Tasmanian Native Hen
Duration: 4 days/3 nights
Type: Groups, Shared.
Interests: Birds, Land Mammals & Marsupials, Marine Mammals, Reptiles & Amphibians.
This four day guided walk across magnificent Maria Island, combines intimate wildlife encounters, fascinating history, pristine white sand beaches, and locally sourced gourmet food. Small groups of maximum 10 guests and 2 guides, will explore the World Heritage Listed island with gentle walks by day and enjoy elegant private accommodation and candle lit gourmet dining each night.
As a vital location for numerous threatened and endangered species, Maria is now an island sanctuary and one of the best places in Australia to observe Common Wombats, Tasmanian Devils, Cape Barren Geese, Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies and 125 species of birds; including all of Tasmania’s endemics, the beautiful Swift Parrot and the endangered 40 Spotted Pardalote.
On arrival to the historic coastal town of Triabunna, guests will cruise across to Maria Island via the sparkling waters of Mercury Passage to the three kilometre sandy isthmus of Maria Island. On these pristine and untouched beaches, it is common to see Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, Crested Terns, Australasian Gannets, Pacific Gulls, Hooded Dotterels, Silver Gulls and Short-tailed Shearwaters (from Spring until Autumn).
After enjoying a delicious lunch overlooking the crystal azure waters of Shoal Bay, walkers will head towards the tranquil Casuarina Beach camp. The afternoon brings the opportunity to explore a trail through tall eucalypt forests down to the spectacular Haunted Bay, renowned for its vivid orange-and-yellow lichen smothered granite rocks.
Near the water, walkers will commonly spot Little Penguins in burrows between great slabs of granite, as young chicks await the return of their parents for a feed. On the return journey, walkers should keep a keen eye out for Short-beaked Echidnas, Pademelons, wallabies and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos. That evening, after a fine Tasmanian gourmet dinner, guests can stroll along the beach at sunset with a glass of wine, delighting in the day’s adventures.
Waking up to the busy chattering of Yellow Wattlebirds, guests will watch the morning sun sparkle through the forest from the comfort of bed. After a delicious breakfast, it’s time to start the journey along five beautiful beaches. This brings the opportunity to watch Bottlenose Dolphins play in the surf and White-bellied Sea Eagles soaring overhead whilst walking past the carpet of exotic shells lining the water’s edge.
Winding through tracks of grassy tussocks to the sand dunes and to Bloodstone Beach, walkers will retrace the steps of French explorer Nicholas Baudin who visited in 1802 and pass the probation outpost of Point Lesueur. Before settling into the White Gums Camp, walkers can take a quick swim or observe numerous bird species, including the rare Forty-spotted Pardalote, Spotted and Striated Pardalote, Scarlet Robins, Silvereyes, Green Rosellas, Yellow-rumped Thornbill and Strong-billed, Yellow-throated, Black-headed, Crescent and New Holland Honeyeaters.
Cuckoos (Fan-tailed, Pallid, and Golden Bronze) may also be spotted on the White Gums in Spring, when they lay eggs in the nests of Superb Fairy-wrens, Satin Flycatchers and Yellow-rumped Thornbills. Walkers will also find an abundance of Common Wombats, Bennett's Wallabies and Forester Kangaroos. After this perfect day, guests can relax with fellow walkers, before enjoying a candlelit dinner of the finest Tasmanian food and wine.
Today the Tasmanian Walking Guides will lead walkers inland to the heart of the Island to discover the lush and majestic forests. Wandering through the world’s largest stand of giant Tasmanian Blue Gums, walkers may spot Common Wombats and the noisy Swift parrot that feeds on the flowering nectar. This critically endangered migratory species returns to the east coast of Tasmania in August to nest in the hollows of trees and breed.
Walkers can choose to climb the peaks of Mt Maria or Bishop and Clerk, providing stunning views towards Tasman Island, Freycinet, Schouten Island and the Ile Des Phoques. Towards the top of the peaks, small scree and big dolerite boulders are a remnant of the last glaciation period around 20,000 years ago, when upright columns fell due to freezing between the rock.
In the evening, walkers will arrive at Tasmanian’s fascinating World Heritage listed settlement of Darlington, staying at the elegant colonial Bernacchi House for a final night banquet with fine wine and conversation. Outside, guests will commonly see Bennett's Wallabies and the Tasmanian Pademelons eating the heritage lavender in the gardens.
The final day commences with a delicious breakfast followed by a walk around the northern tip of Maria Island. This trail covers a variety of spectacular woodlands and forests, before arriving at the dramatic sea cliffs of Fossil Bay.
These massive limestone cliffs store a prolific volume of fossils from a 280 million year old sea bed including fully formed shell fossils. Arriving back at Darlington, it is common to see grazing Common Wombats, Forester Kangaroos, Bennett's Wallabies, Cape Barren Geese, Tasmanian Native Hens, with a keen eye spotting pairs of beautiful Flame Robins darting around. Before boarding the boat to go back to the mainland Tasmania and Hobart, walkers will enjoy a celebratory farewell lunch to reminisce about the amazing four days walking across this beautiful Island.