Friendly Beaches

Last updated: Friday 27 May, 2016
A map showing the location of Friendly Beaches Reserve in Tasmania.

Established: 1997
Area: 121 ha
Location: 190km NE of Hobart

Detailed map >

In your rush to get down to the glittering ocean waters of Tasmania's Friendly Beaches Reserve you'd be forgiven for overlooking what lies further back behind the sand dunes.

Banksia heath at Friendly Beaches. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Banksia heath at Friendly Beaches. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
But a more leisurely exploration of this reserve, which is a natural extension of its famous neighbour, Freycinet National Park, would turn up coastal heath overlooking a large saltwater lagoon, and beyond that Black Gum and Silver Peppermint Forests.

The coastal heath here is particularly precious, being one of the most diverse plant communities found in Tasmania.

Swamp Gum and Manna Gum forests on Friendly Beaches Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Swamp Gum and Manna Gum forests on Friendly Beaches Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Its flowers, which can burst into life at any time of the year, produce a profusion of nectar that draws honeyeaters, such as the Eastern Spinebill and New Holland Honeyeater from far and wide. The coastal heathlands on this stretch of coast are among the largest remaining in Tasmania.

Farther inland lies Black Gum forest, which loves the wet drainage lines snaking out from Saltwater Lagoon. Since European settlement more than 90% of these forests have been destroyed, and Black Gum forest is now endangered in Tasmania.

All this has been protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

Life on the edge

Lurking behind the beautiful detail of Friendly Beaches Reserve lie two threats that call for constant vigilance.

A Bennetts Wallaby amongst coastal wattle at Friendly Beaches. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
A Bennetts Wallaby amongst coastal wattle at Friendly Beaches. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
The first is the ever-present danger of the mould Phytophthora cinnamomi, also known as root rot fungus, which attacks root systems and cuts off a plant's ability to take in nutrients and survive.

Our ecologist Matt Appleby describes this disease as a destructive wave moving through the vegetation.

If Phytophthora hit these heathlands, the invasion front would show green, healthy banksia leaves turning rusty orange, and behind them would lie a field of banksias drained of colour and life, as well as other susceptible species such as grasstrees and hakeas.

Black Swans against a back drop of coastal forest at Friendly Beaches Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
Black Swans against a back drop of coastal forest at Friendly Beaches Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.
The other threat is also a disease, and menaces the Tasmanian devils that wander in and out of this reserve as they hunt for food.

Called devil facial tumour disease, this terrible cancer first surfaced in 1996 among Tasmania's north-east devil population, and since then devil numbers have declined by more than 80% in all but the far north-west of Tasmania. Ongoing research into this terrible disease is critical to the future survival of the Tassie devil.

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