Introducing Maria Island National Park
About 8km north of Orford is ragged, retrograde Triabunna, a flat-grid fishing town with almost zero appeal. It’s the departure point for ferries to Maria Island National Park (pronounced ‘Ma-rye-ah’), a fact for which local businesses must be eternally grateful. Book and buy ferry tickets and national park passes at the Triabunna Visitor Information Centre (
If you do need to sleep in Triabunna, Udda Backpackers (
A few kilometres off shore, care-free, car-free Maria Island was declared a national park in 1972, and features some awesome scenery: forests, fern gullies, fossil-studded sandstone and limestone cliffs, and empty beaches. Convict and industrial ruins crop up unexpectedly. Bushwalkers and mountain bikers will readily exhaust themselves, bird-watchers will have plenty to look at, and snorkellers and divers are in for a treat. National park fees apply; island info is available at the Visitors Reception Area in the old Commissariat Store near the ferry pier.
From 1825 to 1832, Darlington was Tasmania’s second penal colony (the first was Sarah Island near Strahan). The remains of the convict village, including the Commissariat Store (1825), the Mill House (1846) and the Coffee Palace (1888), are well preserved and easy to explore. There are no shops on the island so BYO supplies (no, the Coffee Palace doesn’t serve coffee). Don’t miss walks to the top of Bishop & Clerk (four hours return), the Fossil Cliffs (two hours return) and Painted Cliffs (2½ hours return). Chant monastically in the old silos near the pier after dark.
The four-day Maria Island Walk (
For independent visitors, camping (unpowered sites per adult/child/family $5/3/11) is permitted by the creek just east of Darlington (bookings not required). The rooms in the old Penitentiary (
Maria Island National Park destination guides
Cycle, Kayak and Walk Tasmania
Explore Freycinet National Park & Maria Island on this superb multi-activity adventure
The Maria Island Walk
A gourmet walking experience exploring the unblemished beauty and rich heritage of Maria Island