Planning a trip to Tasmania? Here's a budget (and kid) friendly itinerary.

Spirit of Tasmania
Thanks to our brand partner, Spirit of Tasmania

Tasmania is the ultimate destination for family holidays. This tiny little island is jam-packed with so much culture, adventure and natural beauty that planning a trip there can feel a tad... overwhelming. 

If you can relate, this is for you — because I’ve done all the hard work for you. And, of course, this itinerary is both ideal for kids and very budget-friendly, because unless you’re Beyoncé enjoying the fruits of your new country album, you're conscious of making your pennies go further like the rest of us.

Day 1: Geelong to Devonport 

A wise person once said, ‘The journey is the destination'. I dare say this wise person never travelled with kids. Or maybe they’d travelled onboard Spirit of Tasmania which is one of the very few situations where the saying really checks out. 

The vast majority of Tassie tourists get around in a car. Bringing your own car saves you thousands of dollars and hours of admin rubbish. Travelling on Spirit of Tasmania means you can simply drive your vehicle straight onto the ship (!!!!) at the Port in Geelong, Victoria and off when you arrive in Devonport, Tasmania — ready for your family roadtrip.

Sailing through Point Lonsdale, Victoria (left) and arriving in Devonport, Tasmania (right). Image: Instagram/@spiritoftas.


Also, bringing your own car or caravan means you do not need to give a second thought to luggage limits. Kids want to bring their bikes? All good! What about the camping gear? No worries. You know what — even your dog can come! Basically, if you can pack it either in the vehicle, on roof racks or tow it on your trailer, it can come with you. And, it has to be said because I so rarely get to say it: the fares are incredibly reasonable for that convenience, particularly when booked in advance. 

Okay, so now you’ve got the car parked onboard — let’s talk fun. You can choose between day or overnight sailing depending on your family’s personal preferences. Either way, as soon as you’re on Spirit of Tasmania, you’re on holidays. 

On board, you and the kids can chill by catching a movie at the cinema. If your kids are like ours, they’ll most likely be buzzing with energy and excitement which is lovely and all, but also stressful. Spirit of Tasmania gets it and that’s why they’ve kitted up the ship with plenty for them to do, like with an indoor playground and arcade style Game Zone and even free Xbox. During school holidays you’ll even find face painters, musicians and entertainers roaming the decks. 


For meals you and the fam can hit up the Tasmanian Market Kitchen (TMK). The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu for kids and adults (— kids under five also eat free!). If you fancy something lighter, or your kids refuse to waste a second on the ship sitting down for a meal, the Pantry has an array of salads and sandwiches you can grab and go at any time. 

Finally, let’s chat wine. You are, after all, going to Tasmania — home of gold standard world-class wines, beers and ciders. On Spirit of Tasmania you’ll find a bunch of bars, each with their own unique vibe (and with plenty of pizzas and paninis ready to pair your drinks with). Hot tip for parents: the bar you're looking for is called Top Deck Lounge. Here you can nab your own deck chair and local beverage of choice, sit back and enjoy the sea views. Yeah right, I hear you thinking. As if the kids will go for that. Did I mention this bar is located right next to the aforementioned kids play area. Literally fun for the whole family. 


Oh, and kids under three sail for free. Cheers to that. 

Day 2: Devonport to Gunns Plains, Lillico Beach and back to Devonport. 

The ship docks in glorious Devonport which is the perfect place to set up home base for the night. 

Where to stay in Devonport.

Discovery Parks in Devonport: It’s budget friendly, family friendly and dog friendly. Trifecta. Accommodation options range from powered sites for the camper and caravaners to some rather lovely cabins. It’s situated on absolute waterfront, has a camp kitchen and BBQ, a playground, bouncing pillow and activity room.

Lakeside Tourist Caravan Park: Another excellent option for the campers and located only 15 minutes from Spirit of Tasmania's dock. This park is another firm fave for families as it’s nestled in a beautiful bush setting, has a playground, fire pits, camp kitchen AND a river. Doggos are also welcome here and has accommodation options from powered sites to gorgeous cabins.  


Barclay Motor Inn: Only a 7 minute drive from Spirit of Tasmania and perfect for families. Accommodation options include motel style units, studio apartments, two-bedroom apartments and even a three-bedroom cottage for bigger families. Perks for kids include an indoor heated pool and half basketball and tennis court. Parents you get Foxtel and free wifi. 

What to do in Gunns Plains, Lillico Beach and Devonport.

Wings Wildlife Park: Head to Gunns Plains, only 40 minutes from Devonport. Here you’ll get to hang with birds of prey, meerkats, marmoset monkeys and, of course, the infamous Tassie Devils. 


Gunns Plains Caves: Just 10 minutes down the road, this place is pure magic. Guided tours run several times daily and are incredibly reasonably priced. 

Lillico Beach: On your way back to Devonport, take a slight detour to Lillico Beach. Every evening, a colony Fairy Penguins emerge from the water and waddle home to their burrows. 

Where to eat in Devonport.

Laneway: For breakfast hit up this funky little café in Devonport. Famous for their excellent coffee and big breakfasts. 

Drift Café Restaurant Devonport: For brunch and/or lunch, drop into Drift for amazing food made with Tassie’s finest locally sourced produce. Here you can chill out on the lawn while you watch the waves crash into shore. Kids are free to run wild chasing pelicans and playing some good old fashion lawn games.  

Valentino’s Family Restaurant: Lauded as a ‘beloved local institution’ with a family-friendly atmosphere and authentic Italian food — Valentino’s is the perfect place for dinner with kids in tow. 

Day 3: Devonport to Cradle Mountain 

Where to stay in Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain Hotel: This place won me over with its reasonably priced rooms and daily buffet breakfast (only $13.90 for kids).


Discovery Parks Cradle Mountain: Just like the Discovery Park in Devonport — a holiday and caravan park favourite for families. 

Discovery Parks Cradle Mountain. Image: Instagram/@discoveryparksandresorts.

What to do in Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain is home to some of earth’s best work. We’re talking ancient towering rainforests, vast lakes that shimmer like glass, waterfalls above and canyons below. You get the picture. Kid-friendly hikes include the Enchanted Walk and Kynvet Falls and Pencil Pine Lookout. 


Devils@Cradle: After spending the day exploring utopia, surprise the kids with this plot twist. When you visit Devils@Cradle at night, you’ll get a front-row seat to the devils nighttime feeding antics. Apparently, it’s quite noisy!

Where to eat in Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain Lodge Tavern Bar and Bistro: Great place to treat the kids to a beautiful meal out after a huge day of hiking. Lunch and dinner, 7 days a week, kids’ menu and fire place. 


Day 4: Cradle Mountain to Sheffield 

From Cradle Mountain it’s only a little over an hour until you reach Sheffield. This funky little town is a great place to stop for lunch and a wander. 

Where to eat in Sheffield.

Bossimis Bakery and Café: This spot will keep everyone in the family happy with its range of pies, cakes, sandwiches and old school charm. 

What to do in Sheffield.

Sheffield’s streets are adorned with over 160 murals. You can take a guided audio tour and learn the stories behind the faces and places of the people who once walked the same streets of this historic town. 

Sheffield to Hobart 

What to do in Hobart.

Salamanca Market: They’re basically a national icon, with over 300 stallholders every Saturday morning in Salamanca Place. From 8.30am, the waterfront buzzes with culture and community. 

MONA: A 20-minute drive outside of Hobart, the Museum of Old and New Art is a cultural experience the whole fam will enjoy. The inside displays will get your kids asking all the questions (and taking all the photos), and the outside area has funky animal sculptures that double as a playground. 

Salamanca Market (left) and MONA (right). Image: Instagram/@salamancamarket/@monamuseum.


Where to stay in Hobart.

Discovery Park Hobart: Riverfront motels and villas are a popular choice for families. Known for their relaxed atmosphere, convenient location, and affordable rates. 

Day Five: Hobart to Devonport 

This final leg of the trip is a little over three hours, but hopefully the kids will be tuckered out from their action-packed week you won’t hear a peep. 

It’s also a great time for them to recharge before hopping back on Spirit of Tasmania where they’re sure to end the holiday in style, right back in Geelong, Victoria.

Check out Spirit of Tasmania, with fares starting from just $69 for adult passengers and $35 for child passengers.

Feature Image: Instagram/@monamuseum/@cradlemountainlodge/@salamancamarket

Spirit of Tasmania
Spirit of Tasmania is one of Australia's most iconic tourism experiences. Departing nightly from Geelong, Victoria and Devonport, Tasmania, the twin ships offer passengers a unique sailing experience combined with the convenience of bringing their own vehicles. With amenities and accommodation options to suit all budgets, Spirit of Tasmania is a trip to remember. The sailing experience will be elevated more in 2024 and 2025 with the arrival of two new ships to replace the current fleet. The new ships boast 60% more vehicle space, allowing even more spirited travellers to travel to the road tripping paradise that is Tasmania.