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Never a better time to rediscover Maria Island


There’s never been a better time to rediscover Maria Island than this winter, with discounted camping, accommodation and ferry rates until 31 August 2014.

Pack the winter woollies, check the weather map, and go when a solid high pressure centre promises sunny days with little wind.

Families love Maria, and with good reason, with heaps of walks, plenty of wildlife, beachcombing and bike riding available year round – and no traffic worries, or shops to distract the kids.

There are two options for an overnight stay on Maria; camping or staying in The Penitentiary.

‘The Pen’ as it’s affectionately known, is a bit like camping indoors; rustic, but It’s not without some home comforts such as bunk beds and comfortable mattresses, picnic style tables and chairs and a wood-fired heater. There’s no electricity and no lights, but the toilets are nearby and hot showers are available in the amenities block near the barbecue area. The wide verandah is a great sun-trap where you can have a siesta, talk with friends and ‘Pen’ neighbours, or curl up with a good book.

Those staying overnight need to be fully self-catered as there’s no food for sale on the island, however there are camp kitchen facilities in the nearby mess hall. These include benchtop gas cookers, food preparation benches and sinks for washing up. There are plenty of tables in the mess hall and a wood fire keeps the chill off during winter. The mess hall is a great place to get in out of the weather for a few hours, enjoy a freshly ground hot coffee or chocolate ($4) and discover the fascinating geological history of the island from the interpretive display.

Maria is also known for its native wildlife and the Cape Barren geese, in particular, are a big hit with the kids. Senior ranger Pete Lingard said they are particularly quirky during the next few months when they are breeding.

“By mid-August visitors should be seeing adult geese with their fluff-ball chicks in tow,” Pete said.

“Wombats and their young are everywhere at the moment and with no threats such as dogs or traffic, they’re incredibly accessible, as they view people without fear – so please don’t harass them in any way or feed them human food.”

Healthy Tasmanian devils were introduced to the island in 2012 and 2013 as part of the Save The Tasmanian Devil Program. There are now about 50 devils on the island but once the young have left the pouch, that estimate could rise to as many as 80 devils. While not seen as readily as the geese or wombats, visitors should take care not to leave boots or shoes outside their tents or Penitentiary rooms, as they have been known to make off with footwear.

For accommodation bookings, contact the Triabunna Visitor Centre on 6256 4772.

Never a better time to rediscover Maria Island

Cape Barren goose and chicks.

Never a better time to rediscover Maria Island

The barn is part of the Darlington Probation Station.

Never a better time to rediscover Maria Island

The Commissariat store welcomes visitors to Maria Island.

Never a better time to rediscover Maria Island

Wildlife viewing is part of Maria Island's appeal.