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.

You’ll need to secure a passage across before booking your stay, via Maria Island Ferry or East Coast Cruises.

Australian Traveller issue 54

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