The trek consists of 8 guests and 2 guides and comprises the following format: Day One collection from your hotel in Hobart for a briefing at The Maria Island Walk office before the hour long drive to Triabunna where you board a private boat to the south of Maria Island. After lunch on a beautiful beach it is a short walk to the camp concealed in trees. The afternoon is at leisure with the option to trek, swim or just relax in camp. Day Two involves a longer trek taking in a deserted farm where the group stops for coffee/tea, lunch at the convict settlement at Port Lesueur and, in the afternoon, the crossing of 5 different beaches to reach the second camp, nestled in the forest above another lovely beach. Day Three is an easier trek to the deserted town of Darlington, via the astonishing Painted Cliffs. In Darlington, accommodation is in the charming colonial period Bernacci House, the former home of charismatic entrepreneur Diego Bernacci. The afternoon is at leisure for strolling round the town and it's immaculately restored buildings, choosing from a number of scenic but easy walks or climbing either Mount Maria or Bishop and Clerk. The morning of Day Four is 'at leisure' to explore more of the locality and its fascinating history before a champagne lunch and the boat ride back to Triabunna and thence to Hobart.
My husband and I had never trekked with back-packs and were a bit anxious that we might find it difficult, but the walking was easy, the rests frequent and we never felt fatigued. The Maria Island Walk also provide a very thorough kit list when you sign up for the trek, which proved invaluable. They also supply super-comfy back packs.
Although Maria Island is quite small - 19km by 13km - the stunning scenery is wild and varied and is home to a variety of birds and animals - some only found in Tasmania. The standard of guiding over the four days was exceptional - enhanced by the ratio of guides to guests. Information about the flora, fauna and the indigenous peoples who settled periodically on the Island, to the more recent whalers and farmers, was first rate and infused with a passion for the Island. The quality and variety of the meals was astonishing and we enjoyed superb three-course candlelit dinners, complimented by different Tasmanian wines, each evening. The choice of breakfast changed daily, always including a hot option. The camps on nights 1 and 2 were extremely well constructed, ensuring maximum privacy with a sound eco-orientation. Water conservation is a priority, so showers were not available until we reached Bernacci House. However, the washroom provision at both camps was entirely adequate. Bernacci House was charmingly furnished in the colonial stye and we enjoyed log fires, a library and fresh linen on the comfortable beds.
Notwithstanding, none of the above conveys the magic of Maria Island, which has to be experienced to be believed - it truly is Caliban's enchanted isle: "full of ... sounds and sweet airs, that give delight..." Spending four days exploring it, seldom seeing anyone else, walking amongst wallabies and creeping close to wombats, following the tracks of tassie devils and swimming in its crystal clear waters - this island has everything for the nature-lover and yet still keeps a little back for itself. We cannot recommend the experiene of The Maria Island Walk more highly.
As a postscript I should like to mention that, flying into Hobart on the evening before the commencement of the trek, we found that our luggage, including all our trekking gear, was still in Melbourne. We rang The Maria Island Office and, despite the lateness of the hour - about 10pm - the staff responded superbly, taking all the details and dealing with Quantas on our behalf. They assured us that, if the luggage didn't turn up the following morning, they would organise an alternative excursion for us until such time as it did arrive, after which we could join the trek. The calmness and efficiency of their response did much to ease what was a stressful 12 hours. In the event, the luggage was waiting for us at the airport the next morning, not in small measure due to the efforts of the team at The Maria Island Walk.
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