Friday, February 7, 2014

#Travel Tasmania // Maria Island

It's the small island off the island state of the island country/continent, but I guess it prefers to go by the name, Maria Island. The Australian island state of Tasmania is so overlooked that I'm sure nobody knows this secluded, national park exists. While my travel partner, Vivi, and I only had a day to explore it, we were envious of all the campers unloading from the ferry to experience this natural wonder overnight! 

I knew while reading up on Tasmania in my Lonely Plant guide that Maria Island was a must-do for our trip, though we really didn't know too much the before heading there. I was sold enough knowing there was plenty of wildlife and natural wonders easy to spot on a day-trip. So we arrived in the tiny town of Triabunna, only minutes before a ferry would be leaving. Of course I insisted on not waiting an hour for the next, meaning more crimes against fashion and being severely under packed for a day of walking around in the hot, summer sun. 

Like I mentioned above, Maria island is now a National Park, meaning people are only allowed to camp or day-trip here. Once upon a time though, there was a settlement on the island where the old buildings that remain are either taken over by nature, or have been turned into cabins for overnight-ers. The miles of trails in the park range from large, old roads, perfecting for biking along, to narrow paths lined with foliage. 

We set out on foot to our first destination, the painted cliffs. I only knew them by mention in my guide and on the signs along the way, not really knowing what painted cliffs signified. Walking down the path to the beach I could already see the forms of the cliffs and was excited to climb out to to the end. The whole time my eyes were torn between looking that cliffs or the crystal clear water below full of aquatic life! Fortunately we arrived early enough to the caves where we didn't have to share the experience with too many other folks! 

Of all things, I remembered to at least pack my snorkel mask and tube. Fortunately I did, because the  water looked so inviting! As I stepped a foot in to get an idea of it's temperature, I was discouraged by how extremely cold the water was. It was cocococooooollld! Instead of taking a dip, Vivi and I set out for another hike to the other side of the island! The water visibility was clear enough where we were getting a satisfying enough show even from the surface!

Along the way to the other side of the island, we ran across my most anticipated sight of all; a wombat! The product of what looks like a cat bred with a koala, these slow moving marsupials are usually only active in the wild around dusk. I think this guy was only out briefly before heading back to his humble little wombat hole, but at one point he waddled right past me! I just wanted to scoop him up and bring him back home with me!

There was a long walk through a very sun exposed, open field to our next destination; the abandoned quarry, now known as the fossilized cliffs, that attracted the original settlement. What looks like a large, gravel field with random chunks of rock actually proved to be more interesting upon closer look. If you look carefully in this last photo you'll see some fossilized imprints in the chunks of rock!

As we started making our way back to Darlington, where our ferry would be departing, the sun was strongest and hottest as we walked through the longest trail. It was a gorgeous hike back, but the sun was beating down hard on us at this point. Eventually, we arrived back in Darlington, donning shirts on our head (not pictured for obvious reasons) and about ready just to relax and enjoy the shade.

I sneaked in a quick snorkel sesh during the lazy last hour before our ferry came to carry us away back to the "mainland" of the island state of Tasmania. I have a few photos from my chilling dip in the water, but I'm going to tease you with those a later day!

Until then,
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