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There’s something about Maria Island

By December 22nd, 2023Out and about5 min read

So what is it that makes Maria Island so unique and special?

It all begins with resident wombats greeting you when you arrive.
Come with us to explore Tasmania’s great outdoors and photograph nature’s beauty on Maria Island.

One of a number of historic buildings on Maria Island

Rich history

For those of you not aware, in this case, Maria is pronounced ‘Mar-eye-ah’. Maria Island was named by Abel Tasman in 1642, in honour of Anthony van Diemen’s wife Maria van Diemen. This was also the year that he named Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in honour of – you guessed it – Anthony van Diemen. He was he was the Governor of the Dutch East India Company in Batavia (present day Indonesia) at the time, so a pretty important fella in the day.

When it comes to nature, wildlife, birds and history, Maria Island boasts a little bit of everything Tasmanian. However, for 40,000 years before Europeans arrived in Van Diemen’s Land, Maria Island was inhabited by Tasmanian Aboriginal people. They were the Puthikwilayti people of the Oyster Bay Tribe. They knew the land as Toarra-Marra-Monah. In the colonial era, Maria Island became a penal settlement for convicts. Then, a home for industry and its workers, and farmers too. So as you wander around, there’s lots of historic buildings and relics of eras past to be seen.

Abundant wildlife and birds

Maria Island is referred to as a modern-day Noah’s Ark! A place where wildlife thrives, too numerous to count. To name a few, there are kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons, and my favourite… wombats. Surrounded by water, its protected habitat is ideal for endangered species to survive. Even a population of Tasmanian Devils has been introduced to the island.

The birdlife is abundant too. Whether on our own adventures or visiting with our tour guests, we often hear, see, and identify in excess of 20 different bird species within just a couple of hours of arriving on the island.

Now, did I say you’ll likely see wombats? Well, there’s plenty! We are sure you will want to pause for a while to observe the many wombats you are likely to see. While observing wildlife, take a seat on the ground, preferably no closer than around 6 metres away, and if a wombat feels safe, it may wander closer to you – this is a special experience indeed. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, you are sure to be endeared by their adorability.

Mum and baby wombat - Maria Island, Tasmania
Painted cliffs on Maria Island, Tasmania - on tour with Shutterbug Walkabouts

And, oh, that glorious scenery

The natural landscape draws your attention. From the grassy plains to the eucalyptus forests, sea cliffs and mountains. Maria Island is known for its dramatic and vibrant seascapes, peaceful bays and pristine beaches. Then add the built landscape that comes with an intriguing story to learn.

The island is a national park with an adjacent marine reserve. There’s no transport on the island – bar a couple of work vehicles for the national park rangers. So this allows you to explore the island on foot, and meander leisurely as you enjoy all that you see along the way.

And there’s so much more…

To describe such a special place takes more than words. There is something truly special about Maria and we would love for you to experience it for yourself.

If you are short on time while visiting Tasmania, join Coreena for a Private Photo-oriented Day Tour.  One of our most popular day trips from Hobart is our unrushed 11 to 12-hour Maria Island private day tour. Or you may like to incorporate Maria Island into a customised multi-day itinerary curated especially for you while visiting a variety of Tasmanian destinations.

A more recent addition to our touring repertoire is our scheduled Small Group Experiences. Our Maria Island Photographers’ Getaway comprises 2 nights on the island staying in the rustic Darlington Penitentiary building bunkrooms so we can make the best of the morning and evening light.

Last but not least… another option is one for female photo enthusiasts, our Women-only Photography Escapes.

But this is not all, Shutterbug Walkabouts offers a range of Experience options so you can pursue your passion for photography. So if you need our help to decide, let us know how we can assist.

Getting to Maria Island

Maria Island lies approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) off Tasmania’s east coast. First, you travel to the fishing village of Triabunna which is about 85kms (53 miles) north of Hobart. It’s from Triabunna that you travel by passenger ferry across the Mercury Channel to Maria Island.

After a 1/2 hour journey on the ferry, you step onto the jetty and into a world away from anything else. It’s at this moment that your senses begin to indulge in all that Maria Island has to offer.

The ferry is operated by Encounter Maria and it’s best to book your tickets in advance. Book an all-inclusive Shutterbug Walkabouts Experience to Maria Island – like our Maria Island photo-oriented day tour, and we take care of this for you.

Photographer on photo-oriented tour to Maria Island with Shutterbug Walkabouts, Tasmania

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