Triabunna - Gateway to Maria Island

 triabunna - cups woodchip mill  

It seems heading to Triabunna was a good idea, in more ways than one. Our arrival was sweet and calm; we launched the dinghy and checked on-line for more information about this rural seacoast town. We figured this might be a good opportunity to get a bit more gasoline for the dinghy, do a little exploring, get a few groceries, have a chance to do some laundry and generally catch up on chores. Short delays like this are usually time well spent.

By sundown, the winds had increased to consistent 30 knots from the NW and our calm little anchorage was no longer calm. By the time we headed to bed a few hours later, the winds had backed to the west and were gusting in the high 40's. We hung tight. A sleepless night ensued. We took turns checking our position and making sure all was well. The wind howled and shrieked and rattled the rigging. It left us unsettled and wondering, as always, if there could be any more wind left ... but there always is. Sometime around 0500, the winds subsided and the rain began. We slept soundly for a few hours in the renewed calm. More of the same was forecast, but luckily no winds were as bad as the first night.

The winds remained fresh and I washed and hung out the laundry despite the frequent showers. I figured any rain would end up being another “rinse cycle” and everything would eventually dry which it did.

Just after noon, with a respite in the wind, we headed up the narrow channel into town. Triabunna is a scenic little port town and considered the largest township (not city) on Tasmania's east coast. The town's name is an Aboriginal word for native hen. A little trivia here...though we've seen lots of native Tasmanian hens scurrying about in our island travels, we did not see any in Triabunna.


triabunna_fishing boats and dinghy


Founded in the 1820's as a whaling station and supply depot/garrison post for the Maria Island penal colony, Triabunna is said to be Australia’s first rural municipality. We tied up the dinghy midst the crayfish boats and headed to the Tourist Info Center, just behind the marina. We got our orientation of the town and found out where all the important stuff was...gas station, grocery, old buildings, tourist stuff. We picked up our usual allotment of brochures and info pamphlets.


triabunna_triabunna house


The town may be small (population: ~800), but it certainly is friendly. We lugged our gasoline and four 8 gallon diesel jugs to the gas station about ½ mile away. The owner called his daughter who arrived with a truck a few minutes later to give David and the full jugs a ride back to the marina. At the IGA, we were allowed to borrow a shopping cart to get our groceries back to the dock. Much easier for sure than lugging everything in bags and backpacks.


triabunna_australasian grebes


The coastal reserve Pelican Walk starts just beyond the marina and we took the short walk along Vicary's Inlet. We spotted black swans, herons, pied oystercatchers and Australasian grebes, but no pelicans.


triabunna - spring bay hotel


We passed several historic buildings on our walk around town, including the Spring Bay Hotel (1838) and the Triabunna House (c.1840), that attest to the colonial roots of the town. There's a hardware store, a butcher and a pharmacy, a cafe or two and a takeaway place. Interestingly enough, there's also a Christmas shop which I can't believe does much business, but it was certainly crammed full of all things Christmas.


triabunna_houses for sale


We think Triabunna has probably seen better days. It bills itself as “the Gateway to Maria Island”. The Maria Island Ferry docks here and that accounts for the tourists in town. Otherwise, we'd be hard pressed to figure out why people would visit. It's a friendly place, small and quaint, but there's not much here and most of the historic buildings are regretfully, a bit worse for the wear.


Days and Ways to Celebrate

A daily list of mostly obscure holidays and fun ways to celebrate them.

Opposite Day

Here's an opposite game to play with your preschooler.