Maria Island, situated on the east coast of Tasmania, is a tiny island not known by many people but an absolute jewel that is worth visiting on any trip to Tasmania. Large impressive mountains, gorgeous beaches stunning cliffs, fossils, prolific wildlife and a rich convict history make this a great place to visit.
Maria Island was sighted by Abel Tasman in 1642. Seal and whale fishing arrived in the early 1800s. The island was used as a penal colony between 1825 and 1832, followed by a probation station in 1842.
Maria Island was declared a national park in 1971.
The ferry runs from Triabuna to Darlington on Maria Island daily. There are five ferries per day, costing $45 for adults and $28 for children.
- Encounter Maria Island is the new ferry operator for the island, operating a new larger vessel the Osprey V
Fees and permits
To enter any national park in Tasmania, you'll need to have a valid parks pass to enter the park, which can be found here at the Parks Tasmania website. There are numerous passes available, depending on your needs. The fees are up-to-date as of February 2023.
A daily parks pass is usually valid for 24 hours, and is usable in all parks although it does not include access to Cradle Mountain. This is particularly useful if you're going to numerous nearby parks. A pass for your vehicle covers up to 8 occupants, you only need the per person pass if you arrive without a vehicle.
- Per vehicle: $41.20
- Per person: $20.60
If you're staying in Tasmania for a few weeks and want to go numerous national parks, there's the Holiday Pass, which is valid for up to two months. This also includes Cradle Mountain.
- Per vehicle: $82.40
- Per person (≥5): $41.20
There is also the Annual Park Pass, which is valid in all parks, including Cradle Mountain.
- $91.35 in general
- $73.10 for concession holders
- $36.55 for seniors
If you only plan to repeatedly visit one park again for 12 months, it's $46.70 in general, or $37.35 for concession holders. This excludes Cradle Mountain.
Passes can either be purchased through passes.parks.tas.gov.au, in any national park visitor centre, some travel information centres, onboard Spirit of Tasmania vessels, and Service Tasmania centres.
- 1 Darlington Probation Station, Fossil Cliffs Cct. UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Australian Convict Sites, having relatively unchanged since the convict era.
- 2 Fossil Cliffs, Fossil Cliffs Cct (access is via a 4.5 km circuit which takes 1.5-2.5 hours). A set of cliffs which include many different types of fossils washed up from the sea which were deposited in the sea around 300 million years ago. They can be seen anywhere, and is one of Australia's best paleontological sites.
- 3 Painted Cliffs. A series of rather pained cliffs with vibrant colours and swirling patters which all happened naturally. Unfortunately, there is no access to see the Painted Cliffs from the cliff top and the only way to see the cliffs are within two hours of low tide.
- Bird watching
There are no restaurants or supply stores on the island as it is a national park. Food and provisions can be purchased in Triabunna or in Hobart. There Is no rubbish disposal on the island and waste must be taken off the island.
There is no drinking water supply on the island. There are water taps, but the water should be purified or boiled for one minute.
- 1 Maria Island Penitentiary. The former penitentiary has 10 bunk bed rooms. Gas stoves are provided for cooking. Bookings required. $44 per room for two people.
- 2 Darlington Campsite. Tent camping. from $7, pay at ranger station..
- 3 Encampment Cove Campsite. Remote campsite Free with a parks pass..
- 4 Frenchs Farm Campsite. Free with a parks pass..
- Triabunna, a scenic township on Tasmania's east coast, is a short ferry trip from Maria Island