It was only a 15 minute drive down to Triabunna but we had an early start in order to make the boat for the nearby Maria Island. We were delighted to leave Bogan-ville and waited to have breakfast at the docks in Triabunna so we could leave that bit earlier.
The weather was pretty bad. A real Indian Summer! But feck it – we were here to explore.
The boat was full so we were lucky to get a fixed seat in the boat. As we made our way out of the docks and along the Mercury Passage, the Captain filled us in on the island and it’s history.
First things first, it is pronounced Mariah and not Maria – even though it was named after Maria van Diemen (The wife of the Governor of the Dutch East Indies). It was discovered by the legend itself that was Able Tasman.
Geographically speaking it looks like two islands but for a tiny sliver of land (tombolo) that joins them top to bottom like a figure of eight.
Once we landed we had to check into the Rangers Hut as the entire island is a National Park. The rain was coming down in sporadic bursts and the tide was really high. This meant it would be a dash to the first attraction of the island – The Painted Cliffs.
These sandstone cliffs are famous due to the beautifully designed staining (thanks Iron Oxide 🙂 ). As the tide was really high Karen wouldn’t brave the climb down to get photos so John had to step up – and after narrowly avoiding being dragged into the sea he managed to get some decent shots.
After this we took the inland trek back to Darlington – the small settlement on the island. What started as a convict site for around 17 years it was eventually transformed into a small community supporting silk,wine and cement production at a nearby quarry. The transformation came about due to two main factors; the first one being the creation of the Port Arthur Convict site back on the Tasmanian mainland and the other due to the ingenuity of Italian entrepreneur Diego Bernacchi who turned the island into a bustling community.
We stumbled across ruined husk of a building but within was growing a thistle – the national flower of Scotland – a good omen!
As there are no vehicles on the island and the roads are not that developed we would only have time to explore the north part of the island – but that was still quite a lot of ground to cover. As the weather started to turn, for the better, we took off our Cagoules and hats and followed the trail to the Fossil Cliffs and the eastern shore.
While walking past the ’12 Apostles’ – ruins of 12 worker’s cottages we were ambushed by a herd of Kangaroos – 21 of them to be precise. We were so spellbound by watching them dart across the road that we didn’t think to take any photographs and we were arguing at the time as to whether they were actually Kangaroos or Wallabies. (Note: They were in fact Eastern Grey Kangaroos so there Karen 😛 )
As we walked up the slope to the eastern cliffs the sun started to shine and we had some great views out to the Tasman Sea. It was such a great spot that we decided to create a video message here for Karen’s mum – for her birthday.
We continued our loop of the north part of the island by passing the Fossil Cliffs before rounding the north shore by the old runway before coming back to the boat dock and the three grain silos that we first encountered. Famished from a lot of walking we strolled back into Darlington and made use of their barbeque facilities for lunch.Burgers and Sweet Potatoes made sure we were well fed. We had deserved it after our walking endeavours.
On the way back to the boat there was even time to have a close encounter with the wombat who even posed for some photos.
It was a bittersweet moment as we were promised to see some Enchidnas (Knuckles from Sonic the Hedgehog), snakes and the Tasmanian Devil – but the closest we got to any of them was the logo of the National Park.
So it was back on the boat and back to the van for the drive down the coast back to Hobart and our new local – residents bar at the nearby travelodge.
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