Maria Island National Park is a proverbial Noah's Ark of unique flora and fauna – easily accessible from Hobart by The Maria Island Walk's private mini bus and boat. Ages in our walking party of ten ranged from 29 to 67; everyone signing on to experience one of The Great Walks of Australia and four days' soft adventure.
The distance walked along formed bush tracks and vacant white sand beaches ranges from 25 to 43 km, depending on the optional trails (of those the walk to secluded Haunted Bay and ascent of Bishop & Clerk are a must) and we only had to carry clothes, toiletries and personal items in our packs.
With two nights in private wilderness camps and the final night in the lovingly restored, heritage-listed Bernacchi House, the landing after a day's walk was elegantly forgiving.
Every meal was packed with ingredients sourced from all over the Apple Isle, and prepared fresh by one of our two guides-come-cooks. A typical four-course dinner included gourmet cheese selection, bruschetta, scallops with saffron risotto, and summer pudding with fresh berries and cream – all served under candle light with Tasmanian Pinot Noir.
But the star of the show was the island – its history (the World-Heritage Listed convict-era settlement of Darlington in particular), natural beauty (like the geological anomaly of the Painted Cliffs) and cast of local inhabitants (from white bellied sea eagles, seals and wombats in such great numbers they even named a point after them), brought to life by the undeniable enthusiasm and knowledge of our two guides. The Maria Island Walk is a compelling and easily workable addition to any mainlander's Tassie sojourn.
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