The name Dismal Swamp might not have you running to book your holiday to Tasmania – but it should!
Contrary to its title, Dismal Swamp is anything but, well, dismal. It's an incredibly fascinating, little-known attraction of Tas, but if more people knew about it, it'd be sure to draw the crowds. We'll let you in on this hidden gem, so you can visit and experience something truly unique. Here's why you just can't go past Dismal Swamp.
What is it?
This fantastic location is the only blackwood sinkhole on Earth, making it a once-in-a-lifetime kind of attraction. Visit and you'll get a glimpse into a world like no other. Caves, springs, streams and dense forest are just some of the sights you will come across on your adventure here.
The sinkhole spans 600 hectares, and is known as the 'elder' of a group of sinkholes in the area. Due to the unique geology and geography of the sinkhole, it's home to a hugely fascinating ecosystem.
The blackwood trees are a type of wattle and are fascinating in themselves. They rarely flourish anywhere in the way they do at Dismal Swamp, so it's a great place to see them. Some of them are even up to 50 metres tall! Their timber is also particularly valuable, a favourite of craft-makers, carpenters and other woodworkers. While you will see the trees intact in the forest, you can also see the high-quality design effect they produce in the visitor centre, with its impressive curved blackwood wall.
Getting there and getting amongst
The visitor centre can be found on the edge of the sinkhole rim, which is located in Tasmania's West. Head to 26059 Bass Highway, Togari, approximately two hours' drive from Devonport, or a 45 minute drive from Stanley. Once you arrive, things start to get pretty exciting.
Explore the visitor centre, including its cantilever that suspends over the forest canopy for some pretty insane views! Then prepare to discover a whole new wonderful natural world. And the best part? You have the option of getting to the heart of the swamp with a thrilling slide ride. That's right, from here you can whiz down a 110 metre slide to the floor of the swamp! This is such a fun and unique way of getting to see this natural feature, however if you have certain health conditions or are pregnant, or perhaps not a fan of such an adrenalin-pumping activities, not to worry. You can also get to the floor of the swamp with a nice walk, or on a motorised buggy.
Once at the base of the swamp, you can explore its incredible ecosystem with four pathways that wind throughout. You might spot some amazing animals such as pademelons, ringtail possums, spotted-tail quolls, pink-breasted robins and even some burrowing crayfish. Take in the magnificence of the blackwood trees, and soak in the sounds of this thriving environment, something that's truly rare to behold.
So here's what you need to know. To ride the slide, you need to be at least eight years of age and 90 cm tall, and you will need to make sure none of the health exclusions apply to you. Otherwise, it's all smooth sailing! Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for those 12 and under, and kids seven and under get to explore this wonderful sight for free. It's open for most the year, except when weather conditions are hazardous. Check the opening hours before you go.
Head to Dismal Swamp for an experience that's likely to be just the opposite of what it sounds!