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Friendly Beaches Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.
Friendly Beaches Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.

Friendly Beaches

Established:

1997

Area:

121 ha

Location:

190km NE of Hobart

Traditional Custodians:

Tasmanian Aboriginal people

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.

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 one of the most diverse plant communities found in Tasmania.

Black Swans against a back drop of coastal forest at Friendly Beaches Reserve. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.

The heath can burst into flower at any time of the year, producing 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 is protected thanks to generous supporters.

A Bennetts Wallaby amongst coastal wattle at Friendly Beaches. Photo Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.

What Friendly Beaches protects

Animals: Spotted-tail Quoll (nationally vulnerable), Scarlet Robin, White-bellied Sea-eagle (vulnerable in Tasmania).

Plants: Sand Grasstree (nationally vulnerable), Southern Grasstree, Warty Paperbark (rare), Tasmanian Blue Gum, Juniper Wattle (rare), Slender Honey Myrtle.

Vegetation communities: Black gum forest (nationally critically endangered), Silver Peppermint forest and woodland (vulnerable), coastal heathland, Black Peppermint coastal forest and woodland.

Life on the edge

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

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.”

Tasmanian Devils. Photo Steve Parish.

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.

Devil Facial Tumour Disease is a terrible cancer that 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.

Species at Friendly Beaches

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Stories from Friendly Beaches

Patersonia fragilis 'fairy rings' at Friendly Beaches Reserve, Tasmania. By Mike Bretz.

21/12/2023 21/12/2023

Peculiar Patersonia patterns

High above the 121-hectare reserve, they made a curious discovery. From the controller’s tiny screen, they spotted a strange circular pattern in the vegetation. Then another, and another.

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Cool burn at Friendly Beaches Reserve, Tasmania. Photo Michael Bretz.

BUSHTRACKS 17/10/2022

A friendly fire

Led by truwana Rangers, cool burning at Friendly Beaches Reserve plans to create the healthiest possible habitat for the vulnerable New Holland Mouse.

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BLOG 09/04/2020

Picture perfect!

Late Feb/early March on Tasmania’s East Coast. It doesn’t get much better than this – no wind, blue, blue skies, shimmering seas and blindingly, white endless beach. Welcome to Bush Heritage’s Friendly Beaches Reserve.

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BLOG 02/11/2018

Volunteering on Tasmania’s East Coast

A big thank you to our wonderful volunteers who joined our East Coast working bee on 27-28 October to help with weed control, rubbish removal and South Esk Pine monitoring.

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BLOG 08/02/2018

Gorse & thistle on Tassie's east coast

Tasmania's east coast was hard to beat as a location for a working bee, so maybe our volunteers got more than a little inspiration from the stunning location. Our team of nine volunteers removed over 800 thistle plants and seedlings, hundreds of gorse plants, and helped with erosion control and South Esk Pine monitoring. Volunteer Helen Tait explains how our working bees are not just about hard work.

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