3 days around Orford and Maria Island
Tasmania's island national park has abundant wildlife, natural wonders and rich history, with more treats waiting on the “mainland” at nearby Orford.
Day 1 - Hobart to Orford
- Follow the Tasman Highway through the hills between Sorell and Orford, and pull in at the Tasmanian Bushland Garden, a 20-hectare botanic garden planted entirely with native and endemic plants from the state's south east, with several short walks winding through.
- Buckland's convict-built Church of St John the Baptist has a fascinating historic tale beyond its sandstone and mortar. Legend has it that the church's stained-glass window was taken from the famous Battle Abbey in East Sussex and brought to Buckland by the church's rector in the mid-19th century.
- Hit the coast in Orford and head to Shelly Beach, where an easy two-kilometre walking trail winds around Quarry Point to Spring Beach. Sandstone was once hand-cut from Quarry Point and used to construct buildings in Hobart and Melbourne, including the Melbourne General Post Office.
- Synchronise to coastal time with a wine tasting at Darlington Vineyard, or a whisky and gin tasting and tour at Spring Bay Distillery.
- Overnight by the ocean at EastcoasterTasmania, with dinner on-site at Spring Bay Restaurant and Cafe, or head back towards Buckland, where farm-stay options at Twamley Farm include a converted 1840s stable and a glamping bell tent.
Day 2 - Maria Island
- Take the morning Encounter Maria Island ferry from Triabunna to Maria Island, the island national park blessed with mountains, beaches, convict history, painted cliffs and teeming wildlife.
- Wander the grounds of Darlington – mind the wombats – and explore the convict probation station and scattered remains of the grand industrial empire envisaged by Diego Bernacchi in the late 19th century. There's bunkhouse-style accommodation inside the old penitentiary cells.
- From Darlington, it's a two-kilometre walk to the whimsically patterned Painted Cliffs. Check the tide times - the cliffs are accessible about two hours either side of low tide.
- Return on the ferry, grabbing fish and chips on Triabunna's wharf before returning to EastcoasterTasmania or Twamley Farm.
Day 3 - Orford and surrounds
- A morning in Orford brings more walking opportunities. The faint line of the Old Convict Road follows the course of the Prosser River through Paradise Gorge on the original, convict-built track between Orford and Hobart. Or head up into the tall gums and towering views of the Three Thumbs Lookout south of town.
- For an afternoon on the water, East Coast Cruises runs half-day trips to the fur-seal colony on isolated Ile des Phoques, or along the coastline of Schouten Island off the tip of Freycinet Peninsula.
- Head north on the Tasman Highway, linking up with the Great Eastern Drive’s Grazing the East itinerary, and stop for cellar-door tastings at Boomer Creek Vineyard. Then pay a visit to the Lisdillon Saltworks, built by convicts in the 1830s and now a picturesque ruin looking across Great Oyster Bay to Freycinet Peninsula.
Return to Great Eastern Drive Journeys