The historic showpiece of a marquee walk has a fresh new look. Did you know San Diego used to be on Tasmania's Maria Island? Yep. Wind the clock back to 1888, when Italian entrepreneur Diego Bernacchi leased the entire island for 10 cents a year and enthusiastically launched a string of industries spanning everything from viticulture to cement and silk. Back then, Diego was The Man and Maria was a thriving little settlement shrugging off its convict past. Nowadays San (Saint) Diego has resumed its original name, Darlington, and I'm spending a night in the weatherboard house that was once Bernacchi's home. Within an hour of arrival I'm relaxing in the lounge - possibly just as he did - with a glass of Tasmanian pinot noir and a grazing platter of cheeses and plump grapes. A night here is the grand finale of the four-day guided Maria Island Walk (it's the only way you can stay here), which leads hikers 42 kilometres along the entire length of the island. From pink granite headlands to forests, pristine beaches, wetlands and the wombat haven of Darlington. We've soaked up far more of this national park than most get to enjoy. After camping (okay, glamping) for two nights, Bernacchi House feels outright luxurious and it recently got a whole lot cosier thanks to a substantial upgrade involving creations from a host of Tasmanian designers and artisans. Improvements draw inspiration from the island itself. A fresh lick of paint brings warm ochre and bottle green to the interiors - a nod to the island's Painted Cliffs and eucalyptus forests - and just try resisting a fondle of the handcrafted sandstone coffee tables. My favourite is the springy cream wool carpet, which feels like a gentle massage on tired feet. Modern comforts aside, Bernacchi House (built 1890) retains all its period charm. Ceilings are high, the floorboards still slope endearingly and dinner is served in a formal dining room lit by candelabras. Our final supper is a feast of asparagus salad, trevally with salsa verde and roasted vegetables, and lemon tart. Afterwards, as dusk falls, we go on the prowl for wombats, Cape Barren geese, wallabies and roos. There are plenty. Bed time is best time when you're a hiker and my bed floats, crafted from buttery smooth Tasmanian timber and dressed in vintage linen doona cover and pillows so divine I hunt down a set for myself the day I return home. Now I'll always have a little reminder of Maria Island and that time I slept in the house of San Diego. Laura Waters was a guest of Maria Island Walk.