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Orford  Tasmania

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Many of Melbourne’s most stately and famous buildings were crafted from sandstone cut from Orford’s quarries at Shelley Heights. Sandstone blocks cut from the quarry were rolled down on to ships waiting at a jetty at the foot of the cliff face.

Today Orford is a popular seaside fishing resort and holiday town at the head of Prosser Bay, about an hour’s drive east from Hobart. The views over the Tasman Sea from The Thumbs Lookout are dominated by Maria Island, a national park which lies 20km offshore.

The ferry from nearby Eastcoaster Resort takes you to Maria, a very special island which has something for everyone - historic ruins, sweeping bays, rugged cliffs and mountains and a remarkably tame wildlife. Explorer-discoverer Abel Tasman named the island in honour of Maria Van Diemen, wife of the Governor of Batavia.

To forestall any attempt by the French to establish a toehold in the New World, the English established a settlement on Maria in 1823, seven years before the founding of the Port Arthur penal colony. A dedicated national park, modern Maria is an island with no cars, no shops and no worries.

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