Maria Island – A ‘must do’ when visiting Tasmania
Maria Island is a must do on your Tasmanian visit. Excellent walking awaits you or mountain bikes are also available for hire. A day on Maria Island is like stepping into another world. Maria Island is a natural wildlife sanctuary and off-shore retreat with historical ruins, sweeping bays, dramatic cliffs and plenty of stories to tell.
Located of Tasmania’s East coast it is an 8 minute drive from Orford Sanda House to the passenger ferry terminal at Triabunna. It is then an easy 20 minute ferry ride across to the island.
Experience World Heritage listed convict history. Discover the stories of the many people who have tried to tame Maria. Climb mountains and look over blue seas. Swim in crystal clear bays and walk soft, white beaches. Feel nature all around you – the sea breeze, the scents of the ocean and forest, and abundant wild life. This is a wild and gentle island, a place to linger, to leave ordinary life behind and be enchanted.
As soon as you step foot on the island you will quickly arrive in the historic Darlington township where you can spend hours exploring the old buildings and discover Darlington’s fascinating history. The stone Commissariat Store, 150 metres from the jetty, is the islands oldest building and is now a visitor centre with displays and information about the island. It was the first convict punishment station and was established in 1825 and lasted for 7 years. From 1842-1850 it became a convict probation station. During this time most of the white lime-washed buildings were built. At its peak it housed up to 500 convicts. Today, it is recognised as the best example of a convict probation station in Australia.
From Darlington it is an easy walk to the Painted Cliffs to see the wonderful patterns in the sandstone. These intriguing markings were caused by ground water percolating through the sandstone and leaving traces of iron oxide in the rock formation. This most likely occurred a long time ago in a monsoonal climate. It’s a lovely place to visit and you can easily walk or ride there from Darlington, which is only 2kms away.
In the early 1900s, Ruby Hut house was built high on the hill overlooking Darlington Bay on top of the ruins of the old Magistrate’s dwelling. Ruby Hut operated a pedal-powered wireless, which at the time, was the only communication link from Maria Island to the mainland. It was from here that weather information was transmitted to the Orford Post & Telegraph Office (now Orford Sanda House B&B) for relay to Hobart. It is also said that Ruby would hang a lantern in her cottage window at night to guide the ship that collected and delivered mail for the island.
Across on the other side you can find the Fossil Cliffs which is a fairly easy walk. If you are a keen walker then Bishop & Clerk, the islands towering peaks, can be reached on a 3 to 5 hour return walk past majestic sea cliffs, through grasslands, open forest and tall woodland to rocky slopes. Scramble over large boulders to reach the summit and be rewarded with spectacular views of the island, Freycinet Peninsula and the Tasman Sea.
Maria island is also one of Tasmania’s great bird watching spots. Eleven of the states twelve endemic species can be seen here, including the endangered forty-spotted pardalote and the rare and unique Cape Barren goose.
Wombats can be seen across the island, as well as Pademelons (a type of wallaby), Forester Kangaroos, Bennetts wallabies and Tasmanian Devils.
The waters around Maria island include a Marine Nature Reserve and are visited regularly by seals and whales. The abundant marine life and clear waters makes for spectacular diving and snorkelling.
To find out more visit Parks & Wildlife Tasmania link for Maria Island here: https://parks.tas.gov.au/explore-our-parks/maria-island-national-park This site gives you info on Parks passes, places to see, walks, etc..
TIP – There are no stores or provisions on the island. Take your own food and drink.
Maria Island – Getting There
Located off Tasmania’s East Coast, Maria Island National Park is only about 30 minutes by ferry from Triabunna, and as far from ordinary as you can imagine. The ferry sails to and from the island on a regular schedule. All available sailings are listed when you make a booking. on Encounter Maria ferry service
To find out more or to book a ticket click this link https://encountermaria.com.au/
Maria Island ‘Cruise & Walk’ with East Coast Cruises
Award winning Scenic Cruises & Wildlife Tours of Tasmania’s stunning East Coast, Including Maria Island National Park, and Ile Des Phoques. The only tours to combine viewing wild seals, dolphins, wombats, kangaroos, Cape Barren geese, eagles, wallabies, albatross and whales (during migration) with World famous landscapes and UNESCO World Heritage convict history in one day.
To find out more information on East Coast Cruises Maria Island Tour, the following link will take you to their web site: https://www.eastcoastcruises.com.au
Orford Sanda House can book your tickets for East Coast Cruises Maria Island Tour. You can pre-book (advisable to avoid disappointment) or book when you stay. Please let us know in the comments section of our booking form.
Take the Maria Island Pledge
You are bound to meet some very special characters on Maria Island. Wombats, kangaroos, wallabies, birds and many other wild and furry creatures. It’s important that we respect these animals and their beautiful home. The community of Spring Bay have written a Pledge that we’d love you to take. It’s just a simple promise to keep Maria Island the way you found it, wild and pristine.
If you’d like to take the Pledge please go to mariaislandpledge.com.au