The beaches of Devonport
T 1136-1137 BLUFF BEACH (DEVONPORT SLSC)
No. Beach Rating Type Length
T1136 Bluff Beach HT 4 LT 4 R + LTT 300m
T1137 Bluff Beach (E)HT 4 LT 5 R + Rock Flats 700m
Spring & neap tidal range = 2.5 m & 2.1 m
Patrols: Devonport SLSC - DEC to MAR weekends & public holidays, Noon to 5PM
Devonport is the largest town on the north coast of Tasmania. It has a population of 25 000 and is the major port of entry for people arriving by car ferry from Melbourne. As the ferry passes through the narrow entrance to the Mersey River, the Bluff Beach is one of the first sights. The city is located on both banks of the river and divided into East Devonport, Devonport and North Devonport. The city has all facilities for travellers and tourists, as well as extensive coastal reserves backing the beaches and river. There are three main surfing beaches (T 1132 ,1136 & 1137), all located in North Devonport 1-2 km from the city centre. The beaches are bordered by rocks and bluffs and vary in orientation and exposure, providing a range of beach and surfing conditions (Fig. map).
Devonport’s main surfing beaches and the surf club are located either side of The Bluff.
Bluff Beach (T 1136) is a low gradient 300 m long northeast-facing, sandy beach located on the more protected eastern side of Mersey Bluff. The 20 m high Bluff and its rich aboriginal occupation sites is a major tourist destination and provides a good view of the beach. The beach is backed by a large foreshore reserve containing the Devonport Surf Life Saving Club complex including a fine-dining resuarant, cafe, clubhouse, patrol rooms, first aid room, craft storage and court yard. Other facilities include a skate park, large car park and picnic and playground facilities. Additional recreational facilities are also available on the Bluff. Waves average 0.5 m, while tides range up to 3 m, and combine to produce a very narrow high tide beach, with waves sometimes reaching the low backing seawall, while at low tide the low gradient beach may be up to 100 m wide. Rocks and rock flats begin to dominate off the eastern end of the beach.
Beach T 1137 commences at the low rocks that mark the end of Bluff Beach and curves to the southeast then east for 700 m to the western training wall of the Mersey River mouth. The wide reserve continues the length of the beach to the river. The beach is steep and narrow and composed of cobbles, with the intertidal rock flats extending 100m offshore. The Mersey River surf break runs along the side of the flats.
Swimming: Bluff Beach is the least hazardous, because of the usually lower waves and fewer rips and the presence of the surf club. Coles Beach is moderately hazardous with rips forming when waves exceed 0.5 m, while Back Beach is one of the more hazardous on the west north coast, and is only suitable for board surfing.
Surfing: Coles Beach is the more popular, while more experienced surfers will also surf Back Beach being careful to avoid the many rocks. During a bigger north swell there are also breaks along the outer banks of the Mersey River mouth.
The Mersey River mouth at Devonport divides the lower energy western from the more exposed eastern sections of the north coast.