Tamar Island Wetlands

Location: On the West Tamar Highway, between Riverside and Legana. Only 10 minutes drive from Launceston.
Pram / wheelchair access: Yes, very accessible for wheelchairs and prams.
Toilets: There are accessible toilets at both the Interpretation Centre and on the island.
Cost: Tamar Wetlands Centre ask for a donation of $3 but this is not enforced. Please give if you can.
Opening hours: Open from dawn to dusk.
Experience: Flora, fauna, wetlands, mudflats, lagoons, island, seabirds, wrens, wrecks, flat easy boardwalk (about 30 minutes each way), BBQ facilities, picnic table.

I have been to Tamar Island dozens of times and no two days are ever the same! One day there might be an outstanding sunrise or sunset which casts a magical golden glow over the reeds, another day you will see hundreds of ducks, swans, cormorants, herons, seagulls and plovers. Yet, on another day there may be hardly any swamp birds at all, yet there will be dozens of little wrens and sparrows flittering amongst the trees and the reeds. There are frogs and fish too, but I have never seen them. In summertime there are plenty of snakes. Tamar Island really is a photographers paradise, and is a ‘must do’ activity for Tasmanian holiday makers.

Interpretation Centre
Only metres from the carpark is an Interpretation Centre where you can learn about the fauna and flora in the area, as well as make purchases from a small gift shop. The centre is staffed by volunteers and is open weekdays, usually between 10am and 4pm.

History abounds
As well as an amazing display of fauna and flora, there are a few interesting historical features to see. You will notice on the left hand side as you head over to the island the wreck of the ‘Platypus’, an old bucket barge that was scuttled there many years ago in an attempt to control the water flow. There are apparently 14 such wrecks in the area.

On the island itself you will find an old well, an old shed which may have once been a farmers residence, and on top of the hill, a plough that a farmer long ago rested against a tree, and it’s now stuck there for eternity as the tree has claimed it as its own.

Infact Tamar Island once had a resident bull, who was so fierce that anybody who dared visit the island was chased away. The bull has since been moved from the island and is living out his life at a nearby farm. In years gone by, Tamar Island was known as ‘Pig Island’, Middle Island’ and ‘Mud Island’.

‘Hidden’ area
Well, its not exactly hidden as such, but its easy to miss if you don’t know its there. If you head towards the left of the island (behind the BBQ and picnic table area) you will find another section of short boardwalk. This will take you out to a viewing platform which I call ‘the sentinel’. Here you can see 4 posts of various heights that rise up from the mudflats and usually there is a bird (or several birds) sitting on these as if they are keeping watch. Sometimes they pose – wings outstretched as if they are trying to catch the wind. This is a great place to photograph – particularly at sunrise.