It’s hard to pick a favourite part of Tasmania. However if someone told me that I had to make a decision, lest I be strapped to a chair and forced to watch Neighbours for the rest of eternity (yes, this is my version of hell), I’d probably pick the north-west.
How could I not, when it’s home to natural splendours like Mount Roland and Cradle Mountain, towns as beautiful as Sheffield and delightfully named areas like “Nowhere Else” and the “Promised Land”? In fact, if you drive through the Promised Land, you’ll end up in the tiniest town in Tasmania: Lower Crackpot.
Yet, Lower Crackpot is not the kind of place you can just waltz into. No, to enter you need to be armed with great wit and courage, be mentally prepared to battle dragons and solve riddles delivered by a gigantic Sphinx – actually, I may be getting real life mixed up with the Potterverse again. It’s not the first time – it won’t be the last.
Regardless, Tasmazia is well worth a visit with the whole family… or even for big kids sailing solo like myself.
The Largest Maze in the Southern Hemisphere
At its time of planting, Tasmazia was to be the largest maze in the world (now the Dole Plantation’s Pineapple Garden Maze in Hawaii wears that crown). It remains the largest maze complex across the globe, so that’s something at least.
I first visited
a million six years ago (it seems longer) with a Tasmanian ex, who lured me there with the promise of decent pancakes in the adjoining cafe. I believe his exact words were “the best damn pancakes you’ll ever eat in your life”. He wasn’t wrong. (Six years on, the cafeteria now features a self-styled menu – no more pancakes but lots of other delicious meals are on offer).
I enjoyed the maze a lot, but hadn’t planned on making a return trip to visit the last time I was in Australia’s southern state. However, I was in the area, I had plenty of time to kill before I had hoped to be at Launceston and… well, I was hungry.
I figured I’d head to the maze, grab some grub and then drive on from there, fed and rested. Yet when I got there (at 9.30 in the morning) the cafe was still half an hour away from opening.
I could sit around in the cold of the early morning waiting for it to do so… or I could re-enter the maze.
“Urgh, fine,” I said and paid the $25 entry fee, after having a lengthy chat with the lady in the gift store. Tasmanians are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, in case you were wondering.
And I’m so glad I did go in. Being there that early on a Friday morning meant I had the entire maze to myself for an hour – yep that’s right, no screaming children to be heard or seen anywhere.
This meant I could wander around to my heart’s content, snapping photos and as it turned out, fitting in a spot of bird-watching. I sighted my first two Green Rosellas, which are endemic to Tasmania. There are six species of rosella and I have now seen half of them in the wild, hooray!
Navigating the Maze
It’s a wee little bit of a journey to get to the township, as you stumble your way around the Great Maze. There are signs littered here, there and everywhere, featuring a high level of corn that possibly wouldn’t work in any other setting.
In all, there are eight mazes in Tasmazia – along with the Great Maze there’s a replica of the Hampton Court Maze in the UK, Hexagonal Maze, Confusion Maze, the Yellow Brick Road Maze (built for kids), the Balance Maze, the Cage (which leads you to a monument for the famous British plumber Thomas Crapper) and the Irish Maze.
Within the maze complex there are three attractions besides Lower Crackpot – along with the Embassy Gradens which we’ll get to in a sec, there is Cubby Town where you can let your children run wild and the Correctional Centre, where you can lock them up while you yourself go have a calming cup of tea.
In summary, there’s plenty to see and do, which will easily keep you entertained for hours.
Inside Lower Crackpot
And here we enter the Village of Lower Crackpot! The town is a replica of any other village, built 1/5th to scale. Many of the buildings pay homage to Aussie history and culture.
And there’s even more to be seen along the aforementioned Yellow Brick Road, which leads to the Village Green.
The New Embassy Gardens
When I visited the Maze all those years ago, Lower Crackpot marked the end of the road. Yet, there is a whole new addition now – in the form of the Embassy Gardens.
And with your time in the maze completed, you can go get some delicious food, or buy a couple of postcards to mail from Lower Crackpot!
Getting to Tasmazia
Like most of the attractions in Australia, you’ll need a car to reach Tasmazia.
The maze complex is around a 40 minute drive from the town of Devonport and 1.5 from Launceston. Give yourself plenty of time to get there – the surrounding area is so beautiful, you might find yourself stopping a lot along the way to breathe it all in.
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