Tasmania's east coast, from Maria Island to Freycinet

Fossil Bay on Maria Island.

Fossil Bay on Maria Island.

It's the ultimate nature-versus-nurture escape in the deep south - two nights at the mini-Noah's Ark of Maria Island and as many more as you desire (and can afford) at Tasmania's luxurious Saffire resort

In winter the highly regarded Maria Island Walk offers short, two-night itineraries for up to eight walkers based at heritage-listed Bernacchi House in the historic settlement of Darlington. Guests head out on guided day treks through the island's stunning landscapes, from deserted beaches to UNESCO-listed convict ruins and the 290-million-year-old Fossil Cliffs. En route there's constant communion between humans and colourful Cape Barren geese, wallabies, wombats and the abundant birdlife. Walk guides are on hand to interpret every aspect of this island national park, and to conjure impressive meals to fuel the day's explorations.

From Maria, it's a brisk charter flight by plane or chopper - or a boat ride and chauffeured drive, depending how you roll - to Saffire, the exceptional lodge on the Freycinet Peninsula. The food, service and 20 guestrooms are first-class, but it's the powerful sense of place that often leaves the most lasting impression - suites are positioned above peppermint gums with views of Great Oyster Bay and the pink granite presence of The Hazards peaks.

Hypnotic views aside, Saffire's suite of experiences includes an excellent spa, refined dining by new executive chef Todd Adams, elaborate Champagne picnics on Hazards Beach and bracing hikes to Wineglass Bay and Friendly Beaches. Winter might not seem the ideal season to don waders and walk into the sea for Saffire's signature marine-farm experience but, then again, these might just be the best oysters you've ever eaten.

The Maria Island Winter Escapes walk, $1,390 per person, mariaislandwalk.com.au; rooms at Saffire from $2,100 per couple, saffire-freycinet.com.au


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