Lobster Ponds: Home Of The Largest Freshwater Lobster

Can you imagine a lobster the size of a small dog?

When it comes to freshwater crustaceans, the waterways of Tasmania hide the king of them all. The Giant Tasmanian Freshwater Lobster.

We visited these river giants, which are the largest freshwater lobster in the entire world at Lobster Ponds, located in Flowerdale, around 28 minutes drive from Burnie in North West Tasmania.

Lobster Ponds Haven

The lobster ponds was the brainchild of local Flowerdale farmer Don Bramich.

Many local Tasmanian families hunted the giant lobsters for food without realising the impact they were having until the species was classified as all but extinct.

Realising these unique animal needed a saviour, Don created the Lobster Ponds. Not just to create a safe haven for the species but to educate the public about this uniquely Tasmanian crustacean and the ecosystems they inhabit.

Remains of a lobster shell after a shedding
Remains of a lobster shell after a shedding

Don built the lobster haven in 2003 by diverting water from a nearby spring fed dam into multiple ponds on his property and stocking them after getting permission from the government.

Created to resemble the lobsters natural habitat as closely as possible, the ponds provide the perfect conditions the lobsters require. Such as insuring the water remains under 18 degrees, which is accomplished by a chilling system supplied by the salmon farming company Tassal.

Don Bramich has sadly passed away, however due to a team of dedicated volunteers his legacy lives on.

Giant Tasmanian Lobster Info

Giant lobsters don’t start out giant. In fact, the babies look remarkably like any other Australian yabby or American crawfish. The juveniles at the ponds looks almost identical to yabbies many Australians would have caught as a child. But the giant potential is there.

Some previously measured lobsters have been as much as one metre in length and up to 6.5 kilograms in weight. Although these sorts of sizes are unheard of anymore, with two or three kilograms specimens being more common.

Believed to live up to 60 years or more, the lobsters live on a diet of decaying wood, leaves and animal flesh and obtain a rather impressive size with powerful pincers to match.

The pincers were almost as large as my hand!

Hand holding a large dried lobster claw
As you can see, they pack some giant claws!

Declining Freshwater Lobster Numbers

Unfortunately the numbers of giant Tasmanian lobsters are still declining. This decline is due to a combination of factors, which are mostly human caused.

Giant lobsters were officially protected in 1998, and taking lobsters from the wild can incur a 10,000 AUD fine per animal, but lobster poaching is still a large problem.

Declining habitat is also a major problem as giant lobsters only inhabit a small region of Tasmania.

Giant lobsters are only be found in rivers and estuaries in the northern regions of Tasmania that feed into the Bass Strait and that sit around 20-400 metres above sea level.

Increasing urban development, farming and forestry is also reducing the lobsters habitat by raising the levels of sediment in rivers.

Blue giant tasmanian lobster hiding under rocks
Six year old lobster named Agro

The decline in number is exacerbated further by the limited number of large breeding sized adults and the mortality rate in babies.

Female lobsters need to be around 14 years old and males around 9 years old before they are mature enough to mate. And even though they produce approximately 2,000 eggs every second year, only around one percent survive.

Listed as a vulnerable species, the giant lobsters future is looking bleak.

Viewing The Giant Lobsters

Lobster Ponds is a small complex featuring a small indoor and outdoor area.

The indoor area houses around eight aquariums of varying sizes and a large indoor pond with cascading waterfall.

Three aquariums on a wooden stand at Lobster Ponds, Flowerdale, Tasmania
Lobster homes

In these ponds and aquariums you’ll find lobsters of various ages and sizes, ranging from the bright blue juvenile lobster Charlie to the granddaddy of them all, the giant, almost black Lobby.

Giant Tasmanian Lobster being held in the air above his pond
The giant granddaddy lobster named Lobby

Educational posters located around the room have additional lobster facts and information.

The outdoors area features a short walking trail which leads up to four large outdoor ponds, which each house around 20 giant lobsters.

Located along the walking trail are information boards with details on how the ponds operate as well as information on the local frog and bird species.

For such large crustaceans, they can certainly camouflage themselves well. We spent ages trying to find one in the outdoor ponds, but trying to find them was half the fun.

Lobster Ponds Cafe

There is an onsite cafe that serves light meals and hot and cold drinks.

We had scones with jam and cream, and a white chocolate raspberry muffin, both of which were delicious!

White plate with scones, strawberry jam and whipped cream
The scones, jam and cream tasted amazing!

The cafe also boasts some beautiful views over the countryside and local farms.

Entry Price

  • Child: Free (Under 12 years)
  • Adult: 5 AUD

Opening Hours

Lobster Ponds is open Thurs-Sunday from 10:00-15:00.

Exceptions: Closed Christmas Day, New Years and Good Friday

Check the official website for up to date information.

Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Seating
  • Car park
  • Gift shop
  • Drinks
  • Snacks

Location

Address: 241 Robin Hill Road, Flowerdale. Tasmania, Australia.

Click to view map to Lobster Ponds.

Additional Information

  • The last two kilometres of road into the Lobster Ponds is gravel with a few potholes

Conclusion

We ended up spending over an hour at Lobster Ponds, and we loved every minute of it. It certainly exceeded our expectations.

Like the elusive platypus, seeing a giant lobster out in the wild is extremely difficult, which makes the lobster ponds the perfect place to experience this incredible animal.

If you have small children or just want to see the largest freshwater lobsters in the entire world, then plan a visit.

And at only 5 AUD per person, it’s a cheap, fun, educational and great value.

Nearby Attractions

  • Rocky Cape National Park
  • Sisters Beach
  • Table Cape
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4 thoughts on “Lobster Ponds: Home Of The Largest Freshwater Lobster”

  1. Looks like the kind of place I’d love to drop by. I hadn’t heard of this species prior to reading your post. Well told.

    • Glad you enjoyed reading the post Stuart. This species would probably be hard to discover, seeing how rare they are and how tiny their habitat is. Very interesting animals though.

  2. I intend taking some time out to read this beautiful blog from start to finish in the next few days. Thank you so much for the excellent information and beautiful photos.

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