Biking and Hiking Maria Island is the best way to explore this part of Tasmania. Maria Island is abundant with wildlife, such as wombats, wallabies, kangaroos and the recently introduced Tasmanian Devil. There are no cars allowed on Maria Island so Cycling Maria Island with it’s numerous campsites and many hiking opportunities make for a great way to spend some time.
There are 3 Campsites on Maria Island. The main campsite is in Darlington but Encampment Cove is much nicer and very quiet. It takes 1.5 hours to get there with the bicycle, there will be many stops for wombats, kangaroos and wallabies.
Cycling Maria Island
Cycling Maria Island is the best way to get around. There are easy trails that cris cross the whole Island. The trail from Darlington to Encampment Cove campground is a highlight due to the abundance of wildlife.
From Encampment Cove there is a nice trail to Point Lesueur. There are old convict cells that have fallen into disrepair.
McRaies Isthmus is also nearby. It is a narrow strip of sandy land that separates the north and south of the Island. It is a sandy ride on the track and it may require getting off to push on many occasions. Halfway along there is an opportunity to take a side track to Riedle Bay.
It is possible to cycle on the rock hard sand next to the ocean, dodging the incoming waves as they pound the beach. It is a nice ride all the way to the far end of the beach. From there it is possible to explore by foot.
There is also another nice track to the other side of the Isthmus at the sheltered Shoal Bay. More cycling on the beach is possible.
There is also a which may involve pushing up some of the steep hills. It is pleasant cycling and a nice way to see the different side of Maria Island. Also a chance to see more wildlife including Tiger Snakes. I nearly ran over one when I cycled this track!
Darlington Campsite is the most popular for good reason. It is close to the Painted cliffs which makes the best place to watch sunset on Maria Island. It is also a great base for the numerous hiking trails.
Maria Island and in particular Darlington is increasingly being known as a good spot to view Tasmanian Devils. On my visit I saw a plethora of possums, wallabies, wombats and kangaroos until a black shape about the size of a small dog ran past one of the houses and away from our lamps. Surely it was a Tassie Devil. We were not 100% sure. I would like to claim it as a sighting……..yep, I’m going to claim it as a sighting of a wild Tasmanian Devil.
Maria Island Walk
Bishop and Clerk is 630m high and the premier Maria Island walk. It is a bit of a climb. I set off via the Fossil Cliffs alone. The sometimes steep, alway exhausting climb took me just under 2 hours to ascend. The hiking trail is well marked and makes for the best views of Maria Island.
At 4am I was woken by the loud noises. Howling gale force winds and a tent on the verge of collapse. A storm had hit Maria Island. My exposed campsite looking out over the water meant that I was not sheltered from its fury. I got out of the tent and re-pegged it more securely. The 50-60km/h winds and rain stinging my body. My now more secure tent provided me with a bit of comfort and in a matter of minutes I was back sleeping, but not for long as it was time to leave the Island by the ferry which departed at 10.30am.
Maria Island Stats
Encampment Bay to Darlington (Maria Island) = 35km
Darlington Cycling and hiking – 10km bike, 6km hike.