Friday, 15 August 2008

Tazmazia near Sheffield, Tasmania, Australia

Getting lost on holiday
For many of us, getting lost whilst on holiday is a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Even from a young age, we are programmed to shudder at the thought of dad driving faster, refusing to ask for directions, whilst 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.

World’s largest maze?
For these people, the predictably-named Tasmazia, near Sheffield in the north of Tasmania, Australia, is the stuff of dreams. It purports to be have the world’s largest maze, plus six others with varying themes.
The polite phrase for it would be ‘eccentric’, and the impolite one ‘mad as snakes’. It is 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 that have longed so much for their own little world, that they have simply created one themselves.

Inspired by Hampton Court Palace
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, whilst there is a memorial to the inventor of the toilet at the end of the utterly infuriating Cage maze.
But it goes well beyond the painstakingly sculpted hedgerows and walls. The Crackpots have also created themselves a village. Admittedly, even Hobbits, Munchkins and Oompah-Loompahs would struggle to fit into it, but the 20% scale models are frighteningly detailed.

From churches to banks
Not prepared to settle for just a couple of identikit houses, they have created churches, pubs, radio stations and banks, plus the cheap gag of a ‘GST house’ – one tenth is missing.
There is 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.

For all the family
While ostensibly aimed at children, who will always attack a maze with obdurate gusto, it is probably adults who will get more out of it. The level of effort and intricacy put in is genuinely applaudable, 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 are.

Getting to Tazmazia
Tasmazia is in the Cradle Mountain and Lakes District, by Lake Barrington and a short drive South West of Sheffield.

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