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Social media turning Hobart's Disappearing Tarn into photo hotspot

By Katri Uibu and Fiona Blackwood, Saturday June 27, 2020 - 16:28 EST
ABC licensed image
Instagram user Therese_lifesnippets posted the scene at the tarn was "beautiful … but so many people". - ABC licensed

Social media users have rushed to Hobart's Disappearing Tarn this week, but some are worried the exposure could damage the natural phenomenon.

The water that pools in a field of rocks within the kunanyi/Mount Wellington Park only appears after heavy rain, every year or two — taking on a turquoise colour — before it drains away.

Images of the have again been shared widely resulting, in hundreds of people flocking to see it before it disappears again.

Nicholas Sawyer, president of Tasmanian National Parks Association, said it was no longer the tranquil experience people were expecting.

"If they were looking for any sort of quiet experience, looking at a peaceful mountain tarn, they're not quite getting what they bargained for if there's dozens or more people there at the same time," he said.

"A person I was talking to yesterday afternoon said she'd counted something like 300 on the way in and out, which is way more than that track and that site could comfortably cope with."

Mr Sawyer said even though the tarn was formed in a boulder field, "there's going to be a whole lot of mosses and lichens and things on the rocks that are going to suffer from so many people walking on it".

He said there was no doubt social media has had a role to play in the increased popularity of the tarn.

"I'd really ask people publicising places on social media to think about the consequences of it, it must attract an awful lot of people who wouldn't go otherwise," he said.

Zac Major visited the tarn this week after seeing pictures of it on Instagram.

"One of my friends made a little video edit and I was able to look at it and go, 'I forgot about that', because it's something everyone's known about for years," he said.

He said the exposure of the site was not necessarily a bad thing.

"Everyone's being really respectful up there, there's no real no idiots around … it's not really a bad thing that people want to come and see such a lovely little place in Tasmania."

"As long as you leave it the way it's meant to be and don't leave any trash or anything then it's fine.

"It's fine to come and look, it's a really cool place."

Lenka Pelcova also visited the site after seeing photos on social media.

"I was like, 'Oh my God, I have to go there' … it looked amazing."

She said when she visited there were "more than 100 people there, for sure".

Another walker, Pam, said most people visiting the tarn "would never have seen it if it hadn't been for social media".

"They're probably not bushwalkers, so they wouldn't even know it was there," she said.

Paul Grey said he had visited the tarn three times this week and said crowds grew significantly over that time.

"It's not as nice when there's heaps of people around, it gets hard to get a photo without getting people in shot."

Axel Von Krusenstierna, manager of the Wellington Park Management Trust, said the car park at The Springs had been overflowing, with "some people parking illegally on the road".

He said people intending to visit the tarn should come ready for rough bushwalking conditions and "probably allow for at least a couple of hours there and back".

"Be prepared for extreme weather, because it can change very quickly on the mountain and you might suddenly find that the temperature drops by 10 degrees and it starts snowing."

Without more heavy rain, the tarn — and the social media photo opportunity — is expected to disappear this weekend.


© ABC 2020

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