Tamar Island Wetlands: Boardwalks and Bird Hides

Tamar Island Wetlands encompass 60 hectares of tidal lagoons, mudflats, river channels and islands to create a diverse wildlife haven.

Located only ten kilometres from the heart of Launceston in Northern Tasmania, the Tamar Island Wetlands are home to a wide range of permanent and migratory birds species as well as mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and fish.

The wetlands are popular with bird watchers and walkers due to their convenient location and accessibility.

Tamar Island Wetlands Interpretation Centre

Located on the boardwalk, a short distance from the car park is the Tamar Island Wetlands Interpretation Centre.

The interpretation centre, with its wooden finish, slanted roof and circular shape, blends perfectly into the surrounding wetlands, much like a bird-watching hide.

The interior of the interpretation centre has an impressive display of taxidermy animals showcasing the wide range of animal species that reside or visit the Tamar Wetlands.

Educational information is provided on the display animals, as well as information on how the wetlands were formed and some interesting historical facts about Tamar Island and its surroundings.

The showcase of the centre are the two bird-viewing areas. Inside the centre is a huge panoramic viewing window overlooking the lagoon, while outside is a large viewing deck that wraps around the outside of the building. They allow bird watching in comfort, no matter the weather conditions.

Tamar island Wetlands Interpretation Centre
Interpretation Centre
Bird viewing deck at Tamar Island Wetlands overlooking a reed filled lagoon
Viewing deck

Tamar Island Wetlands Bird Hide

Beginning at the interpretation centre, the raised boardwalk of the Tamar Island Wetlands Walk heads out into the reed beds towards the Tamar River.

Around half a kilometre into the walk, you’ll come to a junction splitting the walk in two. Continuing straight leads to a 90-metre walk to the bird hide hidden away amongst the paperbark trees.

Fork in a walking track
Which way?

Nestled between the reeds, the raised bird hide sits just above the waterline and provides multiple viewing windows for bird watching. The hide is equipped with a bench seat for those wanting to settle in and spot some of the hundreds of species that live or visit the wetland throughout the year.

Bird hide looking out over a lagoon
Inside the bird hide

I feel we might have been unlucky during our visit as we didn’t see anything other than a solitary duck paddling around the lagoon, but we didn’t stay in the bird hide for long as Ronin decided we needed to continue onto Tamar Island.

Tamar Island Wetlands Walk

The 1 hour 30 minutes return wetlands walk is a four-kilometre mix of gravel and raised boardwalks that snake their way out over the Tamar River.

The scenery along the walk contains flooded mudflats, river channels and an endless swaying green sea of reeds occasionally intertwined with the pretty white flowers of the bindweed plant.

Endless view of reeds
The sea of reeds

While the reeds make an amazing habitat for the wildlife, they also dominate the wetland to a point of ruining it.

I’m just shy of two metres tall and while I did manage to peer over the top of the reeds occasionally, anyone shorter than me better get used to looking at reeds for a large portion of the walk. And I assure you, they get boring and claustrophobic real fast!

The only real break from the monotonous views of reeds are the bridges and islands dotted throughout the walk. And sadly these are few and far between.

Bridge over a river and surrounded by reeds
Escaping the reeds

About halfway into the walk, my family decided they’d seen enough and decided to boycott the rest of the walk, but I was still optimistic.

Curious if the scenery would change or perhaps something awesome was just around the next bend, I deciding to appease my curiosity and continued on alone.

Cute baby swans paddling about and the wreckage of an old ship rusting away in the channel momentarily broke up the scenery but it wasn’t long before the reeds once again appeared.

Shipwrecks in the channel
Shipwreck in the channel
Baby swans swimming in a lagoon
Adorable baby swans!

Tamar Island

After what seemed like eternity, the boardwalk became solid ground as I set foot on Tamar Island.

The trail splits in two direction almost as soon as you step onto Tamar Island.

Straight ahead leads you to grassed area with a gas barbeque and seating. While the area looks pleasant, I couldn’t imagine carrying drinks, food and equipment this far to have a barbeque.

Picnic area on Tamar Island, Tasmania
Tamar Island barbeque area

Turning right leads to a looping trail that wraps itself around and over the top of the island.

Along the trail, you’ll find an old plough embedded in an ancient oak tree, the public toilets and some impressive views from atop Tamar Island before the trail heads downhill and connects together once again at another channel bridge.

Tree grown over an old steel plough
Oak swallowing a plough

Leaving Tamar Island, it’s time for another dose of reeds, before they suddenly open up revealing open water and the abrupt ending of the boardwalk in the distance.

Small jetty jutting out over the river
Reaching the Tamar River

A few more steps and you’ve reached the small platform over the Tamar River that marks the end of the Tamar Island Wetlands Walk. Enjoy the views, read the plaque and admire the ladder.

Ladder dropping off into the river
The glorious ladder

Flora And Fauna

One aspect of the wetlands walk that we enjoyed was the subtle details hidden amongst all those reeds.

While they’re difficult to find, the wetlands had some beautiful flowers in bloom during our visit and a nice variety of colourful plants.

We saw numerous birds living amongst the reeds, including a family of Tasmanian Native Hens and their offspring. And skinks are plentiful! We saw them every few metres sunbaking and hunting bugs on the edges of the boardwalk.

Spiky but beautiful unknown plant
Spiky but beautiful plant
Flowers hiding in the reeds
Bindweed flower hiding amongst the reeds
Lizard on a rock
Skinks are everywhere!

Entry Price

Entry to Tamar Island Wetlands is free. Although donations are appreciated.

Opening Hours

Tamar Island Wetlands Boardwalk is open 24 hours.

Tamar Island Wetlands Interpretation Centre is open daily.

  • 1st October-31st March from 9:00-17:00
  • 1st April-30th September from 10:00-16:00

Exceptions: Closed Christmas Day.

Check the official website for up to date information.

Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Barbeques
  • Seating
  • Car park
  • Gift shop

Location

Address: West Tamar Highway, Riverside. Tasmania, Australia.

Click to view map to Tamar Island Wetlands.

Recommended Equipment

  • Water

Safety Advice

  • Snakes are active in the wetlands environment
  • The area is very exposed to sunlight. We highly recommend being sun smart and bringing hats, sunscreen, etc

Conclusion

We didn’t overly enjoy the Tamar Island Wetlands. There are some nice areas along the walk, but compared to other walks in Tasmania such as Philosopher Falls or Cradle Mountain, it just can’t compete.

The wetlands walk is more suited to bird watching enthusiasts or people looking for exercise away from an urban environment.

Nearby Attractions

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2 thoughts on “Tamar Island Wetlands: Boardwalks and Bird Hides”

  1. Thanks Adam
    This sounds a bit like the Banrock Station Wetlands walk – although there weren’t too many reeds there. Just a lot………
    We did however come face to face with a large kangaroo there hiding in the reeds. It’d obviously come down the boardwalk to see what’s what and gave us quite a fright. I didn’t know they growled like that. Not quite a raptor but scary enough. As were the 3 tiger snakes we encountered !
    Like this one, the Banrock walk opens around 9.30 am and closes (I think) around 4.00. It’d be great if these places were able to be visited in those golden hours; early morning and pre sunset. I’m sure the birdlife would be increased along with the photographic opportunities.
    Thanks for posting this.
    (I’m looking forward to the experience when we visit in June.)

    Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed the post. Sunrise and sunset would be very nice over the boardwalk I would imagine.
      I’ve been on the receiving end of a growling Kangaroo before! Very intimidating since they are just a hugely solid muscled animal.

      Reply

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