Shipstern Bluff Walk

 Shipstern Bluff from the track viewpoint

Shipstern Bluff from the track viewpoint

On a visit to Tassie brother Pete was keen to check out Shipstern Bluff on the Tasman Peninsula. As a lifelong surfer he’d heard a lot about “Shippies”, as it’s known. Its reputation as a big wave break ridden by only the gutsiest of surfers has spread world-wide. If you want a sample of what I’m talking about click here.

Shipstern Bluff is, in reality, an imposing cape that juts out into the Southern Ocean in the south of Tasmania. It gets its name from its shape which resembles the stern of a ship.

 tasman peninsula sea cliffs

tasman peninsula sea cliffs

The Tasman Peninsula is a rugged place with some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs at 300 metres. This spectacular location has always drawn tourists but increasing numbers are coming to experience the Three Capes Walk.

 cape raoul from shippies

cape raoul from shippies

Moving from east to west the capes are Cape Hauy, Cape Pillar and Cape Raoul. The next “cape” along the coastline is Shipstern Bluff. Whilst it isn’t officially part of the walk it can be done as a sidetrip.

 stormleas road car park

stormleas road car park

We started the walk to Shippies from the car park at Stormleas Road on a cold September day. It was apparent from the outset that a fair bit of work had been done to improve the track since our last visit some years earlier. This is as a consequence of its proximity to the Three Capes Walk – the first part of which is a shared track that splits after a while with one path going to Cape Raoul and the other to Shippies.

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 shippies track

shippies track

There’s a little bit of up and down at first, but overall, it’s not too demanding. After 2.2kms of walking through mostly eucalyptus forest we reached a viewpoint where we got our first sighting of Shipstern Bluff (see banner shot at the top of this post) .

 coastal heathland

coastal heathland

From here we gradually descended until we found ourselves walking through tea tree, heathland and banksia scrub and finally to the ocean’s edge.

It was cold and windy, and the surf was sloppy with little to entice surfers. Cally and I had seen it a few years earlier with surfers being towed in on jet skis to ride thumping 3 metre waves. Quite spectacular, but alas, not today.

 pete at shippies

pete at shippies

Nevertheless, Pete was pleased. He’d now been to Shippies and had a better sense of its isolated, windswept and dramatic location.

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We returned via the same route. The total walk was 3 hours. For more detailed track notes we recommend the TasTrails website..........Click here.

 Ken