Venturing “overseas” without leaving Tasmania

Venturing “overseas” without leaving Tasmania

We hadn’t long arrived on Maria Island when an exasperated Hudson demanded to know: “why did we come here?”

We were relatively fresh off the ferry and had just walked to the top of a decent-sized hill so the boys were sweaty – they had worked up an appetite and were ready to stop for morning tea.

I began to wonder if it was a bad decision to bring two small boys to a place far from civilisation where the ferry runs only once in the morning and again in the afternoon, effectively rendering us prisoners for six hours on this island which housed convicts back in the early-to-mid 1800s.

Fast forward to the late afternoon and I couldn’t have been more wrong as Hudson, who is almost six, was gleefully asking “can we come back here again?”

Maybe it was the abundance of wildlife that won him over (within two minutes of stepping off the ferry we spotted a wombat, the first of dozens of wombat sighting that day. Hudson started counting them initially, but quickly lost track as we easily saw 30-40 wild wombats leisurely munching on grass on various parts of the island. And that’s not including the wallabies, kangaroos and kookaburras we also spied).

Maybe it was the fact that despite doing a fair bit of walking, the scenery was constantly changing, with historic buildings, painted cliffs, bushland, rolling green hills, pristine beaches and an expansive blue sky overhead ensuring there was always something interesting to look at.

Maybe it was the wealth of strategically-placed bench seats, ensuring that every time we stopped for a snack or a drink we could enjoy a view like this:

Or maybe it was the bag of musk sticks in our backpack that we used as bribery when necessary.

Whatever it was, the four of us definitely enjoyed exploring this pristine piece of paradise.

We chose Maria Island because we wanted to explore a part of Tassie that we hadn’t really visited before. Last time I set foot on the island was almost 30 years ago, for a school camp that I have fond, but somewhat vague, recollections of.

But my three wide-eyed travelling companions had never visited before.

And with the ferry terminal at Triabunna little more than an hour’s drive from Hobart – and only a few minutes from Orford where we stayed – it seemed like a great way to have an adventure without spending too many hours in the car.

The ferry trip is only half an hour, but when you step on the island you instantly feel like you’re a million miles away from the real world.

It’s the closest thing to an overseas holiday that any of us Tasmanians are likely to experience for a while, at least until the COVID-19 situation settles.

And with Hudson already talking about our next visit (when he and his little brother Archer, three, are hoping to take their bikes), it looks like we may be heading “overseas” again sometime in the not-too-distant future.

* This trip was paid for in part by the Make Yourself at Home travel voucher scheme being offered by the Tasmanian Government. We were lucky enough to secure a voucher in Round 1, and have since claimed back a large portion of the accommodation costs and all the ferry costs.

Accommodation for two adults and two children (who slept on a fold out couch in the living room) at the Eastcoaster at Orford – $159 a night. A great spot for kids with indoor and outdoor pools, tennis and basketball courts and a playground.

Encounter Maria Island Ferry, return trip – $45 adults, $28 child (under 4s are free).

We also boosted the local economy by eating at local pubs and cafes (including the Spring Bay Restaurant and Cafe and Blue Waters Hotel in Orford and the Coffee on the Marina van at Triabunna), shopping at the local IGA and chemist and buying fuel.

Family memories made – priceless.