Maria Island Circuit

2 days to 4 days


33.9 km
circuit

↑ 607 m
↓ -605 m

Hard track
Starting from the Darlington Jetty near the Darlington Probation Station, Maria Island National Park, this walk takes you on a circuit around Maria Island. Experience stunning coastal views, picturesque bays, dramatic cliffs and historic ruins on an extensive hike around Maria Island, a natural wildlife sanctuary. The first section follows the coastline, passing the Painted Cliffs and Four Mile Beach before reaching French's Farm, a good base for exploring Point Lesueur, Encampment Cove and McRae's Isthmus. The next section heads inland back towards Darlington, with a side-trip to the summit of Mount Maria, the highest point on the island. The final section follows a creek past the Reservoir, then climbs steeply to the Bishop and Clerk pinnacles before looping back past the Fossil Cliffs. This circuit is best experienced on a bike or as a multi-day walk. The island has several free campgrounds and basic bunk accommodation is also available. The tracks are accessible and well-defined, consisting mainly of gravel roads. The only steep sections are along the Bishop and Clerk/Mount Maria tracks, which involve some rock scrambling. There are no cars on Maria Island and it's only accessible by ferry, but visitors can bring a bike or rent one. Let us begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.
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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
After getting off the Darlington Jetty, head towards the "Maria Island National Park" sign along the dirt path. Turn right at the 3-way intersection and follow the wide dirt path as you keep the ocean to your right to continue along Maria Island Circuit (counterclockwise).....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 255 m veer right.
After another 95 m cross the bridge (about 20 m long)
After another 25 m continue straight.
After another 180 m pass the "Rangers Office" (9 m on your right).
Continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
After another 40 m continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
After another 440 m (at the intersection of Coast Road & Oast House Circuit) continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
After another 800 m continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
After another 235 m continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
After another 190 m pass a seat (35 m on your left).
After another 25 m pass the "Howell's Cottage" (35 m on your left).
Continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. A little side trip to the Painted Cliffs. To start this optional side trip veer right here. On returning from this side trip veer left when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 220 m (at the intersection of Coast Road & Painted Cliffs track) continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
After another 3.7 km continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
After another 335 m cross the bridge (about 15 m long)
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This optional side trip takes you to Return Point and back. To start this optional side trip turn right here. On returning from this side trip turn sharp left when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 1.1 km (at the intersection of Coast Road & Return Point Track) veer left, to head along Coast Road.
After another 1.9 km continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This little side trip takes you to the Frenchs Farm campsite. To start this optional side trip turn left here. On returning from this side trip continue straight when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 1.3 km turn right.
After another 980 m continue straight.
After another 930 m turn right.
After another 90 m pass the "Emergency shelter" (50 m on your left).
Then pass the "Rainwater tank" (50 m on your left).
Then pass the "Pit toilet" (15 m on your right).
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This side trip takes you to an opening where you can then make your way to the westernmost point on Maria Island - Point Lesueur. To start this optional side trip continue straight here. On returning from this side trip error >360 when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 1.1 km turn right, to head along Convict Cells track.
After another 1.4 km turn left.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This little side trip takes you to the Frenchs Farm campsite. To start this optional side trip continue straight here. On returning from this side trip turn right when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 980 m turn left, to head along Coast Road.
After another 1.3 km turn sharp right.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This optional side trip takes you to the summit of Mount Maria. Two hours of walking time out and back. To start this optional side trip turn right here. On returning from this side trip veer right when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 6.3 km veer left.
After another 2.1 km turn right, to head along Oast House Circuit.
After another 480 m pass a seat (9 m on your right).
After another 870 m (at the intersection of Coast Road & Oast House Circuit) turn right, to head along Coast Road (a vehicle track).
After another 440 m continue straight, to head along Coast Road.
After another 40 m veer right, to head along Coast Road.
After another 55 m continue straight.
After another 115 m pass the "Penitentiary" (7 m on your left).
After another 710 m continue straight, to head along Reservoir Track.
After another 40 m continue straight, to head along Reservoir Track.
After another 1.2 km cross the bridge (about 15 m long)
After another 35 m come to the "Reservoir" (6 m on your right).
After another 630 m continue straight, to head along Reservoir Track.
After another 590 m turn right.
After another 25 m continue straight.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. An optional side trip taking you to the summit of Bishop and Clerk. Will take around 2 hours of walking time out & back. To start this optional side trip turn right here. On returning from this side trip continue straight when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 580 m turn left.
After another 195 m pass a seat (10 m on your left).
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. A tiny side trip taking you to the Fossil Cliffs. To start this optional side trip turn right here. On returning from this side trip turn right when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 325 m continue straight.
After another 1.2 km pass the cemetery (20 m on your right).
After another 380 m come to a toilet.
The end.

A tiny side trip taking you to the Fossil Cliffs.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 15 m head up the earthen steps (about 20 m long)
About 50 m past the end is "Fossil Cliffs - Maria Island".
Fossil Cliffs - Maria Island
Fossil Cliffs - Maria Island

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The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 50 m to the main route.

An optional side trip taking you to the summit of Bishop and Clerk. Will take around 2 hours of walking time out & back.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After 3.8 km pass the "Bishop and Clerk" (80 m on your left).
After another 90 m come to "Bishop and Clerk".
The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 3.9 km to the main route.

This optional side trip takes you to the summit of Mount Maria. Two hours of walking time out and back.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start heading along Mount Maria Track.
After another 4 km come to "Mount Maria".
Continue another 0 m to find Mount Maria at the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 4 km to the main route.

A little side trip to the Painted Cliffs.
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Painted Cliffs track & Coast Road Start heading along Painted Cliffs track (a walking track).
After another 55 m come to the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 55 m to the main route.

This optional side trip takes you to Return Point and back.
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Return Point Track & Coast Road Start heading along Return Point Track (a vehicle track).
After another 560 m come to the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 560 m to the main route.

This side trip takes you to an opening where you can then make your way to the westernmost point on Maria Island - Point Lesueur.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start heading along Convict Cells track.
After another 670 m come to the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 670 m to the main route.

This little side trip takes you to the Frenchs Farm campsite.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 100 m come to "Drinking water (untreated)".
About 30 m past the end is "French's Farm".
The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 100 m to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Maria Island Circuit


Grading
Class 4/6
Hard track
Length 33.9 km
Time 2 days to 4 days
Quality of track Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Signage Clearly signposted (1/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Weather Foretasted & unexpected storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)

Some facilities on route
Hostel: There is one 28 km from the start.

Shelter: There are 3 on route, on average they are 8.5 km apart with the largest gap of 21.1 km.

Toilet: There are 2 on route, on average they are 11.3 km apart with the largest gap of 21.1 km.

Seat: There are 3 on route, on average they are 8.5 km apart with the largest gap of 24.2 km.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Seat
2.2 km[seat]
Shelter
2.2 kmHowell's Cottage
Shelter
10.8 km + 110 mFrench's Farm
Toilet
12.8 kmPit toilet
Shelter
12.8 kmEmergency shelter
Seat
26.4 km[seat]
Hostel
28 kmPenitentiary
Seat
32 km[seat]
Toilet
33.9 km[toilet]
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