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Magical Maria Island

7th May 2013
My passion for travel has taken me to many a beautiful country so it’s strange that up until this year, I was yet to explore my own country in all its beautiful entirety. I have travelled all the way around Australia - even made it to the middle - but have never made it down as far as south as Tasmania. In February, I decided it was time to tick off the island state. Equipped with warm clothes and a keen sense of adventure, I headed south to do the four-day walk of Maria Island.

We were picked up from our hotel then transported to the ferry on the east coast. I hardly noticed the commute across; it was so beautiful with dolphins riding the waves with us, alongside the ferry.

Maria Island is a very special place with something to offer everyone, whether it be historic ruins, beautiful bays, rugged cliffs, impressive mountains or remarkable wildlife. Speaking of wildlife, Maria Island is one of the best places in Tasmania to go bird watching. The diversity of habitats lends itself to a variety of birds, as well as kangaroo's and wallabies - even tiger snakes!

Once on the island you will come to learn what a serene place it is, one lacking motor vehicles, shops...and other everyday concerns. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and so accommodating to every individual's need.

I experienced the perfect end to a perfect day, when I sat down to a beautiful, candlelit dinner of fresh local produce, expertly prepared by the guides, complemented by Tasmania’s finest wines. The only trouble was the gourmet food they continued to serve up was undoubtedly more than what I was offsetting with the walking.

The tour was less intimidating than I had imagined. Originally, I worried it may have only been aimed at trained explorers but there are many walks to choose from so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery or aim higher (literally) and embark on a lengthier journey.

There is so much to see - stunning beaches, aqua water and my personal favourite: the Painted Cliffs, featuring beautifully-patterned sandstone cliffs created by the movement of mineral-rich water though the rock and the following erosion of wind and wave.

I chose the 'Bishop and Clerk' walk, which is three and a half hours return. It takes you from grasslands along the edge of the Fossil Cliffs, through open forest and tall woodland, to the rocky slopes where you rock-hop then scramble over boulders to finally reach the summit. It is a medium-grade walk but the last part is quite difficult. The hard work is worth it once you get to sit atop the cliff and feel like as if you on the top of the world.

The walk takes a maximum of 10 people so it isn't too overwhelming if you'd like to go by yourself. It is also the perfect size group to invite a few family or friends.

I can't believe it took me so long to get down to Tasmania. I will definitely be back as it really is a gorgeous place with so much to offer. But don't take my word for it, go see for yourself.

Helen Watson
Kennedy & Turner Travel Associates

Find out more about Maria Island walks by emailing Helen directly