Plan Your Visit to Maria Island

A Seasonal Guide
Discovering Maria Island: A Guide to Seasonal Attractions and ActivitiesDiscovering Maria Island's Fauna: A Guide to Land Mammals and BirdsMaria Island Marine Reserve Example of marine life found on the sheltered coast of Maria IslandExample of marine life found on the exposed coast of Maria IslandMarine Life on Maria Island - Season GuideMaria Island Seasonal Weather Guide:

Discovering Maria Island: A Guide To Seasonal Attractions And Activities

Maria Island, located off the east coast of Tasmania, Australia, experiences several seasonal departures throughout the year. These departures are shaped by the changing weather patterns and are characterized by an influx of tourists and visitors during peak seasons, as well as a decrease in activity during the off-season.

Spring (September - November)
This is a popular time for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers, as the island is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including wallabies, echidnas, and several species of birds. The weather begins to warm up and the flora and fauna start to come alive, making it an ideal time for:

  • Birdwatching: Maria Island is a great place for birdwatching with various species including fairy penguins, sea eagles and peregrine falcons.
  • Wildflower Walk: Take a stroll through the picturesque wildflower fields that blanket the island during this time of the year.
  • Beachcombing: With its long stretches of pristine beaches, Maria Island is a paradise for beachcombers. Look for shells, sand dollars, and other treasures along the shore.

Summer (December - February)
This is the peak season on Maria Island, with the island experiencing its warmest weather and the most tourists. It's the perfect time for beach-goers and water-sport enthusiasts, as the island is surrounded by pristine beaches and clear, turquoise waters. Some of the top attractions and activities during the summer months include:

  • Swimming: The warm weather makes for perfect swimming conditions in the island’s bays and beaches.
  • Snorkeling: Explore the stunning underwater world and see colorful marine life.
  • Hiking: With its numerous hiking trails, Maria Island offers a chance to get up close and personal with its natural beauty.
  • Picnicking: With its abundant picnic spots, Maria Island is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely outdoor meal.

Autumn (March - May)
This is a peaceful time on the island, as the tourist crowds have thinned and the scenery transforms into a beautiful tapestry of fall colors. Some of the top autumn activities include:

  • Photography: With its changing colors, Maria Island is a photographer's paradise during autumn.
  • Wildlife Watching: Keep an eye out for wallabies, echidnas, and other wildlife as they roam freely on the island.
  • History Tour: Visit the historic sites on the island, including the former penal colony and the Darlington Probation Station.
  • Camping: With its scenic campsites, Maria Island is an excellent place for autumn camping.

Winter (June - August)
This is the off-season on Maria Island, with fewer visitors and a more muted atmosphere. The weather is cooler and wetter, and it's worth noting that some tours and activities may not operate during this time, particularly between June and September. Some of the top winter activities include:

  • Whale Watching: During the winter months, whales can be seen from the shores of Maria Island.
  • Seabird Watching: Keep an eye out for seabirds like the little penguins and shearwaters.
  • Fishing: Try your hand at fishing in the island’s bays and waters.
  • Winter Hiking: Take a scenic winter hike and enjoy the peace and quiet of the island during this time of the year.

Discovering Maria Island's Fauna: A Guide To Land Mammals And Birds

Maria Island is a wildlife enthusiast's paradise and is home to an abundance of fascinating and unique land mammals and birds.

Summer Wildlife Guide:

Land Mammals:

  • Wallabies: Look for these iconic marsupials in open grasslands and near the shores of the island.
  • Possums: Eastern Ring-tailed Possums and Brush-tailed Possums can be spotted in trees and shrubs at night, as they come out to feed.
  • Echidnas: These fascinating creatures are known to roam the island in search of food and can be found in various habitats, including forests and grasslands.


  • Seabirds: The island is home to a large number of seabirds, including the Little Penguin and the Short-tailed Shearwater. Head to the cliffs and bays of the island to witness their nesting habits.
  • Forest Birds: Keep your eyes peeled for colorful species like the Eastern Spinebill, the Eastern Rosella, and the Superb Fairy-wren in the forested areas of the island.
  • Shorebirds: The island's wetlands and shorelines provide a habitat for a variety of shorebirds, including the Pied Oystercatcher and the Sanderling.

Autumn Wildlife Guide:

Land Mammals:

  • Eastern Bettongs: These small marsupials can be found foraging for food in the open forests and grasslands of Maria Island.
  • Long-nosed Potoroos: These small, shy animals can be seen in the undergrowth, searching for roots, insects and fungi to eat.
  • Bennett's Wallabies: These iconic marsupials can be seen grazing in the open grasslands or forests of Maria Island.
  • Forester Kangaroos: These larger kangaroos can be seen in the more open habitats, such as grasslands and heathlands.
  • Echidnas: Keep an eye out for these fascinating animals as they forage for food on the ground or in the undergrowth.


  • Tasmanian Native Hens: These large, flightless birds can be seen in the open grasslands and heathlands of Maria Island, searching for insects and small mammals to eat.
  • Wedge-tailed Eagles: These magnificent birds of prey can be seen soaring overhead, looking for their next meal.
  • Honeyeaters: These small, nectar-loving birds can be seen feeding on the flowers of eucalypts and other flowering plants.
  • Blue Wrens: These colorful little birds can be seen flitting through the undergrowth, searching for insects to eat.

Where to Look:

  • The open grasslands and heathlands are great places to look for kangaroos, wallabies and native hens.
  • The forests and woodlands are ideal habitats for potoroos, echidnas, and small birds such as honeyeaters and wrens.
  • The rocky outcrops and cliffs are ideal habitats for birds of prey, such as wedge-tailed eagles.

Winter Wildlife Guide:

Land Mammals:

  • Echidnas and Platypus: Echidnas forage for food, and platypuses can be seen swimming in the ponds and streams.
  • Carnivorous Marsupials: Tasmanian devils, spotted-tailed quolls, eastern quolls, Tasmanian dusky antechinus, swamp antechinus, and white-footed dunnarts can be seen foraging for food during the day or night, depending on the species.
  • Possums, Kangaroos and Wombats: Eastern bettongs, long-nose potoroos, Bennett's wallabies, forester kangaroos, Rufous-bellied pademelons, eastern ring-tailed possums, sugar gliders, brush-tailed possums, eastern pygmy-possums, little pygmy-possums, and wombats can be seen foraging for food or exploring their surroundings.


  • Seabirds: During winter, Maria Island is a great place to see seabirds such as the shearwaters, petrels, gannets, and albatross. They can be seen along the coastline and offshore islands.
  • Shorebirds: Maria Island's shorelines are home to several species of shorebirds, including the sandpipers, plovers, and terns. These birds can be seen foraging for food along the shoreline.
  • Raptors: Winter is a great time to see raptors such as the white-bellied sea eagle, osprey, and peregrine falcon. They can be seen hunting over the coastline and offshore islands.

Where to Look:

  • Echidnas and Platypus: Look for echidnas near the island's vegetation, and platypuses in the ponds and streams.
  • Carnivorous Marsupials: Look for Tasmanian devils, spotted-tailed quolls, and other carnivorous marsupials near the island's forests, woodlands, and scrublands.
  • Possums, Kangaroos and Wombats: Look for these animals near the island's vegetation and open habitats, such as grasslands and savannas.
  • Seabirds: Look for seabirds along the coastline and offshore islands.
  • Shorebirds: Look for shorebirds along the island's shorelines.
  • Raptors: Look for raptors flying over the coastline and offshore islands.

Spring Wildlife Guide:

Land Mammals:

  • Eastern Bettongs: These small marsupials can be seen foraging for food in the open grasslands and woodlands in the mornings and evenings.
  • Long-nosed Potoroos: These small, nocturnal marsupials can be seen foraging for food in the undergrowth of woodlands and forests.
  • Bennett's Wallabies: These medium-sized marsupials can be seen grazing in the open grasslands and woodlands throughout the day.
  • Forester Kangaroos: These large marsupials can be seen grazing in the open grasslands and woodlands throughout the day.
  • Rufous-bellied Pademelons: These small, nocturnal marsupials can be seen foraging for food in the undergrowth of woodlands and forests.


  • Weddell's Parrots: These colorful parrots can be seen foraging for food in the eucalyptus trees in the mornings and evenings.
  • Tasmanian Native-hens: These large ground-dwelling birds can be seen foraging for food in the open grasslands and fields.
  • Grey Currawongs: These large, black birds with a distinctive call can be seen in the woodlands and forests throughout the day.
  • Black-headed Honeyeaters: These small, nectar-feeding birds can be seen flitting from flower to flower in the woodlands and forests.
  • Green Rosellas: These brightly colored parrots can be seen foraging for food in the eucalyptus trees in the mornings and evenings.

Where to Look:

  • For Eastern Bettongs, Long-nosed Potoroos, Bennett's Wallabies, Forester Kangaroos, and Rufous-bellied Pademelons, the best places to look are in the open grasslands and woodlands on the island.
  • For Weddell's Parrots, Tasmanian Native-hens, Grey Currawongs, Black-headed Honeyeaters, and Green Rosellas, the best places to look are in the woodlands and forests on the island, particularly near flowering eucalyptus trees.

Don't forget to bring your binoculars and cameras!

Maria Island Marine Reserve

The marine reserve extends along the north and west coasts of the island, from low water mark to 20 m water depth, with a no-take zone between Cape Boullanger and Return Point where fishing and other extractive activities are prohibited.

Snorkelling and Diving:

  • Snorkelers can access the reserve in many locations, with a popular spot being the Darlington jetty.
  • A wide variety of dives are possible in the reserve, including the boulder reef north of the jetty where large lobsters, bastard trumpeter, banded morwong, and boarfish can be seen.
  • Remember that Tasmania’s cool water environments can be challenging for those used to diving in warmer waters, so seek local advice from dive charter operators.

Rockpool Rambling:

  • At the Painted Cliffs within 1-2 hours of low tide, you can explore the wonderful array of marine life in the rockpools.
  • Remember to collect the Rockpool Rambling brochure and tide information from the Commissariat Store.
  • If you turn rocks to explore the life beneath, return them to their original position to protect the creatures from dehydration.


  • Fishing is only permitted in the blue zone and not in the no-take zone.
  • If fishing, make sure you’re not in the no-take zone and stow fishing equipment out of sight when in the no-take zone.
  • Observe size, bag, and possession limits and only take enough for a feed.

Going Ashore:

  • Before going ashore, check your footwear, clothes, equipment, and food are free from soil, seeds, insects, and vermin.
  • Leave your dog and other pets at home and stay on the wet sand when walking on beaches to protect birdlife.
  • Campfires are prohibited except in metal fireplaces at Encampment Cove. Don’t bring firewood, as wood is provided.
  • A Parks pass is required if you’re going ashore and can be purchased from the Commissariat Store on the island.
  • You can also use this website to purchase a park pass Welcome to Parks Passes

Helpful Tips:

  • Know the boundaries of the marine reserve and no-take zone.
  • Take your rubbish home as ropes, plastics, and fishing line can harm wildlife.
  • Avoid anchoring in sensitive habitats such as seagrass beds and sponge gardens, and prefer sandy seafloors or kelp-covered reefs.
  • Clean and dry your fishing, dive, or boating gear after every trip and clean your boat hull annually to avoid the spread of marine pests and diseases.
  • Get a copy of the latest Recreational Sea Fishing Guide for fishing information:
  • Boating forecast: (03) 6376 0555
  • A valid parks pass is required for entry to Tasmania's national parks:
  • More Information Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service:

Example Of Marine Life Found On The Sheltered Coast Of Maria Island

Maria Island Marine Reserve protects a variety of marine habitats found along Tasmania's east coast, including seagrass beds, sand and coral reefs composed of different rock types like dolerite, siltstone, sandstone and limestone. The reserve also covers areas with varying levels of wave exposure, ranging from sheltered to fully exposed. One of the highlights of the reserve is Fossil Bay on the exposed north coast, which features deep gutters, overhangs and caves (extending up to 40 meters into the limestone cliffs) that create breathtaking seascapes both above and below the water.

Example Of Marine Life Found On The Exposed Coast Of Maria Island

The west coast of the reserve offers sheltered waters that provide a thriving habitat for a variety of marine life, including large southern rock lobsters. Since the reserve was established in 1991, the populations of reef fish like bastard trumpeter, banded morwong, and boarfish have noticeably increased. The area is also well-known for sightings of seahorses and weedy seadragons, as well as more elusive species like the warty prowfish and red velvetfish that can be found hiding among sponges and algae.

Marine Life On Maria Island - Season Guide

The types of marine life you can expect to see will depend on the season and the location around the island. Here's a general overview of what you might see in each season:

Spring (September - November):
During this time, the waters around Maria Island are teeming with life. You may see Humpback Whales on their migration to the warmer waters of the north. Schools of Kingfish, Trevally, and Salmon can be found along the rocky headlands, while seals and sea lions bask on the rocks and haul-out sites. In the sheltered bays, you can spot cuttlefish, octopus, and squid.

Summer (December - February):
Summer is the best time for snorkeling and diving, with warmer water temperatures and clear visibility. You can see colorful schools of fish such as Blue-Spotted Stingrays, Wobbegongs, and Port Jackson Sharks. Schools of Tuna, Mackerel, and Bonito can be found in the open waters, while seals and sea lions swim, play and mate.

Autumn (March - May):
Autumn is the best time for watching birds. During this time, thousands of birds, including shearwaters, terns, and gulls, flock to Maria Island in preparation for their migration to warmer climates. Schools of baitfish also start to aggregate along the island's coastline, attracting predatory species such as Southern Bluefin Tuna, and Marlin.

Winter (June - August):
Winter is the best time for whale watching. The Southern Right Whales can be seen in the sheltered bays and bights around Maria Island. You may also see the occasional Minke Whale, Humpback Whale, or Orca. Schools of Fish such as Sand Whiting, Gummy Sharks, and Silver Trevally can be found along the shoreline.

It's important to note that wildlife populations can be unpredictable and can vary from year to year based on a variety of factors such as weather patterns and ocean currents. Marine life sightings can also depend on the specific location and time of day. It's always a good idea to check with local authorities or tour operators for up-to-date information on what species are currently being seen in the area.

Maria Island Seasonal Weather Guide:

Maria Island is known for its diverse landscapes and weather conditions, which can change drastically from one season to the next. As such, it's important for visitors to be prepared for a range of conditions, including sun, rain, and wind, when exploring the island. This guide will provide you with an overview of what to expect weather-wise for each season, as well as tips on what to wear to stay comfortable and protected.

Spring (September - November)
During spring, temperatures on Maria Island are moderate and range from 10°C to 20°C. This season can be quite variable, with sunny days interspersed with rainy spells. Be sure to pack a waterproof jacket, as well as light layers that can be easily removed as temperatures warm up.

Summer (December - February)
Summer is the warmest time of year on Maria Island, with temperatures averaging between 20°C and 25°C. While it can be hot during the day, the weather can cool down in the evenings, so it's a good idea to bring along a light sweater or jacket. Pack plenty of sunscreen and a hat, as well as comfortable, breathable clothing, as you will likely spend a lot of time outdoors exploring the island.

Autumn (March - May)
Autumn on Maria Island is marked by cooler temperatures and changing leaves. Temperatures average between 10°C and 15°C, and it can be quite windy at times. Pack a waterproof jacket, warm layers, and a hat to protect yourself from the elements.

Winter (June - August)
Winter on Maria Island is cold, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 10°C. Snow and frost can occur on the island, particularly at higher elevations, so be sure to pack warm layers, a hat, and gloves. A waterproof jacket and sturdy footwear are also essential, as the trails can be slippery when wet.

Remember, it's always a good idea to check the weather forecast before heading out on your trip, and to pack extra clothing and gear as necessary. Whether you're exploring the stunning landscapes, wildlife-watching, or simply enjoying the peace and quiet of the island, being prepared for the weather will help ensure a safe and comfortable experience.