We didn't have an itinerary. With Lonely Planet Tasmania in my hands, and a well-honed intuition for where to pull off the road, we headed north, up the east coast. But not before I grabbed a creamy, flaky scallop pie for brunch. Tas is famous for their scallops, and cheese, and wine ... an oooo my, I could already sense the additional five pounds-to-be. With Greg behind the wheel, it took about a nano-second for me to put Maria (pronounced Mariah) Island National Park in my sights. I only had to read the words hiking, Forester Kangaroos, Bennett's Wallabies, rare Cape Barren Geese, wombats, pademelons and elusive Tasmanian Devils.
We pulled into bustling (as in no parking places) Triabunna Visitor Center to check on ferry times to Maria. We were an hour from the next ferry; the kind (and patient) VC woman gave us a lead on a dry camp possibility behind the old pub. We hurried over, claimed the final spot and walked to the ferry, checking out the fresh fish n chips place on the way. We filed it under "dinner."
Maria Island was home to the Aboriginal Community of Oyster Bay, who called the island Toarra Marra Monah. They lived primarily on shellfish and traveled in bark canoes. Today the island park maintained the remnants of Darlington penal colony and gratefully offered no amenities. Bring your own, pack it out. It's all about the natural world. The place is nothing short of mystical with jagged cliffs, turquoise waters, white beaches, birds and wildlife galore. And we know how that goes ... we don't find wildlife as much as wildlife finds us. We had one afternoon. The photos tell the story.
|Arrival. White sand beaches, layered pines and turquoise water.|
The Ranger suggested we walk the island counter clockwise. The opposite direction compelled me. Thus began our trek.
|Cape Barren Goose|
|I was photographing these ruins when suddenly BOING, BOING, BOING ...|
|Mom and Baby|
A few feet from the wombats, deeper into the bushes, were the pademelons.
|Faster and lighter than a wallaby.|
Now you see them, now you don't!
|The perfect exit to an amazing day.|