Shipstern Bluff is a great day walk regardless of the weather, with breathtaking views and occasional massive surf to witness. The magnitude of scale once at the bottom is utterly awe-inspiring and well worth the hike down. The walk itself isn’t too difficult with a steady climb over only a few km of an 8km total. If time allows, take 30 minutes to check out the Tunnel Bay sidetrack signposted along the walk.
View Google Map Directions
|The start of the Shipstern Bluff walk is just under 2 hours, 115km, away from Hobart on the southern part of the Tasmanian Peninsula. From Hobart, head over the Tasman Bridge and continue on the Arthurs Highway, turning right at the main intersection in Sorell (sign for Tasmanian Peninsula). Continue past Port Arthur until you reach a turn off to your left to Stormlea Road marked Highcroft 3 Stormlea 9 (if you reach Nubeena you have gone too far). Head along Stormlea Road for 10km until the road stops, the start of the walk is signposted here.|
The trail starts at Stormlea road, the first 500m or so will be the messiest of the hike with some unavoidable mud sections (note: last walked 06/13, this section is now okay). The track then finds its way through bushland, crossing a small creek after 1.5km then heading uphill onto the heathland. Soon after the creek you will see a marked junction, left heading to Cape Raoul and the right heading to Shipstern Bluff. Shortly after you will exit the heathland forest and be presented with a fantastic view of Shipstern and the nearby capes, including Cape Raoul. 1km later downhill you will come across an old 4WD track, following it to the left will take you to Shipstern Bluff.
The final segment before making it onto the base can be tricky and is quite steep. A rough track from here leads you to the rocky plateau around the corner to your right where you can experience the true magnitude of the cliffs and boulders during low tide. If you are lucky you might get a glimpse of some of the greatest surf conditions in the world, though it can be quiet rare, happening only twice a month on average. Return to the start of the trail the same way you came in.
When returning, a short detour to Tunnel Bay isn’t a terrible option, a rocky cove with some explorable tunnel formations in the cliffs.
Map for illustrative purposes only. Base map supplied by Land Information System Tasmania
Hazards and Warnings
Things can get rather hectic at the base of Shipstern Bluff, be sure to check tides and surf reports before venturing too close to the water. There are cliff faces along the way, don’t fall off them.