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Maria Island Walk

Why we love the Maria Island Walk

Summer is a wonderful time for walking in Tasmania – days should be sunny and warm, rain rarely falls on the east coast and nights are cool and star studded (the clear skies are perfect for star gazing).   Maria Island (pronounced Mar-aye-a) is an island national park and a natural wildlife sanctuary with historic ruins, sweeping bays, dramatic cliffs and peaks and tall woodlands and this is why we love the Maria Island Walk, one of the Great Walks of Australia.

Friendly Eastern Grey Kangaroos seen on the Maria Island Walk
Friendly Eastern Grey Kangaroos seen on the Maria Island Walk

In addition to the island being one of Tasmania’s great bird watching hot spots (11 of the state’s 12 endemic species can be seen here), wombats, wallabies, kangaroos as well as pademelons and Tasmanian devils are frequently seen.  The waters around the island are a Marine Nature Reserve and are regularly visited by whales, dolphins and seals.

Relaxing in the wilderness on the Maria Island Walk
Relaxing in the wilderness on the Maria Island Walk

Flush with awards (the walk has earned more Gourmet Traveller awards than any other product around the globe) here are 7 reasons why this walk is one of our favourites:

  1. Operating in a national park means all aspects of the walk are eco-friendly
  2. This is a great walk for wildlife spotting and for exploring different habitats
  3. The walk can be easy or moderate.  Without the side-trips the walk is an easy 25km over 3 nights / 4 days; add-in the side-trips and the challenge becomes 43km, some of it quite steep.
  4. The walk is owner operated – not that Ian Johnstone hosts every walk, but he does run the business and is very passionate about what he does.
  5. The walk is easily combined with two of our favourite Tassie destinations – Hobart & Saffire (perfect for a little indulgence after a few days of walking).
  6. During the height of the season the walk operates almost daily so it is an easy fit into a well-planned itinerary.
  7. Food glorious food … Tasmanian produce is some of the best in the world so enjoy delicious meals and a glass of wine each evening.
Maria Island walk - The Dining Hut, with a well earned bottle of red waiting on the table...
Maria Island walk – The Dining Hut, with a well earned bottle of red waiting on the table…

The walks operate in groups of 10 guests and two guides, they include transfers from / to Hobart. For those walkers who prefer not to carry the normal 5-8kg pack, The Maria Island Walk is now offering a “pack-free” experience, where guests’ gear is transferred between camps each day so they only carry their lunch, water, camera and jacket.

A cute Common Wombat seen on the Maria Island Walk
A cute Common Wombat seen on the Maria Island Walk.

Maria Island 2 night Winter Escape experience (May to September)

Winter is also a beautiful time to visit Maria Island. In groups of up to 8 guests guides will show you the island’s beauty and history and amazing wildlife. And then each night, in the warmth and comfort of Bernacchi House, a rare, heritage listed house dating back to 1880. Enjoy a delicious candlelit dinner with fine wines while your guides amaze you with their many fascinating stories of Maria Island. And after the night’s banquet take a stroll on to veranda and marvel at the millions of stars and the fragrance of the lavender garden below.

This really is an experience not to be missed.

 

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Discover the Wild West Coast of Tasmania

Would you like to breathe the world’s freshest air or stand amongst 2000 year old trees? A new Tasmanian experience allows you to do just that, with an easy day trip from Hobart to discover the Wild West Coast of Tasmania.

Departing from the outskirts of Hobart, a 50 minute scenic flight takes you over the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, one of the most remote areas in the world, towards Tasmania’s Wild West Coast. Landing in Strahan – a harbour-side village on the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, you’ll board a luxury catamaran and embark on a journey to the Gordon River, part of Tasmania’s UNESCO Wilderness World Heritage Area. The area is steeped in history and is full or stories from its convict and pioneering past.

Initially heading out for a peek through ‘Hell’s Gates’ at the mouth of Macquarie Harbour you’ll cruise to see local salmon and trout farms that deliver some of Tasmania’s freshest seafood products around the country.

From there, you’ll head up to the Gordon River through one of the world’s most pristine temperate rainforests where you’ll get to walk amongst the giants of the forest – ancient Huon Pines.

Wild West Coast of Tasmania
Cruise the through Tasmania’s UNESCO Wilderness World Heritage Area.

 

After a chef prepared lunch you’ll stop to learn about Tasmania’s convict history at Sarah Island – a former Macquarie Harbour Penal Station with a reputation as one of the harshest penal settlements of all the Australian colonies. Operating for just 11 years between 1822 and 1833, Macquarie Harbour Penal Station took the worst of the worst convicts as the chances of escape were “next to impossible”. Conditions on the island were so bad that in 1824 a prisoner named Trenham killed another convict in order to be executed rather than face further imprisonment there. (source: wikipedia) The 2008 film ‘The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce’ was inspired by one of Sarah Island’s escaped prisoner’s tales of resorting to cannibalism to survive.

After visiting this interesting historic site you’ll cruise back to Strahan for some free time before your return scenic flight to Hobart.

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