Maria Island - is it Australia's best kept secret?

We first heard about Maria Island on our way down the coast of Tasmania just a week or so back.

Maria Island's Painted Rock

Rob saw a photo and determined that he wanted to see it for real. Maria Island can be reached by private boat or by a regular ferry from Triabunna. Since we had plenty of days to choose from we took the option of waiting for a nice sunny day to go to the Island. There is a big billboard advertising the ferry times. We noticed a some early arrivals on the day of our choice and Rob thought he would go over and buy the tickets early only to be told they were booked out as you are suppose to pre book your tickets. There is no mention of pre-booking on the billboard, nor was pre booking mentioned at the Info Centre when we inquired shortly after our arrival a few days earlier. We found that you do need to pre-book especially in the Summer season. What also is annoying is that the ferry actually leaves half an hour BEFORE the advertised time. As it was we were fortunate in that we hang around and a couple didn’t turn up and thus we got on at the last minute after paying the $70 for our tickets.



So off we go with a backpack of our provisions for the day. It was a beautiful day. I don’t think you could have asked for better weather. The short 30 minute trip was smooth riding.

Maria Island jetty & cove

Upon arrival you are encouraged to go to the ranger’s hut where there are maps and other information. Many people camp on Maria Island some even taking their bikes. You need to take EVERYTHING you need as there are no shops anywhere. So whether it be for a day or a week you need to be well organized, you also need to take out all your rubbish too as there is no rubbish removal on the island. There are also rooms available for hire to sleep in for something like $25 per person per night with a communal kitchen and common room available.

Maria Island layers of sediment

After our quick visit to the Ranger’s hut, we decided to do two easy walks. We first tackled the fossil walk which took us about 2 slow leisurely hours to do, stopping to admire the fossilized quarry and cliff as well as this or that along the way.

Just one of the many fossils to be seen

We had a picnic morning tea overlooking some lovely sediment layers on the cliffs. This trip also took in some historic buildings. This walk does involve some hills but no actual steps.

Historic engine house ruins

As you can imagine there are a lot of bird life on the island with Cape Barron Geese being the most prevalent. We were told there are many wombats, but we only saw lots of wombat droppings, not one actual wombat during our day’s trip.

We named these peaks the 3 sisters -note the goose nest below - she was very protective

We had a picnic lunch by the main penal centre which has been done up along with the rooms that are let for ‘camping’ and a couple of other buildings. We then set off on another walk to see the Painted Rocks which is our chief drawcard that brought us to Maria Island.

Painted Rock from across the cove

Again this walk does involve a few hills but no actual steps until you actually reach the Painted Rocks. The return trip took us a bit longer as Rob was well and truly exhausted and we had to take it very slowly on our way back. You can avoid the steps all together if you stick with the coastal walk at the last part to reach the rocks.

This about all you'd see if it high tide unless...

You might be told that the Painted Rocks is best seen at low tide, but you cannot always time your visits to be low tide. We were there when it was definitely not low tide though it might not have been high tide. If you stay on the water’s edge you won’t get to see much of the rocks unless you go in the water which may be not only cold and wet but a bit rough depending on the ‘surf’. The photo above is about what you would get to see if you don’t get there at low tide.

But if you climb down from the cliff at high tide then you can so much more

However we found out that you can walk along the cliff top for maybe 50m and then climb down directly onto the Painted Rocks. It is steep and there are some loose rocks under your feet, so it requires some care and a little effort but it is so worth it.


The Painted Rocks would have to be one of the most beautiful natural formations we have in Australia. The rocks are a marvelous display of coloured sands and erosion caused by the constant wave action of the ocean. We took so many photos, we’d bore you completely, hopefully this page isn't TOO much. I really can't stress enough that you really must see it for yourselves if you are ever in Tasmania!


We were both worn out by the end of our day and we took advantage of the ‘famous’ fish and chips van behind the pub before calling quits on this whole marvelously wonderful day! We are certainly going to need a quiet day to recover.


We really really, recommend that you include a trip to Maria Island in your itinerary. It would have to be one of Australia’s best kept secrets! By the way: The locals don’t pronounce Maria as like the common girls name but more like “Mariah”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for popping by, I appreciate your comments!
Michelle