Maria Island National Park travel guide
Maria Island National Park travel guide

Maria Island National Park travel guide — things to see

Your guide to visiting Maria Island, Tasmania. The guide cover all the bases on how to get there, how to get around, where to stay and what to bring. Maria Island is inherently an exclusive island visit due to the size of the ferry passenger manifest. Space galore once you land to explore. There are virtually no internet connections at your fingertips. Visitors get to unplug from the connected world. Carry additional battery life for your mobile to support the camera function. Unplugged, switched off, Maria is the natural detox from urban life.

Where is Maria Island?


What is the best time to visit?

Spring to early Autumn

Maria Island key locations



Maria Island Forecast


Triabunna is the maritime hub for Tasmania’s East Coast with Maria Island National Park 30 minutes by ferry. Encounter ferry services have regular sailings to Maria in the peak season (Spring to Autumn) with a minimum of three sailings each way per day. Check sailing details when booking.

You will need before boarding the ferry:

  • Parks Pass to enter Maria which you can purchase when booking your ferry ticket
  • Pre-paid ferry ticket (forward bookings are recommended due to the limited availability of passenger space on the ferry
  • Pre-booked bike hire and/or booked space for your own bike on board the ferry
  • Pre-booked excess luggage, your ticket price includes one small ‘carry-on’ bag up to 7kg and no larger than 600 x 400 x 300mm (approx)
  • To have checked in at least 30 minutes prior departure at the Triabunna Visitor Centre
Frequently Asked Questions: How to get to Maria Island
Is it possible to visit Maria Island in a day? Yes, however check beforehand what you would like to see and estimate the time taken to visit each attraction. You will be limited by the last sailing. There is a National Park Ranger based on the Island to ensure that visitors respect the environment and arrive / depart within the agreed schedule.
Can I join a day trip from Hobart? Yes, however it is a day where most of the time is spent travelling to Maria with 4-5 hours on the Island which would mean a quick short walk to the Painted Cliffs, a self-guided tour of the major convict sites and an opportunity to picnic in the vicinity of the ferry terminal. It is less likely that you will encounter wombats and observe birds as this is the middle of the day. Hobart is approximately 1 - ½ hours to ferry terminal.
If you wish to stay in Triabunna you can join Tours Maria Island shuttle offer a one day cruise + walk day tour departs from the Triabunna marina, combining a 4hr scenic cruise of Maria Island's stunning coastline with an afternoon stay on Maria including a guided walk of the island's World Heritage listed convict settlement. A big buffet lunch of gourmet Tasmanian food, cheese and wine is provided onboard each cruise whilst at anchor.
Can I use a bus service from Hobart to meet the Encounter ferry? Yes, you can, Gray LIne coaches offer a full day Maria Island transport service from Hobart departing early morning and returning to Hobart approximately 5.00pm. For further information click here Maria Island Day Tours.
Will I feel seasick on the ferry? The gangway can sway, be prepared to grasp the handrail. And the Tasman Sea is known for its strong currents between Maria Island and Tasmania. Be prepared for the short voyage to be less than calm, flat waters. The ferry is a modern boat with stabliizers to manage rough weather as well the crew are very experienced.
Can I park a car near the ferry? Yes, there is all day free parking in the vicinity of the ferry terminal. Do not leave valuables in the car. There are no storage lockers at the terminal for luggage, arrange elsewhere before your arrival.
Can I buy food onboard the ferry? Yes you can.
Luggage, can I carry additional luggage and what if I am overweight? Timetable, Pricing, Luggage & Check-In for details check here. And yes, Yes. You can pay to take additional luggage on your day of travel. You will be charged the regular rate. If your sailing is at full capacity, we can transport your luggage to the island on another ferry.
How much time would you recommend for a visit to Maria Island? The majority of visitors spend 5 - 6 hours on the Island yet when asked if it was enough time it is mentioned that I would like to return some day as I did not have enough time. It could be the walks, bird watching, wildlife encounters or simply immersing yourself in the natural world that is Maria Island. You can always return if you feel as though your stay was insufficient.
I would like to stay overnight however I am not keen on bunk beds and I am not carrying bedding on my holiday? An option could be two days on the Island with accommodation in Triabunna. This means four trips on the ferry in total (2 hours sailing time). Triabunna is small and travel time to the ferry terminal would be between 10-15 minutes.

Another option are the guided, catered tours to Maria Island that take 3 – 4 days, for details about a guided tour click here for more information. Book directly with the tour operator. Guided Maria Island Walk Tasmania.


You have the choice of walking (sturdy shoes are necessary) or riding a bike. To get around you will need to either walk or bike. Most of the major sites are within an hour’s walk of Darlington and the ferry. Biking is allowed on all roads on the island, but not on the walking tracks. You can bring your own or rent one on the island. You can reserve bikes online ahead of time. Tasmanian law requires you to wear a bike helmet, for bike hire a helmet is provided.

Maria Island facilities

There are no shops on the island. You will need to bring everything with you – including food, drink, appropriate clothing, sunscreen etc. All rubbish must also be taken with you when you leave the island.

Can I take a car to Maria Island?

No, the only vehicles belong to the National Park rangers.


Where can I stay on Maria Island?

The Penitentiary in Darlington provides basic bunkhouse style accommodation. Bookings can be made six months in advance. Bookings are made through the Triabunna Visitor Information Centre. Bookings for camping aren’t required but fees apply and enquiries can also be made through the Triabunna Visitor Information Centre.

Darlington Penitentiary Accommodations

The old penitentiary in Darlington operates as a bunkhouse. It has ten basic dorm-style rooms you book through the National Parks Service. They sell out months in advance for the popular summer season. The rooms have six bunks with mattresses, a table and chairs, and a wood heater. There is no electricity or bedding. Bring your own bedding. Shared toilet facilities are across the courtyard. There is also a shared kitchen with gas cooktops but you need to bring your own cooking utensils.

Click here for the online booking system for the Penitentiary Accommodation. Bookings will reopen on the 15 June with rooms open from 21 July 2020 to 31 January 2021. Penitentiary Accommodation check-ins can occur from 2pm on your day of arrival onto island. Rooms must be vacated by 10am on your day of departure. This is to allow time for the room to be cleaned between occupants. If you have any luggage you wish to store until your room becomes available or until your departing ferry, please use the Penitentiary laundry room or Mass Hall. Keep all valuables with you.

If you are staying overnight (Penitentiary Accommodation or camping), please check into the campgrounds at the Visitor Centre once you arrive on the island.

For further information please contact the Maria Island Office on (03) 6257 1420 or at

Basic camping grounds are located at:

  • French’s Farm and Encampment Cove.
  • Both of these campgrounds are free. They have untreated rainwater tanks however water supply is dependent on annual rainfall which in summer can cause temporary water shortages. French Farm is 11km from the ferry jetty. Encampment Cove is 13km from the ferry jetty. Both can be reached via the coast road on foot or by bicycle.

What to Bring to Maria Island

  • Snacks and lunch
  • Water bottle (there is drinking water at Darlington campsite so you can refill your bottle)
  • Camera and mobile phone portable battery
  • Sun hat and sunscreen, insect repellent, anti – histemane
  • Waterproof layer
  • Bathing suit and towel
  • Backpack
  • Rubbish bags – there are no bins on the island and you need to take all rubbish out with you
  • Bike and helmet (optional)

Pack everything on the day trip list, then add in:

  • Bedding
  • Flashlight/torch you can place on your heat
  • Food for all your meals and sealed storage containers
  • Cooking supplies
  • Gold coin ( $1 $2) for the shower
  • Personal hygiene supplies
  • Change of clothes, layers

Travel Pack Information

  • Ten reasons why Maria Island is a favourite place to visit
  • Experiences on Maria Island there is an excellent National Parks detailed description which will be very useful in planning whether wombats are top of the list or the birds of the native woodlands.

The journey is worth it.

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