A Detours & Diversions piece on the incredible mazes in Promised Land, Tasmania, at Lower Crackpot.

Prepare to be Tasmazed
Mazes in Promised Land, northern Tasmania

For many of us, getting lost while on holiday is a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Even from an early age, we’re programmed to shudder at the thought of Dad driving faster, refusing to ask for directions, while Mum makes pitiful attempts to read a map. However, there are clearly some out there who get a big kick out of wandering around aimlessly, barking up dead ends in a bid to find something.

For these people the predictably named Tasmazia, near Sheffield in northern Tassie, is the stuff of dreams. It purports to have the world’s largest maze, plus six others with varying themes.

The polite word for it would be “eccentric”, and the impolite one “ridiculous.” It’s the brainchild of a lavender farmer who, perhaps quite accurately, prefers to go under the name of Laird Crackpot of Lower Crackpot.

Brian Inder (as he was known to his mum) and his wife Laura are the sort of people who have longed so much for their own little world that they’ve simply up and created one. The inspiration has clearly come from far and wide: one of the mazes is an exact replica of the famous one at Hampton Court Palace in England; another has a Wizard Of Oz theme; while there’s a memorial to the inventor of the toilet at the end of the utterly infuriating Cage maze.

But the place goes well beyond the painstakingly sculpted hedgerows and walls. The Crackpots have also created themselves a village. Admittedly, even Hobbits, Munchkins and Oompa Loompas would struggle to fit into it, but the 20 percent scale models are frighteningly detailed. Not prepared to settle for just a couple of identikit houses, they’ve created churches, pubs, radio stations and banks, plus the cheap gag of a “GST house” . . . with one tenth missing.

There’s also a decidedly seedy side to Lower Crackpot. The more adult end of town has less-than-salubrious joints such as Wild Jo’s Disco and the Dirty Shame. The less said about what the Little Lilliputian types are getting up to in there, the better.

While ostensibly aimed at children, who will always attack a maze with obdurate gusto, it’s probably the adults who’ll get more out of it. The level of effort and intricacy put in is quite laudable, even if you’d never dream of going to such lengths yourself. And the clever little touches make it far preferable to arguing over whether you should be reading a map upside down or stopping a passer-by to ask where the hell you’ve ended up.

Tasmazia ([03] 6491 1934 or http://www.tasmazia.com.au/) is in the Cradle Mountain and Lakes District, by Lake Barrington and a short drive southwest of Sheffield. Entrance is $8 for kids and $15 for the bigger kids.

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