Maria island is a must do gravel ride if you are in Tasmania. It is a fantasy island of fun riding, big views and history. And there are no cars on the island!
The route includes both easy riding roads that bring out bike-renting tourists and more challenging tracks that include a forested single track section, two steep grassy climbs along the coast, and the Inland Trek that requires a little sense of humor.
Now if you get out a map and think you are headed to the south part of the island, across the skinny isthmus dirt road, we hope you brought a fat bike or you don’t mind pushing your bike for a good long distance. We didn’t make it across; after a half mile of pretending it was a good idea, we cried “uncle” and turned around.
We also briefly thought we were headed up Mt Maria, which is a trekking route that doesn’t allow bikes. Honestly, the Inland Trek was ample abuse so the “no bikes” sign wasn’t much of a disappointment. Read More
A quick (30 minute) and scenic ferry ride takes you out to a Maira Island. The route starts from the pier on Maria Island and has you follow the coast line with a few immediate steep, short hills. One pitch is in excess of 15%. It is almost easier to walk this short section than ride it. The views of Fossil Bay are stunning! Then you continue on to the Reservoir Circuit which includes crossing a small bridge and coming down on an “almost single track” road.
This brings you to Darlington where you’ll find nearly everyone renting bikes. Shortly thereafter you turn left onto the Inland trek which starts out pretty rocky. You’ll climb up through an amazing eucalyptus forest, winding your way up and down. You’ll see the trekking trail up to Mt Maria. The road will smooth out and then start to get sandy. (Do you remember our warning about the sense of humor? It’s not long so smile.)
Just when you begin to tire of this endeavor, the route intersects the main road, manicured gravel. Head south towards Encampment Cove and make the turn toward the prisoner cells. A primitive gravel / grassy road. The route takes you out to a peninsula with outrageous views.
Double back and continue past the prisoner cells and to Encampment Cove. From here you ride the manicured gravel Coast road. It really doesn’t get any better than this. Take the time to stop and enjoy the beauty. We recoomend Four Mile Beach and the Painted Cliffs.
A few more notes:
- The name of the island is pronounced like Mariah Carey, not like Maria Sharapova.
- Ride the route in the direction we have documented, clockwise. It will ride easier and the views are more spectacular. The route is a series of 3 loops connected by legs and there is one out and back dogleg. Not, our typical route topography, but it works really well in this case.
- Read up on the history of Maria Island before you go. The scattered buildings will seem much more impressive!
- The ferry was super fun and very accommodating, but check pricing to make sure you are ok with spending the extra money.
- Lastly, there are zero opportunities to buy food or water on the island.
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loops with Legs : 22 miles (35 Km) / 1900 ft gain (560 meters)
– Gravel: ~ 100 % with a short section of wide single track
– Location: ~ Hobart, Tasmania
– Rideable: All year
– Route Author: Captain “O”
– Published: January 2019
Moderate. Due to several short steep pitches in excess of 15%, some sand, and some fister / baby head terrain.
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Blue = single-track
Brown = gravel / dirt road