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Sunday, June 06, 2004

Maria Island - Day 2

When I woke this morning, I found that the possum had not gotten into my food. I also found that my tent was covered in a thick layer of ice, as it was very cold last night, so that the entry flap opened like a door, as it was so stiff. I put on plenty of clothes, as it was still very cold, even at 8:30am.

I decided to go for a walk to the painted cliffs, and set off south toward them. I bypassed Darlingon township, and walked up a small hill to Mrs Hunt's Cottage, then down the other side to hopground beach. It was still quite cold despite the clear skies. After walking along the short Hopground Beach, I came to the Painted Cliffs. These are named so for the spectacular colours stained into the sandstone rock. The cliffs are not very tall, but drop straight into the sea. To see them I had to clamber over the rocky coastline and around rockpools. I sat at the cliffs for a while soaking in the warmth the sun was now providing.

Upon making my way back to Hopground Beach, I discovered that the tide had come in quite a bit in the time I'd been at the Painted Cliffs, and it was now very difficult to get back without getting very wet. Back on Hopground beach, I headed inland, and came to Howell's Cottage which was unusual in that you could go inside. Its interior walls were plastered with old newspaper, and much of it was still readable. I saw one page which was dated 17 April 1921.
Heading further inland, I passed the Oast House (a Hops kiln), then made my way back toward Darlington township. The township is a collection of restored historic buildings from the convict era, and is fairly interesting.
I decided to catch the early ferry back to the mainland, as I'd seen everything I wanted to see, and so packed my gear and headed to the jetty. The water is amazingly clear at Maria Island, and you can easily see details on the bottom in more than 5m of water.

Once the ferry returned to Triabunna (I was the only passenger), I drove north to Swansea where I had some lunch. There were good coastal views along the way. Leaving Swansea, I drove back to Launceston, and checked into the Launceston Backpackers. Before dinner I washed some of the dirt off the car, so I would not have to explain about taking on unsealed roads.

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