Maria Island Tour Itinerary
Our 3 day itineraries provide ample time to hike across Maria Island covering all the sights as well as have plenty of time to relax and soak up the scenery and tranquility of this magical island.
Please note: Our itineraries are based on a maximum of 10 guests (not 4 as per other operators) - this we feel is the ideal size to give our guests both the personal attention they deserve and at the same time provide an enjoyable social environment on tour. As many of our tour guests tell us they have formed lifelong friendships with other walkers, we feel this social element is an important part of our tours. Of course if you would like to organise a private tour with your own group on a date of your choice we are happy to organise this for you too.
DAY ONE: Hobart – Maria Island
The day starts in Hobart at where you will meet at the Hotel Grand Chancellor at 7.00am for a 7.15am departure. We enjoy a scenic drive north winding up the coast to Triabunna where we join our boat and cruise across to Maria Island.
While our guides unload all our equipment off the boat, enjoy some free time to wander around the convict settlement of Darlington (information provided). Afterwards our guides will give you a pre-walk and safety briefing (approximately 30 minutes will give you a brief talk about the Darlington township to reveal the complex and intriguing past of the Island. Learn about the Ghosts, the hardships, the entrepreneurial spirit and sheer tenacity of those whom came to live on the Island before us..
We then start our hike to Skipping Ridge for lunch. Our
Lunch location is one of the best on the East Coast of Tasmania. Perched on Skipping Ridge we'll enjoy magnificent views of Fossil Bay and Bishop & Clerk. During lunch we will give you a brief geology lesson of the famous fossil cliff of Maria Island. The Fossil outcrop at Fossil Bay is recognised as world class and the best example of lower Permian strata in Tasmania, if not the world. Over the centuries the rise and fall of the sea has left the legacy of amazing sea creatures over 290 million year old fossilised into the cliffs. On the lower rock shelf you can see a variety of fossils including sea fans, coral-like creatures, scallop shells and sea lilies.
After lunch we hike one of the top 10 day walks in Australia. The walk takes you through grasslands, open forest and tall woodland, to the rocky slopes of the summit. The highlight of this walk is the views at the summit of Bishop & Clerk. These towering dolerite columns of the summit are named due to their resemblance to a bishop, wearing a mitre, being followed by a clergyman. From the summit on a clear day you’ll be able to take in exhilarating views towards the Freycinet Peninsula. Life's An Adventure owner Mark Norek says "this summit is so stunning it's worthy of a marriage proposal and was the location I chose to propose to my beautiful wife Vicki".
Note this walk involves hiking through a large area of rocky slopes to the summit, with some boulder scrambling near the top. We are only permitted to take 8 of the 10 walkers to the top of Bishop and Clerk. For those that don't hike to the top of Bishop and Clerk - our Logisitics Guide will take you on an alternative walk back to Darlington where you can enjoy some free time.
After your guided hike, return to our accommodation in the world heritage township of Darlington where hot showers are available. Enjoy a delicious dinner featuring local produce. Included with dinner will be Tasmanian red & white wine, beer as well as soft drinks.
To get a real taste of what life was like on Maria Island, our accommodation tonight will be in the historic convict Penitentiary (pictured above) which has been refurbished with comfy bunk beds and wood fire heaters. This is share accommodation based on 4 people sharing a large 6 person room. You can request your own room for an additional surcharge which will be on request at time of booking and is subject to availability of rooms. (Please note when the Penitentiary is unavailable camping will replace the accommodation on this night).
Trip Notes: Day 1 walk: Approximately 12kms (6-7 hours walking including 1 hour for lunch and 1 hour on the top of Bishop and Clark). Walking Level: Medium to hard however option to skip more challenging part of walk to Bishop & Clerk summit.
DAY TWO Painted Cliffs, Return Point and Encampment Cove
After a hearty breakfast we set off together hiking toward Encampment Cove on the southern part of Maria Island. Today’s walk will be a magnificent hike into the remote and untouched areas of Maria Island that many visitor’s never get to experience. We stop for morning tea at the famous Painted Cliffs which are stunning patterned and coloured sandstone, carved and moulded by the sea, and bordered by rock pools teeming with marine life. Shortly thereafter we stop for lunch overlooking a beautiful secluded beach for a beautiful lunch along the coast near return point.
After lunch we travel further south down the Island's coastline along the way exploring the historical remnants of Frenchs Farm. The farm is the gateway to the south of Maria Island with many points of interest assessable from this point. The farm was built by the French family in 1936 however is now an abandoned farmhouse. Finally we head to Encampment Cove via Lesueur Point. The convict ruins at the point commands a wonderful 270 degree plus view of Mercury Passage and the local bays. The convicts would have loved the outlook when their cell doors were opened. There are many kangaroos on the open paddocks and the occasional wombat trundling around.
We arrive at our campsite shortly thereafter to find our walk-In touring tents erected with off the ground beds and your overnight bags waiting for you in your designated tent. A hot bush shower is available. Sit back around the campfire as dinner is prepared for you. The end to a remarkable day.Trip Notes: Day 2 walk: Approximately 12 kms (5 - 6 hours walking).
EasyDAY THREE: Encampment Cove to Haunted Bay
After breakfast, we enjoy a morning walk to Haunted Bay. We pass Riedle Bay a magnificent long white empty beach on the eastern side of the isthmus. It’s a good opportunity to have a swim and the enjoy the beach. After our little stop we then head towards Haunted Bay, which is at the southern end of the Island. Haunted Bay was originally only accessible by sea and was used for whaling and sealing in the very early days of European settlement in the 1820's. It is said that it got its name from night sounds created by the local population of penguins. This bay is usually only visited by those who really want to get away. We have our last lunch at Haunted Bay. After lunch we return to McRae’s Isthmus to join our boat for the cruise back to Triabunna. Once (Please note depending on weather or the pace of the group we may visit beautiful Robey Farm instead of Haunted Bay) we reach Triabunna our coach will be waiting to take us on the return journey back to Hobart. Our tour finishes at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, the end of a remarkable journey. Finish time will depend on the pace of the group but will be approximately 5.30pm. If booking flights please do not book before 6.30pm.Trip Notes: Day 3 walk: approximately 14 kms (6 to 7 hours)