Go Wild in Tassie’s South-West

Exploring the edge of the world in Tasmania

There’s something life-affirming about being at the end of the line, especially in Tassie where the end of the road almost means the end of the world. It’s a thrill that is often hard to find in this digital age. But when you can be at the edge of the world surrounded by World Heritage wilderness with a cold beer and Tassie wine and good food, it feels even more life-affirming. It’s like having a bet each way. Now you don’t have to choose between nature or the spoils of civilisation. Turns out you CAN have both.

It’s a sentiment Pedder Wilderness Lodge has tapped into as we discovered on our recent visit. Once the staff quarters for the controversial Gordon Dam, in recent years it has renovated and re-badged as an outdoors lodge. It has converted the former mess hall into a lounge, bar and restaurant area and has refurbished the workers’ rooms to offer various levels of accommodation ranging from dorms, lakeside rooms and family-friendly cabins.

The clubby lounge is inviting with views of Lake Pedder and distant mountains that look cut and pasted from New Zealand’s South Island. There’s an extensive outdoor garden with barbecues and choice fishing spots. Sitting outside, drink in hand, taking in the lake’s ever-changing light and moods is reason enough to come to Lake Pedder.

Nature lovers, kayakers, fishos, photographers and outdoor adventurers come here, as do general tourers to view the Gordon Dam, a fifteen minute drive from the lodge. This contentious project was completed in 1972 for Tasmania’s hydro-electric scheme and created Tasmania’s second largest lake. The fallout was enormous, sparking the world’s first political party which was dedicated to the environmental only.

Today, despite its chequered history, the dam is a magnificent engineering sight. It is several metres higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge and holds back thirty times the amount of water as Sydney Harbour and it’s possible to walk across the dam’s giant single arch. For the ultimate thrill (for your wallet and your heart), a Hobart company Ardvark Adventures organises abseiling the dam; the largest commercial abseil in the world.

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