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Tamar Island / Tamar Island Wetlands

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Tamar Island / Tamar Island Wetlands
• Historical
• Vegetation
• Wildlife

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Tamar Island / Tamar Island Wetlands - Cities, Towns and Localities

Resident of the Wetlands: Wallaby.

The Tamar Valley have retained a significant conservation area known as the Tamar Island Wetlands. This 60 ha tidal river wetland and island habitat is ideal for walks and sightseeing, offering some great photographic opportunities. The island itself is about 7 ha where there are remnants of a hut and exotic flora from earlier days of occupation. Much of the wetland has been disturbed by previous human occupation and grazing activities.

Visitors can enjoy a picnic on the island, flying a kite or just relaxing whilst watching the boats go by. Photographers and spectators can watch the spectacular changes in the light and colours of the hills, wetland and water. If you arrive early in the morning or late afternoon, you can see the waterbirds feeding. At low tide, you will be able to see the scuttled ships and discover the Island’s fascinating history. There is a 2 km boardwalk that winds it’s way pass the Wetlands Centre, viewing deck, bridge, extending over the swamps and crosses the river to two islets and finally, onto Tamar Island.

Tamar Wetlands Habitat

There are toilets, water, gas BBQ’s and pontoon boat landing facilities on the island. The walk is approximately 4 km return (about an hour). The boardwalk is wide enough for prams and wheelchairs.

Tamar Island Wetland Centre

The Tamar Island is only a 10 minute drive from the centre of Launceston, along the West Tamar Highway. Open daily, from late December to early February there is a ‘Summer Interpretation Program’ that takes guided walks (fees apply).

Source: Tamar Island Wetland Centre

Check out our listing of Tamar Valley accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre

Tamar Island Wetland Centre
West Tamar Highway, LAUNCESTON TAS 7250
Ph: 03 6327 3964
Ph: 03 6331 8406 (Launceston Environment Centre)

Parks and Wildlife Service - Tamar Island Wetlands Centre

Tamar Visitor Information Centre - Exeter

Tamar Island / Tamar Island Wetlands - Historical

In 1906 the island was vested in the Launceston Marine Board and was used as a work station for dredging crews. A small jetty, wooden footway and three small iron buildings, sued to be on the island, but now only one building remains. Artefacts scattered on the island include bricks, corroding metal objects, a well, and a horse-drawn plough embedded in an Oak tree. A number of exotic trees such as Oaks, Firs, and ornamental shrubs were planted by the Marine Board, and now give the islands southern end a park-like appearance.

At low tide you can see many old ships wrecks that were scuttled west of the island between 1926 and 1971. Approximately 14 hulks, lighters and vessels were towed to this location and burnt to the waterline, then sunk. The aim was to divert the tidal current into the main channel, east of the island, preventing it from silting up, allowing vessels to travel upstream.

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Tamar Island / Tamar Island Wetlands - Vegetation

The island consists of three vegetation zones, two native plant communities and the other introduced species. Remnant individuals of Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus Globulus) and Bull Oak (Allocasuarina littoralis) indicate the forest type that once covered the island. The area is now dominated by exotic species and includes a mixture of grazed field (on the flats), open grassy woodland containing conifers and deciduous trees (on the drier slopes) and dense elm forest (south-easterly aspect).

Reed swamp occupies the large area of mudflats surrounding the island and is dominated by the reeds and rushes Phragmites australis, Juncus krausil, and Schoenoplectus. A ground flora of sedges and herbs is also present. This community is considered poorly reserved in Tasmania. Most of the area is partially submerged at high tide.

Corpses of the paper-bark Melaleuca ericifolia scrub and forest occur along the boundary between the reed swamp and higher ground. Beneath the paper-barks a ground flora of sedges, herbs and grasses can be found.

Areas of improved pasture occur on the western edge of Lucks Flat and are gradually being encroached by the reed swamp community. The introduced flora on the flats include blackberries and pasture grasses, the latter being a very important feeding resource for the Black Swan and other species of waterfowl.

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Tamar Island / Tamar Island Wetlands - Wildlife

Boardwalk to Tamar Island.The Tamar Island area has an abundance of bird life. Some species live permanently in the area and others migrate. Many of the birds species in the wetland can be viewed from the Interpretation Centre or from the boardwalk.

Following is a list of birds that have been identified within the habitat. The list was compiled by the Tamar Island Wetland Volunteers.

Abundance & Status
Common — c
Uncommon — uc
Migratory — m
Endemic to Tasmania — e

  Sea Birds      
  Crested Tern (Sterna bergii) c  
  Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) c  
  Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) c  
  Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos) c  
  Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) c  
  Silver Gull (Larus novaehollandiae) c  
  Estuary & Lagoon Birds      
  Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) c  
  Australasian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides) c  
  Australian Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis) c  
  Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops) c  
  Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) c  
  Great Egret (Ardea alba) c  
  Grey Teal (Anas gracilis) c  
  Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) c  
  Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) c  
  Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) c  
  Purple Swamp Hen (Porphyrio porphyrio) c  
  Spotless Crake (Porzana tabulensis) c  
  Tasmanian Native Hen (Gallinula mortierii) c  
  White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) c  
  Land Birds      
  Forest Raven (Cornus tasmanicus) c  
  Grey Fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa) c  
  Little Grassbird (Megalurus gramineus) c  
  Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) m/c  
  Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) c  
  Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) m/c  
  Birds of Prey (Raptors)      
  Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis) uc  
  Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) uc  
  Swamp Harrier (Circus approximans m/c  
  White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) c  
  Species Introduced to Tasmania      
  Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) c  
  Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) c  
  European Goldfinch (Carduelis chloris) c  
  Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) c  
  Occasional Visitors      
  Galah (Cacatua roseicapilia)    
  Green Rosella (Platycerus caledonicus) e  
  Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)    
  Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)    
Source: Tamar Island Wetland Volunteers
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