Abseiling the highest dam in Tasmania

One of the best adrenaline-seeking adventures we did so far! Organized by Aardvark Adventures, abseiling the 140m Gordon dam is an unforgettable experience.

We were lucky to be the only 2 participants for that day, which has limited the time for this challenge to about 2,5 hours (where it could take up to 5,5 hours in other cases).

Alex was the friendly guy guiding us through this experience. He really knows how to make you feel as comfortable as you can, considering the circumstances. He briefed us about what was going to happen and then guided us calmly through each of our abseils. First my husband, then me. That means that I needed to help with the rope that was keeping my husband in the air… Strange feeling, but again – Alex made it feel like I was doing this every day.

Before starting the abseil itself, we got to practice a bit, making sure to know where to (not) put our hands, how to hold our knees, how to hang back to make sure nothing gets stuck into the goldish thing that holds the rope, and so on. No rocket science, but certainly worth going through, so you feel a little more up to the challenge.

It starts with getting your legs over the rail… Sounds simple, right? Not really… First of all, it’s pretty tough to get your legs over it (I guess people less tall than us need a little help) and of course – it’s high! Then you need to get into a position which enables your guide to get all of the gear right and safe. Make sure to smile and wave as you’re hanging there – pictures are being taken and you wanna make sure you’re looking good on them. I’m warning you: it’s a challenge to get 1 hand off the rope – you can imagine how crazy it feels to get both hands out in the open and wave at the camera!

After only a few moments (and meters), your feet get off from the wall and you’re just hanging there, with a big bag of rope right beneath you, which you mostly control to get the speed right for getting down. As from that moment (when you’re off the wall), you can get start turning a little bit, redirecting your face from the wall to the open… nothing… That’s when you look down and see… an amazing sight! The dam is impressive, but the green surroundings leading to the water below are evenly stunning! Soak it all in, go as slow as you want. That’s what I liked most about this – you have the time to actually enjoy the views to the fullest.

Continue like this until you feel ground beneath your feet again. Then shout “safe”, get all of the stuff off (of course they explain you what to do) and then shout “clear”. The rope is being pulled up again, while you make your way back up via the staircase. To my husband going up these steep stairs (it’s more a ladder in different levels) was actually the hardest part. It is however again safe – as it’s not one uninterrupted ladder, the chances of you making a bad fall are limited. So even when you’re as clumsy as we are, I think there’s little that can go wrong.

– Don’t look down at the start of the abseil. Keep focused on getting your positions right, listen to the guide, make sure you’re feeling “at ease”. In my case at least looking down immediately leads to anxiety and my legs feeling like pudding, which you’d like to avoid
– Even when it rains, power through! When Aardvark Adventures says it’s safe, you have to assume it is. And if you’re lucky (as we were), the weather turns out to be a lot better and you don’t even feel the rain. As the weather in Tasmania changes very quickly, you never know…
– Even though the team is making pictures at the top and on the first part of your way down, make sure to take at least a GoPro with you to capture the abseil itself as well as to take some breathtaking pictures at the bottom
– You can still return to the dam to get pictures afterwards. You can even use a drone. We wanted to, but as there was too much wind and it started raining again after we came back up, we unfortunately weren’t able to, but as such you can

Price: 420 AUD for 2

Other Countries we visited
Have a look at the other countries we ‘achievied’ to visit, and other Achievies