Devonport is the third largest city in the state of Tasmania, Australia located on the north coast, on the Bass Strait.
Devonport, along with the centres of Ulverstone, Latrobe, Wynyard and Burnie is part of Tasmania’s North West or Cradle Coast region.
Often referred to as the gateway to Tasmania, being the arrival port of the daily Bass Strait ferry service from the mainland.
With a population of around 25,000 people, Devonport is really just a large town. The main part of the town, West Devonport sits largely between the Don River to the West and Mersey River to the East. The other part of the town, East Devonport is directly across the Mersey River from the town centre. Devonport boasts a number of pleasant beaches, natural bush reserves and striking headlands including the Mersey Bluff with its lighthouse sitting atop.
Devonport is the closest point of arrival to the World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, only around an hours drive away.
Devonport is the Tasmanian arrival port for the Spirit of Tasmania passenger ferries from the mainland.
The Spirit of Tasmania I and Spirit of Tasmania II travel the Melbourne - Devonport route providing an overnight service in both directions every day of the year. The vessels depart at 8PM and arrive the following morning at 7AM. During peak periods there are additional daytime crossings, departing at 9AM and arriving the same day at 6PM, and the overnight ferry going from 9PM until 6AM. The ferry travels faster! The ferry terminal is in East Devonport, directly across the river from the town centre. Boarding closes 45 minutes before the departure time, and it is not unusual for the ship to be sailing well away from the wharf at the time of scheduled departure.
There are restaurants, both buffet and à-la-carte on board. There is a cinema, several bars, and live music during summer crossings. There is a shop selling essentials and tourist items. There is a phone which works while at sea, and an ATM which doesn't.
Telstra provides mobile and 3G data throughout the ship to its subscribers, even when at sea. No other mobile or data services are available.
The vessels have a wide variety of accommodation, these include Cruise Seats, Business Class Seats, Inside 3, 4 Berth Cabin, Porthole 3, 4 Berth Cabin, Inside Twin Cabin, Porthole Twin Cabin and the luxurious Deluxe Cabins.
Fares Its cheap to take your car onboard, at $65 per car year around each way. The cost is subsidised by the federal government as part of the national highway budget. Unfortunately you can't send your car unaccompanied, and you will have to buy at least one seat on the ship.
A seat usually costing between $120 and $180 depending on the time of year. The cheapest cabin costing between $170 and $280 per person, depending on the time of year each way. More for a twin or deluxe cabin, more for a porthole.
It can easily be cheaper to fly than to take the ship, and as a guide a flight and a week of car hire in a small car for a couple usually works out around the same price as a return trip with a car in a twin cabin.
Motorbikes cost $45, and bicycles cost $7. However, officially these are only entitled to the subsidised rate if they are your form of transportation. If you can get the bicycles on the car on a bike rack within the standard car length, then you pay no extra for them.
The ship docks in East Devonport. The walk around via the road bridge is a long one, and you may need to get a taxi into town if you don't have a car, or you aren't renting one at the wharf.
During daytime (M-F 7AM-5:30PM; Sa 9AM-5PM) the little Torquay Ferry crosses the river directly from dock to city centre ($3, Feb 2019).
By planeDevonport Airport is 8 km (5 miles) from the town centre. This small regional Airport is served by Qantaslink which arrives up to six times a day, connecting with other flights on the mainland at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne. Local carrier Tasair operates passenger and cargo flights to King Island.
To get to or from the airport:
- A taxi will cost approximately $20 from the town centre.
- Taste the Tiers Tours operate buses between the town centre and the airport. Fares start at $10 per person one way.
- There are a number of car rental agencies with an office at the airport.
- 277 km (172 miles) from Hobart via the Midland Hwy - about 3 hr
- 251 km (156 miles) from Hobart via the Lake Hwy - about 3½ hr (some gravel sections and subject to alpine weather, including ice and snow)
- 100 km (62 miles) from Launceston via the Bass Hwy - about 1 hr
- 46 km (28 miles) from Burnie - about 30min
- 88 km (54 miles) from Cradle Mountain National Park - about 1hr 20min
- 208 km (129 miles) from Strahan - about 3 hr
- 254 km (158 miles) from Freycinet National Park - about 3 hr
- 335 km (208 miles) from Port Arthur - about 4½ hr
- Tassielink run a coach (M-Sa) from Hobart via Launceston.
- Red Line Coaches run a coach from Hobart, generally twice per day.
By footThe city centre of Devonport is concentrated within walking distance. So it makes sense to get around the area on foot. If your apartment or hotel is not close to the city centre, a taxi will come and pick you up. Devonport is, beside the ferry terminus, a small country town.
It's just over 30 minutes walk out to the bluff and the lighthouse.
It is, however, a significant walk from the ferry terminus in East Devonport to downtown in West Devonport. The passenger ferry service Torquay that used to operate across the Mersey from the ferry to the town has been suspended.
An offroad cycleway follows the waterfront, going up to the lighthouse. However, the two sections of cycleway relied on the passenger ferry to connect them. East Devonport is inaccessible unless you want to cycle on the road, and are prepared to take the freeway bridge.
By rental car
If you are going to hire a car, there are car rental facilities at the wharf.
Tiagarra Aboriginal Cultural CentreA museum of Aboriginal history, with a nature trail that takes you to view natural rock formations that have been mistaken for Aboriginal rock carvings.
Mersey Bluff LighthousePenguin-viewing area.
Don Village and Don River RailwayVintage steam train and pioneer-style museum.
address: 6 Gloucester AvenueStories of Bass Strait, European exploration, shipwrecks, settlement and trade.
phone: +61 364272690address: 46 Old Tramway Rd, EugenanaWalk among collections of trees from temperate climes on 66 ha, and see local wildlife, including water birds and platypus. Enjoy the peaceful environment. The Tree Park Kiosk is open for light refreshments Oct-May 11AM to 4PM. All facilities. Coin-operated BBQs 2 x $1 coins.
phone: +61 3 6423 2397address: 17 Forbes StWhere the locals go for seafood. Fish and chip takeaway and wet fish shop.
address: 34 Best StThis Irish pub is one of the biggest spots for beer on tap in town. Dinner is served until 8PM and on weekends the bar fills up fast.
The pub Molly Malones has a couple of rooms upstairs starting from $15 per night. One double room with en suite $50 for the posh backpackers.
There is also a backpackers' hostel behind the old Devonport Hospital, beds start at $13 in a dorm.
phone: +61 3 6427 8441address: 4 Thomas StreetNext to the Spirit of Tasmania terminal.
phone: +61 3 6424 8411address: 140 North Fenton StreetFree wi-fi, Foxtel, reverse cycle air-conditioning.