9. Get Lost on Maria Island
Shaped like a figure eight, this outcrop three miles off the east coast has only a handful of year-round inhabitants—the few park rangers who manage the ghost town of Darlington—but lures a busy summer population of energetic nature-lovers. A passenger ferry from the town of Triabunna, two hours north of Hobart, brings day-trippers to hike through forests of Tasmanian blue gums, cycle the bush trails (cars are banned on the island, and bikes are available for hire) and visit evocative ruins. Wildlife thrives on Maria (pronounced Ma-rye-a), which is entirely protected as a national park: 11 of Tasmania’s 12 endemic bird species can be found, including the rare forty-spotted pardalote, as well as wombats, kangaroos and wallabies. Overnight visitors can stay on bunk beds in the island’s old convict prison (provided you bring your own food, bedding and lighting). A more luxurious option is to take the guided Maria Island Walk, which covers 22 miles from coastal plains to cloud rainforests. Hikers spend the first two nights in elegant timber camps, and the third in the restored homestead of Italian pioneer Diego Bernacchi, all the while being plied with gourmet Tasmanian food and wine.