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Experiencing Maria’s Winter Wonderland with Jemma Haythorne

The sun sets earlier in winter, and on a sunny cloud-studded day 5pm is a stunning time to be out watching the sky transform into a kaleidoscope of pinks, oranges and yellows. The hundreds of wombats who live on Maria Island like dusk, too, and in the colder weather they are often happy to sit around and chomp on grass, not bothered by the occasional passer-by trying to snap that Instagram-worthy photo.

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Common Wombat with joey. Image: The Maria Island Walk

“Winter is my favourite time on the island,” says The Maria Island Walk sales and marketing manager, Jemma Haythorne. “The island is quieter and it feels like we are the only ones there, the wildlife is easier to spot, and the sunsets are especially beautiful.”

The Maria Island Walk began offering the three-day two-night Winter Escape in 2016 for those wanting to explore the island paradise out of the peak months. “Our four- day walk operates from October to April, but the Winter Escape is available from June to August and the itinerary is a little different,” Jemma says. “We stay at the historic Bernacchi House both nights, and the three walking days are focused around the north side of the island.”

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The historic Bernacchi House. Image: The Maria Island Walk

The walking distance guests can choose to tackle can range anywhere from 10 to 20 kilometres over the course of three days, and Jemma explains that it’s not so much the distance, but the terrain that determines how the group will track from day to day.

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“I like to say it’s a bit of a ‘Choose your own adventure’ in the sense that we cater to guests’ personal interests,” she says. “We will always visit Fossil Cliffs, Darlington and the Painted Cliffs, but then visitors can decide whether or not they want to climb a mountain, for example. We work around our guests.”

Maria Island in Winter
Maria Island in winter. Image: The Maria Island Walk

Evenings generally run the same course... for good reason. “We prepare a beautiful three-course dinner consisting of Tasmanian produce that guests enjoy by candlelight. And, of course, we serve Tasmanian wine,” Jemma says. “Everyone loves to hang out by the roaring fire. Winter really is a very special time to be on the island.”

Maria Island Winter Escape

The ‘Maria Island Winter Escape’ is a three day lodge based experience which explores the beautiful and historic northern end of the island featuring abundant marsupials.

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