Maria Island National Park sits off the east coast of Tasmania just north of Orford. In 1982, the whole island was protected as a national park. While Tasmania has a colourful and dramatic history, Maria (pronounced Mariah) is in some ways a microcosm of Tasmania.
It was a favoured winter hunting ground for the Oyster Bay Aboriginal tribe, and when French explorer, Nicholas Baudin, landed in 1802 he found an Aboriginal burial mound and established that the Island's inhabitants cremated their dead.
By 1825 the island was a convict prison and today you can stay in the former penitentiary and visit the Commissariat Store. In the late 1880s an exuberant Italian immigrant, Diego Bernacchi, convinced the government of the day he could grow Chateau Lafitte vines, and mulberry trees for silk worms. Over time he created the eponymous village of San Diego. He built a guesthouse and the Coffee Palace which still stands today.
After the collapse of the vineyards Bernacchi left Tasmania only to return in the early 1900s to establish a cement works. You will see remains of the cement silos still today.
Maria is one of the best places to observe wildlife, in the wild: Forester kangaroos, pademelons, Bennetts wallabies and Cape Barren geese. No cars are allowed and there are no shops, so bring all food and water for your visit. There are many wonderful walks: to the Fossil Cliffs, Painted Cliffs and Bishop & Clerk Mountain, or the longer walks to Chinamans Bay and beyond. Backpacker accommodation and campsites are available at Darlington. Ferry bookings are essential.
Featured Maria Island Activities and Tours
See one Tasmania's hidden treasures - the beautiful Maria Island. The east coast of Tasmania has some spectacular scenery, and this scenic flight gives you an opportunity to appreciate this, from the...
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