The ideal combination of nature and history rewards those who seek to explore Maria Island, off Tasmania’s East Coast. After arriving on the Maria Island ferry, start your exploration at Darlington Probation Station – a World Heritage Australian Convict Site. From Darlington, continue your Maria Island discovery by weaving along the numerous trails on foot or by bike and leave your ordinary life behind.
Spectacular cliffs wrap around the eastern side of Maria Island, providing a perfect vantage point for watching birds dive and swoop into the ocean. In season, you may even be lucky enough to spot the whales that frequent these waters during their annual migration. On the western side of the island, the Painted Cliffs are one of Maria Island’s more memorable spectacles, showcasing the power of nature in their weathered contours, where the combination of wind and waves has eroded the sandstone to reveal a striking facade.
Maria Island is a special place where long sandy beaches, turquoise water, mountaintop vistas, abundant wildlife and a multi-layered human history come together to create a perfect island destination.
Whilst there is a lot to do on-island, some visitors choose not to do too much. More relaxing activities include taking in the amazing scenery, wandering around Darlington learning more about the island’s history, and wildlife watching in between. High on the list of the Park Rangers’ manageable ‘must-dos’ are the Painted Cliffs and Fossil Cliffs – both easier short walks from Darlington.
From a casual stroll around Darlington, to scrambling up boulders to the summit of Mount Maria, and just about everything in between, there are short walks, day walks and overnight walks to suit all levels of ability. As always, come prepared – food, water, suitable clothing, instagram account, etc. Limited untreated water is available at Darlington, French’s Farm and Encampment Cove.
Bring your own or hire one through us, cycling around Maria is a great way to experience this island sanctuary. Once again, choose your own adventure – flat and easy, or steep and hard-going. Apart from a few Parks and Wildlife 4×4’s, there are no vehicles on the island – though the native hens (turbo chooks) do appear to be on wheels when going at full tilt.
To reserve a bike or bikes please book online at least 24 hours prior to your ferry departure. A limited number of bikes may be available to hire on the day of travel – please call 03 6256 4772 or enquire in person.
A good amount of the north coast of the island is a marine reserve, and with that there are designated ‘fishing’ and ‘no fishing’ zones. The reserve therefore – among other spots around the island – is a great spot to explore the island’s marine environment. Pack your wetsuit, mask and fins, we’ll even lug your kayak across on the ferry so you can navigate the water, above and below.