Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
Clifton Beach (T 408) is a popular surfing beach located about 25 km southeast of Hobart. The Clifton Beach Road runs to the western end of the beach, providing access to the growing community and the Clifton Beach Surf Life Saving Club, which was established in 1963. The entire beach is backed by a coastal reserve, which incorporates coastal dunes behind the central and eastern part of the beach (Fig. 4.72). The now vegetated dunes have transgressed up to 300 m inland rising to more than 20 m, with dense vegetation behind, then the shallow southern shores of circular Pipe Clay Lagoon. The beach is bordered by 54 m high Cape Deslacs in the east and 50 m high rocky cliffs in the west that run south for 3.5 km rising to 100 m high at Cape Contrariety.
The beach is 2.1 km long and faces south-southeast into Storm Bay exposing it to all southerly swell (Fig. 4.73). Waves average 1-1.5 m and maintain a moderately steep beach fronted by a continuous bar which is cut by rips every 200 m during and following high waves, with permanent rips against the rocks at each end.
Swimming: Clifton can be a hazardous beach, particularly when waves exceed 1 m and rips are present. The safest swimming is toward the western end in the patrolled area. Stay clear of the rocks and avoid the rips.
Surfing: Clifton picks up any south swell and will always produce a series of beach breaks, which work best up to 2 m. The southern breaks are accessible from the surf life saving club car park, while to access the northern end of the beach requires a trek over the dunes. Cape Contrariety and Cape Direction mark the southern boundaries of the South Arm peninsula, which separates Frederick Henry Bay from the entrance to the Derwent. River. The 10 km of predominantly sandy shoreline between the two capes face south into Storm Bay and are the highest energy section of coast within the bay. Five moderate energy beaches (T 409-413) are located between the two capes.