The jewel in the crown
Carlton Beach is a popular summer surfing destination, located 40km east of Hobart. Access along the beach is provided at a number of public entry points. Public toilets and designated car parks are located at both Carlton and Park Beach.
The beach is 2.7km long and faces south-southwest towards the entrance of Frederick Henry Bay – 15km to the south. The beach is bound by the Carlton River mouth and Carlton Bluff to the east and Spectacle Head to the west. The entire beach is backed by coastal reserve, containing 10-15m of small dunes. A mixture of holiday houses and permanent residences sit alongside the coastal reserve, overlooking the beach itself.
While the beach is set deep in Frederick Henry Bay, due to its southerly orientation it receives most of the south swell entering the bay, with waves averaging 1m. These interact with the fine beach sand to maintain a low gradient and surf zone with a 50-100m wide bar which is at times has rips spaced approximately every 200m 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 100m wide Carlton River mouth.
Carlton Beach is a potentially hazardous beach, particularly when waves exceed 1m and rips intensify. The safest place to swim is at the Surf Club in the patrolled area. Watch out for rips and stay close inshore on the attached portion of the bars.
Carlton usually offers beach breaks, however during a large southerly swell the Carlton River mouth bars can produce good lefts. Rights are common at the Spectacle Head end of the beach. This area is also popular with beginners and surf schools.