Maria Island, Tasmania, 2021  


Photographs and commentary: copyright Jonathan C Nevill 2021, unless otherwise credited. Camera: Samsung Galaxy S7
February 1 - 4, 2021.


When the first indigenous people arrived in Tasmania, Maria Island was just part of Tasmania. As sea level rose, the island formed.

Over the last two centuries, Maria Island was used as a penal settlement, a base for cement manufacture, and farming.

Ruins remain from this period. The island is now a national park. A few of the old buildings have been refurbished. We stayed in "The Penitentiary" - there are nine dormitory rooms with six bunks each, a toilet block, a kitchen (called the Mess Hall), and a camping area for tent-campers. 
There are no refrigerators and, at the time we were there, no showers ("we" being Danielle, Victoria, Hannah and Alice... and me).


The most popular tourist activities on Maria Island are hiking, cycling, and browsing around the various ruined buildings. There are several beautiful sandy beaches, so... if you can brave the cold water, good for swimming. There's a small marine protected area on the island's north and northeast coasts. If you're interested in native geese, Tasmanian water hens, wombats, wallabies and pademelons, Maria Island is one of the best places in Australia to observe these animals. There are also Tasmanian Devils on the island, although (like many Australian animals) they are almost invisible to the passing tourist. There are Little Penguins on the east side of the island; however their numbers have been decreasing and this population may not survive. The highest point is Mount Maria (around 700m), which sits at the southern end of a north-south ridge running to the north coast of the island at a hill called Bishop and Clerk.




Tourists arrive on the island by ferry from the small town of Triabunna.



Darlington Bay and the jetty.



Macrocarpa line the avenue leading to the accommodation complex.



The accommodation complex from the northwest hill. 
You can just make out two kangaroos in the middle ground. We did not see kangaroos visiting the accommodation complex.



The accommodation complex. Bishop and Clerk is the hill hidden in the low cloud on the upper left of the image.



The old brickwork is full of beautiful colours.


Ruins on the hilltop overlooking Darlington Bay.


Both native and introduced vegetation offer beauty and fascination.





The shallow waters around the island are good for snorkeling.




Jewel sea anemones. Neville Barrett is a well-known marine biologist at the University of Tasmania.



Invertebrates in the shade of the jetty come in many colours, including brilliant yellow, orange, red and purple. Camera: GoPro Hero 5.



Southern rock lobsters too are extraordinarily colourful.    Camera: GoPro Hero 5.



Photo: Victoria Regia Faulstich. The fish's name was Herbert.  Camera: Sony Cybershot



Speaking of colour, observe the eye of the Tasmanian Swamp Hen (Tribonyx mortierii).




Wombats are everywhere.




The Fossil Cliffs lie north of Darlington Bay.


These cliffs have been designated as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO, on account of the abundance and diversity of marine fossils.


East of the fossil cliffs there are sheltered areas which look as though they would be good for snorkelling.



Bishop and Clerk in the distance.



Panorama from Bishop and Clerk. This is a very popular walk, so you can expect the company of other hikers.




Dolerite pillars at Bishop and Clerk


The Painted Cliffs are only a half-hour walk from Darlington. 

Victoria and Dani at the Painted Cliffs.


Iron staining of the sandstone has created beautiful patterns.