The Hunt for a Devil

On Day 18 I took my bike on the ferry to Maria Island with the hope of seeing a Tasmanian Devil, which are listed as endangered. They’re nocturnal, so I set up camp by the old convict settlement and set off after dark on a long walk through the forest at night.

Eerie convict ruins glowed in the moonlight through the trees, and many wallabies and pademelons darted away at my approach, but no devils. As I neared camp again I heard the loud screeching and growling of devils squabbling in a gully. I got within about 30m of them, but couldn’t see them through the dark undergrowth.

Later, back at camp, I learnt that a devil had come right up to the camp cooking shelter! I stayed up for a while hoping it would reappear, but no such luck. It seems I’d missed my chance to see one.

The next morning I packed my bags and loaded my bike. While waiting for the ferry I trekked up to an old stone barn on the hillside. After poking around inside and stepping over the wombat sleeping in the doorway, I saw a flash of black and white. A devil! It trotted around the corner from its hiding spot, loitered beside the barn and then loped across the field to its den. Apparently it’s very unusual to see them during the day. I left the island satisfied.