This past weekend we went on an adventure down to Ship Stern Bluff on the Tasman Peninsula. You may have heard of the name before, as it was recently in the news for some pretty scary reasons. Part of the cliff face that gave the area its name collapsed onto the platform below and forever changed the shape of the huge rock face affectionately known as Shippies. It’s a bit of a mecca for surfers as the conditions here are just right to produce some truly epic waves. A quick YouTube search will reveal just how insane it is surfing here.
Having never surfed before, I decided to leave the board at home and instead opted for a lovely stroll in with Gemma. The track to the bluff is part of the Cape Raoul Walk, one of the 60 Best Walks in Tasmania. It’s a pretty easy walk and very well maintained with recent repairs made as a result of the aforementioned rock fall. We spotted a couple of Echidnas on the day we were there which is always a delight.
You get a couple of glimpses of Shippies from the cliffs above but they really give absolutely no sense of the scale of what’s down below. Descending a set of wooden stairs and coming on to the rocky beach around the corner from the main cliff area and you still don’t quite sense it. Venture towards the roar of the waves and it will begin to come apparent that this place is one where nature shows its true and awesome power.
We stood at the base of the cliff, watching the waves pound ashore, chunks of sea foam floating ashore like balloons while a light rain of spray washed over us with each of the larger waves. I nervously surveyed the rock face above us and decided to venture further along the shoreline, clambering over some of the larger rocks to see what was on the other side.
I’ve had a few moments in Tasmania that have stopped me in my tracks. The view when I crested those rocks was one of the best. The huge platform of rock at the base of the cliffs seemed to stretch on for miles. Lying right on top of it was a huge boulder the size of a bus and it was all bathed in a glorious afternoon light that only served to accentuate its breathtaking scale. We didn’t have time to get down onto the platform but it’s definitely on my list of places to return to and explore further. With the light fading, we headed for home, stopping briefly at the top to admire the incoming sunset washing over the still snow-capped mountains on the horizon.