Montana Wolf

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Wombats, Roos and Pademelons: Journey to Maria Island (Tasmania Blog Three)

Pade-what? Pademelon!

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.

Welcoming committee



The Ranger suggested we walk the island counter clockwise. The opposite direction compelled me. Thus began our trek.



Cape Barren Goose





Lunch spot


I was photographing these ruins when suddenly BOING, BOING, BOING ...


... in hopped a Forester Kangaroo. He stopped about ten feet from me and we said hello, eye to eye, for about 60 seconds.
Foresters are the second largest marsupial in the world., reaching 6.5 feet and 130 pounds.
This guy was taller than I.
Check out those feet! He eventually hopped away, unbelievable graceful.







An hour later, and nearing the trails end, I met my first wombat. Almost knee high, never dreamed they were so big, Then again, I'd never dreamed of a wombat. What WAS a wombat??
They are diggers. The move slowly scratching the earth for bugs.
One would think they would be easy prey until I read they can run 25 mph ... for 9 seconds!
Long enough to get them into their burrow where their steel-plated (almost) rear end blocks the entrance.
AND, their pouches face backward so that when they dig they don't fill it with dirt.
Amazing evolution!






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!


More ruins.




The perfect exit to an amazing day.































6 comments:

  1. Hi Christina,

    I'm enjoying your pictures and commentary. Glad you're having a good adventure in such an interesting place. Frank

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    1. Thank you Frank. It was a magical three weeks; now I get to relive it with the photos and blogs. Let the vibrations sink in ever deeper. Without the smells; or the cacophony of birds. Heart, Christina

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  2. How cool! The animals seemed as open to you as you to them....no fear. How come the 'ruins' look so modern?

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    1. No human predators on Maria Is. Imagine that!? By our standards the ruins are pretty modern ... built in the late 1800's and the govt bought the properties in 1960's, renovated the buildings and reintroduced species that were all but extinct, like the Forester Roo. A brilliant success story! Thanks for following Ari!

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  3. Absolutely amazing photographs.Love these.Thanks a lot for sharing

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