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.
The interpretation centre is located right at the beginning of the boardwalk, not far from the car park.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The island I also found rather disappointing. The one feature I did find interesting was an old plough embedded in an ancient oak tree.
Other that that, I found the path that loops over the top of the island and back to the boardwalk rather uninteresting.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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)