own guide. For our favourite riding roads and what we believe are the best routes, check out the dedicated guide below. And you’ll also find our complete route in the Tasmania Tour guide too.

READ MORE:

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Adventure riding gear for Tasmania

As mentioned in the weather section above, you can find yourself riding through four seasons in one day in Tasmania. So you’re motorcycle riding gear needs to be multi-purpose and all-season. At the very least, make sure it is waterproof or you have throwover waterproofs.

We found ourselves riding through baking hot weather during the day, freezing cold up a mountain in the afternoon, back into the warm for the evening and then sat through torrential rain and a thunderstorm that night with a perfectly blue sky in the morning.

There’s lots of brilliant off-roading and adventure riding to be had in Tasmania too. So, we would suggest lightweight, but protective riding gear that’s well ventelated and also waterproof. Don’t forget to pack warm clothes for chilly evenings like a compressible down jacket you can wear under your riding gear.

READ MORE: Adventure Riding Gear Guides

Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Top tips

  • Make sure you watch out for wildlife. Wallabies and wombats can run out in the road. You may also fly around a corner and find slippery roadkill splattered across the middle of the road. So be extra vigilant. Also watch out for logging trucks.
  • Mobile phone signal can be sketchy throughout the island. If you’re flying in from abroad, we recommend getting an eSIM on your mobile phone and having calls and data loaded onto your mobile before you arrive. A good option for this is Airalo.
  • Not all campsites will accept tents. Check on Wikicamps first and make sure it states tents are allowed.
  • Petrol stations often close at 7pm in rural towns, so calculate your fuel accordingly. Also expect cafes to close early and at weird times throughout the day.
  • Join motorcycle groups on Facebook that are based in Australia and introduce yourself and your plans for a trip to Tasmania. You’ll be surprised at how helpful people are in those groups with tips, ideas and routes.
  • Plan as much time as possible for Tasmania. It’s a real riding gem.
Motorcycle Travel Tasmania

Read more on motorcycle travel in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand

Thanks for checking out the Motorcycle Travel Guide: Tasmania. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle travel in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand that we recommend you read next. 

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Are you planning a motorcycle tour in Tasmania? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

2 thoughts on “Motorcycle Travel Guide: Tasmania”

  1. I operated sidecar tours for 7 years in Hobart. Mt Wellington is the ultimate ride, sea level to 4000ft; over 1000 rides I took up the mountain, every trip was different; light, temperature, atmosphere; traffic and road surface conditions. Tasmania is not a race track; a lot of riders come to grief; it is a cruiser experience, smell the roses, be rode smart and careful around cars.
    Owen Allen.

    Reply
    • Hi Owen, thanks for your comment. Wow, that must have been a brilliant job!
      Thanks for the adding the Mount Wellington suggestion, sounds good.
      And you’re definitely right, it’s not a race track and is the type of ride that you need to take your time and enjoy it.
      Cheers and all the best,
      Andy

      Reply

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