Painted Cliffs - Maria Island
The Painted Cliffs are accessible within two hours before and after low tide and most vivid in the afternoon sunlight. Therefore, less than 10 days each month are perfect for a good shot. Typically, summer is the busiest time of the year. To dodge the crowds visit the island between September and November or in April and May. Check the tides first: Tides Maria Island
The ferry is going from Triabunna to Darlington, Maria Island. This island is very popular, and the ferry was often fully booked in summer. Now the service is offered more often. It’s a big advantage to visit the island by bike.
September-April: The ferry is going up to five times daily depending on demands and bookings.
May-August (Winter): The ferry is going up to three times daily on 5 days. It's not going on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Where to Stay in Triabunna the Day Before
There are only a few opportunities to spend the night before to get the early morning ferry. We'd chosen The Triabunna Cabin and Caravan Park. The owners were attentive and the cabin well equipped.
Avoiding the Crowds
The ferry service is offered more often from April 2017 on. Even more day visitors are coming to the island. During summer, up to several hundred tourists visit the island each week. From now on the winter is the best time for a visit. When the ferry left the island in the afternoon, it becomes more tranquil and peaceful. If you arrive on Monday or Wednesday, you have to stay for two nights at the campground. The big advantage; the next day only a few people are on the island. Still no ferry transfer on Tuesday and Thursday!
Maria Island has a mild climate without frost in winter. The average summer day temperature is around 21°C / 70°F and can be up to 30°C / 86°F. The driest month is January although rain showers often occur throughout the year. One of the wettest months is November. May and October are a bit cooler but also worth a try. Night temperatures in winter and spring are below 10°C / 50°F. During our stay in November 2016, the night temp was around 6°C / 43°F.
The Painted Cliffs are famous for their beautiful patterned sandstone rocks and colors resulting from groundwater percolating which occurred millions of years ago. The Painted Cliffs are fragile and change continually by waves. Recently one of the cliff tops has collapsed at the end of the cliffs. Seaspray also has an influence forming crystals of salt which affects that the rocks weather in the honeycomb patterns.
It’s a 30 minutes’ ferry ride from Triabunna to Darlington. The trail from Darlington to the Painted Cliffs and back is almost 9 km long. It’s more a gravel road than a trail and used by 4 WDs from the National Park rangers. You can get from north of the island to the south and back by bike in one day. The reason that we rented them for our stay. The length of the island is about 20 km and wide 13 km.
The name of the island was given in 1642 by Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer after Maria van Diemen, the wife of Anthony van Diemen, governor of the Dutch East Indies in the capital Batavia. In these days, it is known as Indonesian.
The entire island is a natural wildlife sanctuary and National Park with 3 of the 60 great short walks of Tasmania: 58-60. Some of these trails include the points of historic interest. Check hikes 58-60
Basic bunk accommodation at the old Penitentiary with 10 rooms, shared bathroom and kitchen are available. Mostly it is fully booked, but with a ferry ticket camping is allowed. Maria Island Penitentiary Booking
The campground is 15 min. by feet from the jetty. First, you need to go to the ranger station to get your camping permit for a small fee. The campground provides a cooking area, restrooms, and even a warm shower. I can’t call it hot. The campground and Penitentiary are without electricity. You must bring all the food, water, cooking utensils. You have to be self-sufficient!
Maria Island Ferry
The ferry return fares increase a lot. The National Park fee is included now. The ferry ticket includes only one bag up to 7 kg. If you want to camp on the island, you have to pay an additional fee for the rest of your luggage. The fee per person is $ 10 for the first item and $ 5 for each additional one. If you bring your own bike, the transport fee is $ 10 each. National Park Pass holders get a discount of $ 5 p.p. National Park holiday pass More information: Maria Island National Park
We highly recommend staying on Maria Island for a couple of nights. Don't miss the Fossil Cliffs and the breathtaking views from Bishop and Clerk.