Carlton Beach (T 392) is a popular summer surfing beach located 40 km east of Hobart. The Carlton Beach Road runs off the Carlton Road and provides good access to the beach. The beach is 2.7 km long and faces south-southwest towards the entrance to Frederick Henry Bay 15 km to the south. The Carlton River mouth, its deep inlet and neighbouring Carlton Bluff form the eastern boundary with 20 m high Spectacle Head to the west (Fig. 4.67). The entire beach is backed by a coastal reserve containing a 10-15 m high foredune, then houses straddling each side of the Carlton Beach Road. Several walking tracks cross the dune to the beach. The Carlton Park Surf Life Saving Club (CPBSLSC), founded in 1975, is located in a recreation reserve toward the eastern end of the beach (Fig. 4.68). While the beach is set deep within Frederick Henry Bay, owing to its southerly orientation it receives most southerly swell entering the bay, with waves averaging about 1 m and occasionally higher. These interact with the fine beach sand to maintain a low gradient beach and surf zone, with a 50-100 m wide bar often cut by rips spaced about every 200 m along the beach. In addition there is a permanent rip against Spectacle Head, and strong tidal currents flowing off the eastern end of the beach out of the 100 m wide Carlton River mouth.
Within the actual Shellharbour is a 60 m long stretch of protected sand (NSW 382). Two attached breakwaters and a 40 m wide entrance protect the cluster of moored boats and the beach, with conditions usually calm inside (fig. 4.311). The Harbour was a thriving little port from the 1850s until the railway came in the 1880s. It recreational amenities were enhanced with the first baths built in 1895. Today the harbour is surrounded by a foreshore reserve with parks and picnic facilities and the shops of Shellharbour behind. A rock pool is also located on the rocks just south of the Harbour wall. This is a lovely spot for a picnic and swimming in the rock pool.
The Scamander River flows though a meandering lagoon to the 500 m wide river mouth. While the river is usually blocked during floods and high flow the beach to either side can be washed away with strong tidal flows through the mouth. The river mouth shoals also produce some good surf breaks. Steels Beach (T 115) commences at the river mouth and trends due south for 4.9 km curving slightly to the southeast in lee of the boundary Henderson Point at Falmouth. The Scamander surf life saving club patrols the area south of the river mouth. The beach receives waves averaging up to 1.5 m which maintain a well developed rip-dominated 100 m wide surf zone, with up to 20 rips forming along the beach, and at times linking to form a continuous longshore trough. When Henderson Inlet is open strong tidal currents and a rip flow along the point. The beach is backed by a 50-100 m wide hummocky vegetated foredune, then a continuous 200 m wide wetland, which links with the lagoon in the south, the lagoon deflected 2.5 km south to the inlet. The only access is in the north from the southern section of Scamander, with a 200 m long walk across the wetland and dune to the northern tip of the beach. When the lagoon mouth is blocked the southern end of the beach can be accessed from Falmouth.