Depending on the day, Shipstern Bluff can be a stunning coastal stroll or a monstrous, eye-boggling big-wave spectacle — On those days it’s probably best to leave it to the pros and mind-surf from the lookout point instead.
Shipstern Bluff is an 8km hike located in Cape Raoul in Tasmania that offers some of the best surf views in Australia. The hike should take around 4 hours to complete. However, you can also do a shorter verison of it that covers 4 km and takes 1.5 hours to complete.
- Potentially witnessing the heaviest surf wave in Australia (check the surf forecast before visiting)
- The beauty of the wild Southern Ocean
- Bushwalking through enchanting, tall, coastal forests of the Tasman National Park
- It’s just a day trip from Hobart
Looking Out Over Shipstern Bluff
This is where the southern ocean meets Tasman National Park in Tasmania’s rugged south-east. Welcome to one of the most infamous surf waves in the world. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Tassie’s capital, Hobart, you’ll find solitude at the end of the world — well Australia at least.
You’ve got to be there on the “right” day to see Shippies in action (unfortunately our timing wasn’t spectacular), but it can be one of the heaviest and most dangerous surf waves in the world — tackled by such legends as Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Dave Rastovich.
Even if you’re not into surfing, this place is beyond stunning!
The hike and road access have recently been upgraded with new toilet blocks, a shelter, boot disinfectant station and boardwalks added. So, a lot less mud!
Warning: if you intend to venture down to the rock platform, it’s not recommended or safe, as the waves are unpredictable and the rocks are crumbly. This surf break is for experienced, big wave surfers only!
How To Get There
Tasman National Park is just under a 2 hour drive from Hobart. Follow signs past Port Arthur and then turn left at Stormlea Road, which turns into a gravel road. Go all the way to the end of the road (about 10 mins drive), and you’ll see a toilet block and car parking. This is where you commence the hike for both Shipstern Bluff and Cape Raoul.
- Wave watching
- Whale watching (we saw a pod of southern right whales)
- Photography and cliff posing
Depending on how far you go, it’s a beginner to intermediate level. Suitable for kids most of the way (except the steep cliffy parts).
Distance Covered / Duration
You can walk to the surf lookout in 1.5 hours return (4km) or you could do a longer walk and make it 3-4 hours return (8km) if you go to the Bluff. You can also venture down to Cape Raoul as a side track as well (it’s marked), which will add a few more hours and approximately 12km.