Shipstern Bluff

Tasmania is often overlooked as a surfing destination yet it actually does get very good waves. The most pleasant time to surf in Tasmania is late summer/early autumn, when the water is at its warmest. However, the biggest swells and most favourable wind conditions occur in autumn and winter.

On the west coast offshore days can occur in combination with moderate swells. Only the top one third of the west coast is accessible, even then only at certain locations. Marrawah on the north west corner, is renowned for its year round surf. Marrawah’s three beaches – Ann Bay, Mawson Bay and Green Point – have hundred-metre-long rides when the swell is westerly and the wind offshore.

The south west is totally wild and remote, there are waves and some classic reefs, but they will probably remained unsurfed for many years yet.

The Northern coast of Tasmania is somewhat protected and lengthy flat spells, especially in summer can occur. The waves here are good, but no big. Exceptions are the beach breaks at the mouth of the Mersey River iand Tam O’Shanter near the mouth of the Tamar River..

The north’s best surf, however, isn’t on mainland Tasmania but on King Island, halfway to Victoria on the western edge of Bass Strait. On King Island’s east coast, try Martha Lavinia, ranked by Tracks magazine as Australia’s best beach break. On the island’s west coast, try British Admiral beach, or Fitzmaurice Bay in the south-west, where at low tide adventurous cows wade into the surf to eat nutritious bull kelp.

The east coast is again open to the ocean, the Tasman Sea, it does get good waves especially after winter lows pass into the Tasman Sea. The coast from Scamander to Orford has some popular surf beaches. The eastern arm of the entrance to Georges Bay and the mouth of the Scamander River are popular spots in the north east. Eddystone Rock, in the same area, is Australia’s latest big-wave surfing hot spot. Like Shipstern Bluff, surfers are towed on to the waves here with jet-skis. Its remote location means it’s beyond the reach of all but the most dedicated visiting surfer.

Moving further south to the Hobart area and big waves are found in the Eaglehawk Neck area. The notorious Shipstern Bluff is situated beyond the Port Arthur historic site on Tasman Peninsula. Burny Island Cloudy Bay gets some really big breaks. South Cape Bay, beyond the end of the road and Cockle Creek, in the state’s far south, has some big breaks, however it is a 7km walk to the beach.

Hobart itself is located on a large bay, but swells do sometimes work right up into it. park and Clifton Beaches are the most popular.

Region Surf Spots
1 North Coast 6 surf spots
2 East Coast 11 surf spots
3 Hobart & SE 15 surf spots
4 West Coast 17 surf spots

Shipstern Bluff

Also known as Devil’s Point, Shipstern Bluff is generally accepted as being the most challenging surfing location in Australia. Below the bluff, heaving swells hit a reef head-on, causing a huge body of water to arc up seemingly out of nowhere. In recent years, this churning swell has attracted elite surfers from around the world, dominated the surf media and set the bar for extreme surfing in Australia. What makes it unique is that it is very accessible for spectators, it is just around the corner from Port Arthur. When the waves are on at Shippies anyone who is able to take on a spectacular 2 hour walk (a fabulous walk in itself) can put themselves in the line up.

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