December 10, 2013
Tasmania’s Maria Island is a beautiful place packed with history – not all of it pleasant. Besides boasting the dramatic Fossil Cliffs and beautiful Painted Cliffs around its coastline, abundant wildlife, snorkelling and scuba diving, and beautiful walks, the island also offers a glimpse into Tasmania’s convict past.
In a move that will prove either terribly exciting or serve as a stern warning of what happens to naughty children, you can book a night for the family in Maria Island’s Darlington penitentiary. The (very basic) lodgings date back to the 1830s and offer visitors the chance to live how the prisoners did: in other words, pretty rough. Each room has bunk beds with covered mattresses, a wood-fired stove for heating and a table and seats. There is no power, running water or lighting – it’s basically camping, but under a roof. Luxurious? No. Adventurous? Yes. Different? Absolutely.
The penitentiary has nine rooms with six beds, and one with 14, or you can camp. Rates start from $44 per room (two people; $10 per additional adult) or $50 per family (two adults and three children). 03 6256 4772 see tasmaniaseastcoast.com.au and parks.tas.gov.au for more information.
Maria Island, Tas
Where // ACT, Australia
This article appeared in Issue 54 of Australian Traveller.
The December 2013/January 2014: The Readers' Choice Awards Issue 2013 Readers' Choice Awards winners announced: Australia's 20 best destinations and experiences