Location: Maria Island
Length: 4 kilometres
Grade: 2 (suitable for most on a flat, easy track)
Distance from: Hobart - 86 km, Launceston - 187 km, Devonport - 268 km
Forester kangaroos, wombats and thousands of fossils await you on the Fossil Cliffs Trail in Maria Island National Park. This protected island sits off the sparkling east coast shores of Orford, a popular summertime holiday town. With crystal clear waters teeming with marine life, white sand beaches and abundant wildlife, Maria Island is a must-visit for any east coast itinerary.
There is just one simple accommodation on the island, so you'll probably prefer catching a morning ferry from the town of Triabunna just north of Orford. You'll find the trailhead conveniently located at the Darlington docking area on Maria Island. The 4-kilometre loop trail is gentle on a well-defined track. You'll pass relics of Maria Island's convict past, such as an old cement works and silo, when prisoners were kept off the mainland in the 1800's. You'll meander through gaggles of kangaroos and wombats before descending down to a beach featuring a curious cliff. You'll find shellfish fossil packed into the limestone giving you a glimpse of a bygone era.
Maria Island is accessed via ferry from the east coast town of Triabunna. The ferry and its carpark sit at the end of Charles Street. The drive from Hobart is a little over an hour. Launceston is 187 kilometres and 2.5 hours away. Devonport is a 3 hour and 14-minute drive over the span of 258 kilometres.
The loop trail starts at the docking area on Maria Island. Most of the track takes place inland on coastal plains. You'll quickly come across the old silos and a cement works before arriving at the convict barn. Get your camera ready because the barn is full of dusty, rusted old equipment from the convict days. It makes for a rustic picture.
You'll then come across a cemetery curiously full of free settlers. Seems a bit out of place for an island with a convict past. You'll then pass an airfield. By now, you've likely been greeted by forester kangaroos and wombats. After making new friends with the wildlife, it's time to descend rather steeply to the beach with the fossil-packed limestone cliff. You may even find fossilised shells in the beach's sand.
You'll find toilets and a campground at the docking area, but resources on the island are extremley limited otherwise. It is best to pack your own food and water in Triabunna before reaching the island.