Thoughts on Location No 25
Triabunna, Lower East Coast, Tasmania
It was nice to relax on Wednesday following our epic trek around the Freycinet National Park on Tuesday, if the customary packing up and moving on can be classified as relaxing. For me it was, as Dean does most of the driving, but relaxing in the passenger seat only lasted a short while as we pulled into Triabunna, only 108 kilometres down the road. (67 miles)
We were surprised to discover the ferry on Thursday was full and we couldn’t be taken across until Friday. This was not a back and forth ferry, but rather a service ‘to’ in the morning and ‘from’ in the afternoon. We pondered that for a little while and went for a walk around Triabunna.
When our walk was done (some five minutes later, and yes, the ‘town centre’ really is that small), we decided to book a cruise with East Coast Cruises. As it happened, Thursday was their last cruise for the season and we were very glad when the lady called back to say they had enough bookings for the cruise to go ahead. A day cruise, circumnavigating the island, with lunch provided.
Our captain Michael, and his first mate Jason, were wonderful and the day was full of lessons in history, geography and geology. Too much for me to write about but I do have to mention that it was a treat to meet Vince on the cruise.
Vince has been working on a study centred around the introduction of Tasmania Devils on the island. Maria Island National Park was chosen specifically and the introduction of the devils was thought to be the best plan for controlling feral cats. Vince has been working on this program since it’s inception more than three years ago and I enjoyed talking with him about the work he has been doing. Unlike devils on the Tasmanian mainland, the ones on Maria Island have been bred in captivity and are free of disease. Vince said the initial results look promising.
Apart from all the lessons, we were treated to some spectacular sights. Photos have been added to the Photography page. The beauty of the east side of the island was amazing, though I must say the seas were rough away from the protection of Mercury Passage and at one point I felt very green, and perhaps looked it as well.
After lunch which was a treat of fresh salads and smoked Tasmanian Smoked Salmon with a glass of champagne or beer, we had time to wander around Darlington and see for ourselves the buildings remaining from the convict probation station and the ruins of Diego Bernacchi’s family home. Bernacchi was instrumental in the many and varied layers of history that followed the termination of the probation system in 1850.
History has seen so many different uses for the island, and there is so much wrapped and trapped within the walls, those still standing, and those that are broken or piles of rubble. If you’re game, you can even spend the night in one of the cells. I wanted to walk around to the cemetery, not that there is mush left, but we ran out of time.
We saw so much wildlife. Common Dolphins that chased the boat, and a Shy Albatross that flew alongside the boat just above the water. There were so many Common Wombats and Kangaroos.
I spotted and subsequently photographed a White-breasted Sea-eagle trying to hide next to a bleached branch of a tree. There were Cape Barren geese and I thought they looked quite funny on their long, thick legs, and there were so many other sea birds, none of which I was able to photograph.
Once again though, additional photos have been added to the Photography page. Please enjoy.
I found this terrific article about the history of the island for those interested in reading more: Maria Island – A Brief History.
Maria Island is one of the 11 sites that make up the World Heritage Australian Convict Sites.
While in Triabunna, we stayed two nights across the road from the Tourist Information Centre, in a paddock available for ‘free campers’ – those who are self-sufficient. It was lovely apart from the cold. I have to say it was rather chilly both mornings, evident by the condensation inside the caravan.
At one point the walls were crying and we spent 30 or so minutes wiping everything down. Ok, Dean spent 30 minutes wiping everything down, I can’t remember what I was doing.
No such sadness where we are now, with electricity and a heater to keep the inside of our mini home warm and dry.