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Off-shore wildlife reserve Maria Island is recognised for its convict era buildings and varied wildlife, from Cape Barren geese and Forester kangaroos, to a resident population of Tasmanian devils.

Lying just off the East coast, the island has no motor vehicles or shops; its only distractions are those of the natural world, with wide bays, rough-hewn cliffs, mountains and stunning views. Dartington Probation Station has changed little since the convict era and was recently World Heritage listed as part of the eleven Australian Convict Sites. The surrounding waters include a marine nature reserve, were the clear visibility makes for great diving or snorkeling, and the rich marine life attracts seals and whales.

A small number of healthy Tasmanian devils was recently translocated to the safe haven of the island as part of a breeding programme to help the population recover from an epidemic of disease that decimated them.

A tour of the island, on foot or by bicycle, reveals evidence plentiful fauna, present and past – a visit to the former quarry at the Fossil Cliffs gives an intriguing look at the many creatures captured as fossils in the limestone. Walk to the hop kilns, the convict reservoir or the spectacular Painted Cliffs, shaped by mineral rich rain and wind, or take a longer walk to the top of Bishop or Clerk peaks, keeping an eye open for Bennett’s wallaby, pademelons and endemics such as the green rosella, dusky robin and Tasmanian scrubwren.  As you wander around, you cannot miss the large population of Cape Barren geese grazing in pairs, and the charismatic wombats.

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: common wombat, Bennett’s wallaby, Tasmanian devil, dusky robin, Cape Barren goose
  • Where: Tasmania, Australia

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itinerary:

Tasmania’s Wilderness Coast

Join us on a wildlife cruise along the southern coast of Tasmania, visiting five national parks and two world heritage areas, as we explore the pristine landscapes and spectacular coastlines of this fascinating island in the hope of seeing its 12 species endemic birds and mammals.

  • When to go: Nov-Feb
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,395 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Recommended cruise vessel:

Coral Expeditions I & II

Coral Expeditions I & II are fully equipped for the ultimate expedition cruising experience in Australian coastal waters, and are the ideal choice for discovering the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, Western Australia’s remarkable Kimberley region, Cape York, Arnhem Land and Tasmania.