Maria Island

It was always going to be a special part of Tasmania for us. A memory lane moment when we reflected on our last visit here with the kids, Kady and Erin. Finding the wombats for the first time, dodging black snakes, exploring ruins, and riding our bikes around the island with them. That was four years ago and believe it or not the place hasn’t changed much. Probably due to the fact that Maria Island is frozen in time…around 200 years actually. Conservation of both the built environment and the fauna is Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife main concern.

To start this story, we need to go back a bit. We left our trusty van, collected and hugged our bikes (warmshowers hosts are awesome…thank-you for looking after them) and preceded to Triabunna, the gateway to Maria Island. It was cold again and very very very blowy. I seriously don’t think Tasmanians know how to do summer.

What a view, sorting out the panniers again and cleaning the van.

Maria Island is accessed via a boat, a very big boat and it has totally sealed cabins on a lower and upper deck. It was a pleasant trip and Mandy didn’t turn green at all. They even have a Cafe on board, so coffee was on…

A cycling trip to the south was in order. Destination Frenchs Farm, Entrapment Cove and the Isthmus. Every island on Tasmania must have an isthmus or they are not allowed to be an island. This previous fact may not be true, but I have only been on two islands in Tasmania and both have isthmuses.

A poke around the old farm proved interesting and we scared many native marsupials that were happily lazing around. Sorry…

Pushing on, it was history lesson time. Off to Entrapment Bay where the convict cells, built by the convicts, lay in ruins. I’m sure that the convicts would have loved the fact that they had to build their own jails. What a life they lived. They also fired the bricks themselves and made the mortar all on the Island. The road was rocky but ridable on the touring bikes; fun actually to get off the deco road and onto grass and stone paths.

The cells were not very wide.

If only these trees or this fence posts could tell their story. They are next to the haunted convict cells, but placed there at a later time; when farmers were trying to cultivate the land.

Lunch spot.

Isthmus time again. There is a camp site here with flushing toilets. Very flash. You would need a drone to see the Isthmus and I don’t have one so you will just have to trust me…..or google it.

Turning for home and the cycling gods came to help. We had tailwinds behind us; spinnaker and mainsail set, we powered on towards the Painted Cliffs.

Nature is awesome. It quietly sits around for billions of years, sculpting and arranging sedimentary layers, compressing them or manipulating them into art, jewellery or triumphantly gladiatorial panoramas. Occasionally heaving them many kilometres toward the surface, only to be weathered to perfection; specifically for our viewing satisfaction.

Well I think so anyway.

Seriously, this is Gladiatorial stuff

Growing up, both Mandy and I were led by our parents to enjoy playing around in rock pools. Looking for the smallest creatures, finding life and beauty within the simplest of environments.

Back to camp and it was time to spot some animals. There is a warning here, the cuteness level is way off the chart.

Baby wombat
Mums pouch is backwards

Slide the above image for more cuteness baby wombats.

Upon an afternoon walk, we were lucky enough to see a Tasmanian Devil. But these little fellas are FAST and do not like paparazzi. He/She was also chasing prey into the bracken, so it didn’t have time to strike a pose. Sad face.

Leaving the bikes at the camp the next day, we strung a few walks together and targeted Bishop and Clerk as our main challenge. A climb 600 plus metres. Terrain varied from grasslands, bushlands, tree roots, rutted paths, open rock slides, to bouldering at the finish. On the way there we stopped off at an old quarry that had truly amazing history. I’m talking billions of years of history.

I firmly believe that you should do something that really scares you at least once each year. At the very top of this walk was a large boulder. It was cambering towards the edge of the cliff face. You are standing on an angle surface that goes towards the edge of the 600m cliff.

Now you have to climb up another boulder that is around 1.5m tall. It has two very small ledges that you can just get a toenail hold into. You have to feel for hand holds in the next rock up in order to drag your body up and stabilize yourself, whilst feeling for the toenail holds. This would be OK except I left my 40 year old body back 10 years ago and this 50 year old body still needs some work.

The view from the top was simply spectacular, amazing, phenomenal, panoramic, raw, tinglingly refreshing and downright cool. Almost 360 degree vista, the Hazards back on the mainland, Darlington town, and pretty much everywhere. I think I saw the leaning tower of Pisa from here, but could have been a hallucination from lack of oxygen.

At this point my mind drifts to the going down bit. Hmmmm that rock that I so elegantly clambered/scraped myself up would now have to be descended. This was my 2021 moment, I was truly scared here. I couldn’t find the foot holds, I didn’t know where the levels were, I couldn’t see anything due to descending on my stomach; frantically grasping and feeling for the hand holds I tried once and then twice by myself to no avail. Mandy came to the rescue and risked her own sanity/safety to verbally direct me. It is a good thing, as I think I would still be there otherwise.

Walking back toward camp.

There is so much more to say, so many more animals we saw, so many more views.

You need to come here, but you need to stay a few nights at least.


  1. The pademelon and the mamma and baby wombat are the cutest things EVER.
    And to being able to get so close amazing.’
    The biggest picture of the painted cliffs is just beautiful.
    Your photography work is getting pretty awesome
    I hope it warms up for you soon.

    • Jacky they were beautiful. Mandy wanted to take one, or actually all of them home.
      We were so lucky the see the baby in the pouch.


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