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Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

Wodonga, Australia
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65 posts
125 reviews
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Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

Hi all, my partner and I would like to spend a week in KI during March 2011. We will have a brand new Audi so I am feeling a little nervous about putting it on the Sealink ferry which seems to have the monopoly. Does anyone know what the service is like, does it compare for example to the Tassie ferry which is a nightmare if you have a nice car (cars usually not tied down, very tight fit/other pax banging bags against your doors, cannot see your car, long delays boarding/deboarding etc.)

Those who have used the Sealink, I would appreciate any response, thanks!

Sydney, Australia
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748 posts
8 reviews
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1. Re: Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

The Sealink ferries have a single vehicle deck which you can drive on or off; they don't usually pack the cars very close together, but how tightly packed they are in depends on the number of vehicles on each crossing. March is not peak season so you won't have too many cars at that time. Unlike the Spirit of Tasmania, the crossing is only 45 minutes long and although choppy at times, the swell usually isn't too bad.

The voyage though I think is the least of your worries if you want to take an expensive new car to KI. KI is 85% dirt road and the quality of some of the roads is not great. If you're going to spend a week, unless you plan to stick around in Kingscote and Penneshaw for the whole week, you're probably going to end up driving on a few of the bad roads. Anyone who is nervous about putting their car on the Sealink ferry should worry much more about what the roads are going to do to your car.

If you're worried in any way, leave your car secured somewhere in Adelaide, catch the Sealink coach down to Cape Jervis, catch the ferry and hire a car on the island (book ASAP) - the cost isn't much more because you're not paying the car fares to and from the island. Or fly and hire a car, which will be a bit more expensive.

Wodonga, Australia
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65 posts
125 reviews
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2. Re: Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

Thank you that's very helpful advice. I'm not worried about dirt roads or potholes, the car can survive those fine, and as it is March I don't expect to get bogged, but can you describe what you mean by very rough? I don't know if you've ever been to the Bungles in WA but that was the roughest road I've experienced, as the road is very chopped up and uneven with giant humps bumps and blind corners, but if it's dry you will get round if you have 4WD which my new car will have. It's just very slow. Is this what you mean?

.
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827 posts
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3. Re: Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

@ Ozwitch,

If you take it slow, you'll be fine. The main roads on KI are sealed; the majority of the roads are unsealed. A 4WD is not necessary to use these roads - reduced speed and caution are.

Yes, there are blind corners. Use caution and be especially alert around dawn and dusk (and at night) to avoid hitting the wildlife. Show care and reduce your speed when travelling on the unsealed roads - they can be very 'slippery' especially on the corners. A number of the unsealed roads are made with an ironstone gravel which over time comes to resemble small marbles (not an ideal driving surface).

Depending on the maintenance schedule, and what road you're on, it may be in very poor condition and 'corrugated'.

Melbourne, Australia
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133 posts
72 reviews
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4. Re: Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

I went to KI in April this year and took my car by sealink ferry. They definately packed the cars in, but they do it in a very skilled way. It was almost an art to watch from the deck above. There are many staff on board to help people park their cars and before they bring in the next row of cars, people exit their vehicles so it is unlikely that door damage would occur.

As RobSyd said the roads are more of a concern. I am very used to driving on dirt roads around Victoria but the roads on KI were something else! Many of them are like corrugated iron and everything in the car shakes and jolts alot. Having said that, I took a new car to KI and whilst it was certainly tested at times, I don't think I did any major damage.

Enjoy KI - It is a magical place!

Wodonga, Australia
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65 posts
125 reviews
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5. Re: Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

thank you all - that gives me a good picture. I do drive dirt roads round Victoria myself a fair bit, including farms etc so I know what you mean by ruts and corrugations! I've also done outback driving round Qld & NT and seen all the roadkill as well. Common sense is king.

To sum up, if I'm careful and take it slow and easy and drive at sensible times, I shouldn't have any real problems? I can live with that. The ferry sounds okay, waaaay better than the Tassie ferry anyway.

Thanks for all the help!

Adelaide
9 posts
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6. Re: Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

Your car will be fine. Sealink are experts at this and also when the crossing is described as "choppy", it's choppy compared to the flat water it normally is, nothing compared to the Tazzie crossing.

There are two major roads that run straight through the heart of Kangaroo Island and they are perfect tarmac. They also link all the major attractions so no worries there.

If you are a little worried, head to the Sealink website self drive area:

sealink.com.au/getting_there/…

Here they have an RAA map you can download for free (just click on the image) and it has the road status, quality etc etc.

Destination Expert
for Adelaide, South Australia, Kangaroo Island
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3,550 posts
85 reviews
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7. Re: Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

I've taken a car on the Sea Link ferry at LEAST 30 times and never had a problem. Much like driving the car on a road, you take your chances but as a rule you'll find your car will be fine..

8. Re: Quality of Sealink Ferry Service

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