The Lobster Ponds Haven and Cafe in Flowerdale, Tasmania
The largest freshwater crustacean in the world is endemic to north west Tasmania. This endangered species is the Giant Freshwater Crayfish (Astacopsis gouldi) and has found a home at the Lobster Ponds where visitors can see and learn more about them. Surrounded by beautiful native gardens the ponds here protect the crayfish.
Originally opened in 2003, between 20 - 25 local volunteers took over running the Lobster Ponds in 2011. Local farmers supported the venture with land and plants.
The crayfish is a slow grower. Reproduction only occurs when the female reaches fourteen years old and the males nine. The female can produce 2000 eggs, but only about 1% survive. Platypus, trout and birds eat the eggs. They live in water near rocks, trees and mud with the water below 20C. The crayfish moult as they grow, every two years on average, and can live for up to 70 years. Old shells are on display here.
The native gardens are well laid out around five outdoor ponds which are home to the crayfish.
Native trees are labelled for easy identification. Depending on the season, you can also see local native wild orchards here.
Scattered amongst the gardens are some small wooden buildings that proudly show off the talented handiwork of locals.
In late 2021 a purposely built area will house the endangered Orange Bellied Parrot and Australian native finches. The parrot is endemic to south west Tasmania and presently can only be seen in avaries.
The cafe here alone is worth the drive. Just ten minutes from Burnie and five minutes from Wynyard, this tearoom is stocked with homemade products from within a ten kilometre radius. High teas can be arranged upon request.
The furniture in the room invites you to sit for a while, and the glorious countryside view says "stay a bit longer and just enjoy".
The ponds offer transitional work for students in the kitchen and the yards. NDIS and Centrelink recipients can also volunteer their time here. A big thank you to Dale and Kevin who I met on my visit. They shared information and their passion for the continued running of the Lobster Ponds.
A visit can be around an hour, including a talk on the Crayfish. Lingering and enjoying the gardens and tearoom can add another hour or so onto your visit and definitely make it more enjoyable.
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