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.


Highlights

  • 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.

Winter Days at Shipstern Bluff (TAS) Caitlin Weatherstone cliff coastline ocean backpack

Shipstern Bluff is located between Cape Raoul and Tunnel Bay and literally smashes up against the cliffs of Tasman National Park, an area rich in natural and cultural wonders.

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!

Just a 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!

Winter Days at Shipstern Bluff (TAS) Caitlin Weatherstone cliff coastline ocean backpack

Essential Gear

  • Camera
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • First aid kit including snake bandages in warmer months
  • Warm/waterproof layers — the weather can change very quickly here

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.

Activities

  • Wave watching
  • Whale watching (we saw a pod of southern-right whales)
  • Bush walking
  • Photography and cliff posing

Skill Level

Depending how far you go, it’s 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 approx. 12km.

 


Epic surfventures up and down the East Coast

Surfing and Paperbark forests at Agnes Waters (QLD)

Whiskey & Waves // Central Coast (NSW)

The Unspoilt South Coast Of New South Wales

Surf ‘N’ Swag – Introducing The New BoardSwag