Walking the Tamar Island Wetlands Track

Tamar Island Wetlands.

These wetlands located around 10 minutes from the heart of Launceston, in the Northern Tasmania are home to a wide range of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish.

Popular with bird watchers and walkers due to its convenient location and accessibility.

Interpretation Centre

The interpretation centre is located right at the beginning of the boardwalk, not far from the car park.

Tamar island Wetlands Interpretation Centre
The interpretation centre

Inside the centre you’ll find useful information about the animals that live in the area. How the wetlands were formed. And some history about Tamar Island and its surroundings.

Outside is a large viewing deck, useful for spotting birds and other wildlife that call the wetlands home.

Bird watching deck
Bird watching deck

Tamar Island Walk

Beginning at the Tamar Interpretation Centre, the boardwalk heads out into the reeds. About 500 metres from the Interpretation Centre you’ll find a short turn off through a pretty paperbark forest area.

Fork in a walking track
Which way?

Hidden away among the paperbarks you’ll find the bird hide which gives a wide view over the lagoon. From here you can have a seat and try spot one of the hundreds of species that visit the wetland throughout the year.

Bird hide looking out over a lagoon
Great views over the lagoon

We didn’t see anything other than ducks on our visit, but we didn’t stay in the bird hide very long. Ronin decided we needed to keep moving.

But for the avid bird watcher, with a few hours to sit quietly, this is the spot for you.

From the bird hide, its back onto the boardwalk and out deeper into the Tamar River.

The 90 minute return walk feels deceptively longer than it at first seems. At 4 kms in length, the boardwalk keeps snaking further and further out over the Tamar River and into the reeds.


How can you feel claustrophobic outside on a boardwalk you’re probably asking? One word, reeds!

Reeds are everywhere you look. I’d estimate that around 80% of the walk is spent looking at an endless sea of reeds.

Endless view of reeds
Get used to this view!

As a tall person (6’5), I could peer over the top occasionally, but my partner and Ronin couldn’t see anything but reeds.

Swaying in the breeze, and rustling, and surrounding you. They get boring real fast!

Instead of that joyous feeling of being outside and exploring, it feels claustrophobic and uncomfortable.

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

Bridge over a river and surrounded by reeds
Escaping the reeds

Most of the walk was spent wondering when the scenery would change. Or if something awesome was just over the next hill or around the next bend.

Abandoned and alone

About halfway into the walk my partner and Ronin decided they had seen enough.

Deciding to appease my curiosity, I continued on alone to find out what was at the end of this reed filled walking track.

Plus I couldn’t tell you about the place if I didn’t finish the walk myself!

With a quick goodbye, they abandoned me and headed back to relax in the car.

Determined to finish, I continued on my way.

Passing the old ship wrecks rusting away in the channel and the swans and their babies, my mind switched off and started to wander.

Shipwrecks in the channel
Shipwrecks in the channel
Baby swans swimming in a lagoon
Baby swans are plentiful

One scene from a very popular dinosaur movie kept popping into my mind.

People running through a paddock of reeds. And off to each side of them you see raptors veering in for the kill. I felt like I was living that nightmare scene. I even half expected a raptor to pop out of the grass to attack!

But nothing that exciting happened. Just more reeds.

Tamar Island

After what seemed like an eternity, and a few thoughts of turning back, I made it to Tamar Island.

Tamar Island is a fairly large island smack in the middle of the Tamar River.

There is a toilet and a gas BBQ located on the island in a nice grassed area. But honestly, I couldn’t imagine lugging out drinks, food and BBQ equipment this far by foot to have a BBQ out here. So it makes the nice picnic area rather moot.

Picnic area on Tamar Island, Tasmania
Island picnic area

The island I also found rather disappointing. The one feature I did find interesting was an old plough embedded in an ancient oak tree.

Tree grown over an old steel plough
Trapped plough

Other that that, I found the path that loops over the top of the island and back to the boardwalk rather uninteresting.

The end!

Leaving Tamar Island, I headed back onto the boardwalk to continue the journey.

I was at this stage, rather hoping the walk would end soon.

I knew from looking at the map, that I was close to the end. So I pushed on, hoping the end would reveal something spectacular.

Clearing more reeds, I saw the end of the boardwalk! And what was waiting for me at the end?

Small jetty jutting out over the river
The end!

A ladder, and a plaque.

Disappointed, I had a quick look around, read the plaque, snapped a few photos, and headed home, at a much faster pace.

Ladder dropping off into the river
The glorious ladder

Beauty in the details

You’re probably thinking we absolutely hated the wetlands by now, but that’s not entirely true.

While overall, we didn’t enjoy the wetlands as much as we thought we would. What I did notice after walking alone for awhile was that I started to notice all the subtle details of the wetland.

There is beauty there when you stop to appreciate it.

Beautiful flowers and colourful plants are hiding inside the masses of reeds.

Birds and their offspring are everywhere if you stop making noise and slow down.

And lizard are everywhere! Sunbaking and hunting bugs on the edges of the boardwalk.

Spiky but beautiful unknown plant
Spiky but beautiful unknown plant
Flowers hiding in the reeds
Flowers hiding in the reeds
Lizard on a rock
Lizards are everywhere!

But sadly, it’s not enough to make us want to return for another visit.

Who should visit?

We would recommend the wetlands to bird watching enthusiasts or people just wanting to get out of the city or enjoy a walk outside.

Cost/opening times

The wetlands are absolutely free! They do accept donations however.

Opening times vary depending on the time of year.

  • 9am to 5pm (1st October to 31st March)
  • 10am to 4pm (1st April to 30th September)
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2 thoughts on “Walking the Tamar Island Wetlands Track”

  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.)

    • 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.

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