“A wildlife sanctuary and off-shore retreat where you sleep in an old jail and imagine dinosaurs walking around.”
Maria Island National Park is Tasmania's only island park, six kilometres off the state's east coast and an easy 30-minute trip from Triabunna. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Tyreddeme people, it has also been whaling and sealing post, penal settlement and an Italianate pleasure resort. You can explore the Island on bushwalks including Fossil Cliffs, Painted Cliffs, and the peaks of Mt Maria and Bishop and Clerk. The geology of Maria Island contains features from many geological ages, it’s a mash up of time zones. The sandstones of the Painted Cliffs are from the Triassic period, when the first dinosaurs appeared on earth. Although this sort of rock formation is not uncommon, it is rare in a natural situation for it to be so extensively exposed. Mountain biking or walking are the only ways to explore the island. Basic accommodation includes bunk rooms in the Penitentiary at Darlington - a once-thriving settlement that included a vineyard, coffee palace (if only this still existed) and Grand Hotel. Camping is also available here and at free sites at French's Farm and Encampment Cove. Busy wildlife includes Cape Barren geese, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and wombats above ground, and below the sea you'll find seahorses, sea dragons, colourful sponge gardens and jewel anemones. From the cliff tops, you may also see dolphins, whales, seals and sea eagles. ‘Encounter Maria Island’ is the official ferry operator to and from Maria Island National Park.
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Maria Island National Park
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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