Maria Island, Tasmania

The main purpose of our long weekend in Tasi was to go explore Maria Island.  I had seen pictures of the Painted Cliffs on Pinterest when we first looked at going three years ago but the logistics were too hard to manage with the other things we wanted to see.  Finally, we had a trip planned around this pretty place.

The first thing we learned was that Maria is actually pronounced Mariah.  Weird.  We took a ferry from Triabunna, it was a nice pleasant 45 minute ride across the bay.  There are no shops, cafes, restaurants, anything on the island so you have to bring everything in and out.  There is a campground and some rooms with bunks but we decided to just go for the day.  We shared the ferry ride with others not he day trip and some with packs ready for a long weekend of exploring.  On the boat across we were given a trail map and brief on the island.  There were two hikes we intended to do, the Fossil Cliffs and Painted Cliffs.  The Painted Cliffs are best at low tide (2 pm) so we decided to do the Fossil Cliffs first.  Looking at the map again though, we decided to throw a third hike in the middle, the big 11 km hike up to Bishop and Clerks Peak.
Fossil Cliffs
We started off on the walk to Fossil Cliffs.  It wasn't far, and soon we were looking at layers and layers of fossils that were exposed when this area was used as a quarry.  It was amazing to see the animals and shells exposed many thousands of years after forming part of the rock.  The cliffs in the area were stunning as well and gave us a nice view of the way up to Bishop and Clerks.
Fossils in the rocks
the view from Fossil Cliffs
Well, it might have been a nice view if the weather were co-operating.  Instead, we saw mountain and then we saw cloud.  We figured we better continue on anyway, because if we didn't we would have wished we had.  We walked up a pretty hill side and stopped to watch some whales swim about below.  Then we continued on the path that basically lead straight up the hill.  It was a very tough hike by itself, but as we got further along it started misting and then raining, making it quite slippery.  

pretty gum tree

view from the hike
Near the top the trail got enough tougher as we got to some switch backs that were among this huge field of rocks.  These rocks were about a foot in diameter so it was pretty tricky to make progress up the hill.  Finally we got through that section only to find more rocks further on, and yes it was still raining.  We eventually made it to the base of the peak where we stopped for some lunch.  After our sandwiches we contemplated climbing the last large boulder to the top, but it was really slippery and steep plus the view of rain clouds was probably not much different than where we were at so we decided to play it safe and head back down instead.  The walk back was just as tricky, back through the boulders, then rocks, then slippery mud.  Finally we made it down to the flat parts just as the rain cleared away.
rock switch backs
View from the top 
tired boy at the top
boulders near the top
wombats along the path

We walked back towards the ferry landing where the camping area is, then carried on towards the Painted Cliffs.  We made it there just after low tide, thoroughly exhausted from our morning hikes.  Phil took a nap on the rocks while I explored the beautiful patterns along the cliffs.
the camp area
Painted Cliffs 
close up of the rocks
me in front of the cliffs
view from the Painted Cliffs
stacked rocks

another close up
exhausted happy tourists
close up
beach near the Painted Cliffs
Painted Cliffs in the distance
the ferry dock
We then headed back to the ferry landing, returning just before the ferry arrived.  We boarded, just missing another rain storm.  After 17 km of hiking we had a quiet ride back before stopping for dinner and calling it a night.  


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