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Smithton's Dismal Swamp

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tasmania may be Australia's smallest state but its rugged landscape is packed with unique flora and fauna. It has windswept mountains, rainforests, dry eucalypt forests and sunny, sandy beaches. It is also a cornucopia of wonderful produce including world-class seafood and wines.

The northwest of Tasmania is a rugged natural wonder and home to Dismal Swamp, the only known blackwood forest in the world. Its name is believed to have come from the experience early surveyors endured in 1828.

Early last century its timber was used for making kegs and more recently was on a logging, clearing and draining list. Locals realised its importance and fought to preserve its destruction. In 1976 they had success.

Forest Tasmania has developed the area into an eco-tourism adventure which provides jobs, recreation and a great sense of local pride.

Its sink hole was created over time with the dolomite slab dissolving in the wet area. Four boardwalks on the swamp floor enable easy access to swamp life while keeping your feet dry.

Visitors are able to stroll down the 40m to the floor, take a gentle buggy ride or take a 110m slide to discover the delights of swamp fertility. Two kilometres of meandering pathways lead to a maze. Decaying logs provide a nursery for baby blackwood trees and tiny burrowing crayfish are evident in their important role in the survival of the area.

Forest Tasmania enlisted the state's top designers who have created magical and moving artwork to enhance the power of the environment. They needed to take into consideration high rainfall and low light in their creations. Local artist Roz Langford used tree knolls to create tree spirits representing her Aboriginal ancestry. Moss and railings that make sawing sounds when touched give a very spiritual feeling to the walk.

The modern visitors' centre is perched on the sinkhole rim and blends with the forest. There you can enjoy excellent food and wine while overlooking the forest.


87km from Burnie in Tasmania's northwest.


Dismal Swamp entry is $20 for adults, $10 for children or $45 for a family. It is open every day between 9am-5pm between November and March and 9am-4pm all other months.

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

Dismal Swamp
Box 64 Post Office
Smithton 7330
Ph: (03) 6456 7199

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