Frederick Henry Bay

Frederick Henry Bay is a body of water to the southeast of Hobart. It is located to the east of the South Arm Peninsula, and west of the Tasman Peninsula. Towns on the coast of the bay include Lauderdale, Seven Mile Beach, Dodges Ferry and Primrose Sands. The bay is accessible via Storm Bay from the south, and provides further access to Norfolk Bay to its east.

Frederick Henry Bay is circled by some of Hobart's most popular beaches and has become home to many of Hobart's beachside suburbs and resort areas.

Frederick Henry Bay is perhaps the best spot in Tasmania to see whales from land. Southern right wales and humpback whales travel past the bay on their way to their breeding areas in other parts of Australia, but some do stick around to give birth in Tassie, giving people the chance to see them from the shore. The best time to see whales is May to July.

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South Arm Peninsula

South Arm Peninsula, to the west of Frederick Henry Bay, is one of Hobart's forgotten places. Forming the eastern bank of the lower Derwent Estuary, this U-shaped peninsula is certainly popular with the surfing set, as the beaches on its southern shores are when Hobart's surfers head when they go seeking the perfect wave to ride. Those in the know are aware that Pipe Clay Lagoon near Cremorne produces some of Tasmania s supply of fine oysters. But many who seek an interesting day out don't venture down that way, and for many who do, the winding road beyond Clifton Beach seems to head nowhere, so they turn back, not realising what a relaxing time awaits them around the next bend or two. More

Lauderdale is situated on the eastern side of a thin Isthmus that connects the South Arm peninsula to the mainland. It is popular for fishing, boating and wind-surfing, and is close to the airport. Lauderdale is becoming increasingly popular as a place to live with young people, its relaxed beachside surroundings and lifestyle becoming increasingly appreciated.

The majority of Lauderdale's population live along Roches Beach, which faces Frederick Henry Bay. Along with nearby Seven Mile Beach, it is a popular residential area for people working in the Hobart CBD. A drive from Hobart to Lauderdale and then on to South Arm peninsula is a pleasant half day trip, and gives a different view of Hobart from the east bank of the Derwent estuary.

Lauderdale Beach is a popular suburban beach, which faces east and is sheltered from the southern swells and Tasmania s predominant south westerly winds. The southern section of the beach faces northeast, while the remaining beach north of Ralphs Bay Canal essentially faces east. The southern beach section is very protected and usually receives low waves, 0.5 m high.

Roches Beach

Roches Beach is located approximately 17 km east of Hobart on the western shores of Frederick Henry Bay. The beach is exposed to larger waves (0.5  1.0 m) than Lauderdale Beach that have travelled 20 km into Frederick Henry Bay. Roches usually has a narrow dry high tide beach, commonly containing cusps with a wider shallow low tide beach. Rips occasionally occur with surf and increase in strength when waves exceed 1 metre (generally during winter).

Lauderdale and Roches Beach is overlooked by Single Hill, which is just to the North. Beyond Single Hill is the town of Seven Mile Beach. The view from Single Hill gives a clear view of the town of Lauderdale.

Ralphs Bay Canal

Construction of the canal through Ralph's Bay Neck at Lauderdale resulted from deputations to Parliament in 1911, 1912 and 1913. After an aborted start on dredging in 1914, construction was further delayed by the First World War. Clamour from farmers and orchardists resulted in a contract being let in 1924 for a canal 3 metres deep and 10 metres wide at water level. Excavation proved difficult, storms filled the eastern end with sand, anticipated breakwaters in Frederick Henry Bay to prevent silting were too expensive, and the project was abandoned. The body of the canal has limited use for water activities, the dredged western approach is barely discernible and the eastern end is now blocked by a substantial land barrier. The original swing bridge has been replaced with a concrete culvert. Text: UTAS

Clifton Beach

Clifton Beach is one of Hobart's most popular surfing beaches. Situated some 35Km SE of Hobart it is about a 30 min. drive from the city centre. Clifton Beach is the home of the Clifton Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. One side of the Clifton Beach peninsula faces across Pipe Clay Lagoon towards Cremorne and the other looks onto Frederick Henry Bay.

The central and northern part of the beach is backed by the Cape Deslacs Nature Reserve, which incorporates vegetated coastal dunes and bird breeding habitats. The beach is bordered by 40 m high Cape Deslacs in the northeast and 50 m high rocky cliffs in the south that run southeast for 3.5 km rising to 100 m high at Cape Contrariety. The beach faces southeast into Storm Bay exposing it to southerly swells. Waves average 1 to 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.

Calverts Beach, to the south of Clifton Beach, is another popular surfing beach located 14 km from Lauderdale. Calverts Beach is adjacent to Hope Beach with Goats Bluff separating the two beaches.


Cremorne is a sleepy coastal community situated some 30Km SE of Hobart it is about a 30 min. drive from the city centre. Cremorne is one of the very few locations in the area for launching boats onto Frederick Henry Bay. Cremorne faces across Pipe Clay lagoon towards Clifton Beach with a beach fronting onto Frederick Henry Bay.

Cremorne Beach is a popular beach for locals. It faces east and is sheltered from the southern swells and Tasmania s predominant south westerly winds. The point at the southern end of the beach is also a renowned fishing spot and a launching place for recreational fishing boats.

Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach, situated alongside the end of the Hobart International Airport's main runway, is a former holiday home area that offers one of the best 'walking' beaches in the Hobart area. TCurving along a natural sand spit, it extends east from the Seven Mile Beach residential area to Sandy Point. There is a general store at the western end of the beach, day use areas with picnic facilities, showers and toilets, a children's playground and a range of holiday accommodation.

Seven Mile Beach is the closest surfing beach to Hobart. Its long crescent of sand on the northern shores ofFrederick Henry Bay is located 15 km east of the city. The Esplanade reaches the southern end of the beach and Surf Road parallels the back of the beach for 3 km. Between the road and the beach is a forested beach reserve, and the Tangara Trail. At the southern end of Seven Mile Beach there is a store and beach boat launching area next to Acton Creek, which drains across the beach. Northeast along the beach are three day use area reserves. Day use area No.3 has the Parks and Wildlife South East Office.

The beach is 10 km long and essentially faces southeast, curving round to face south to south west at the eastern Sandy Point end. Sandy Point forms the eastern entrance to Pitt Water, a large open estuary behind the beach. The only settlement, called Seven Mile Beach, is toward the southern end. The beach usually has low to moderate waves, 0.5 to 1 m high, that have travelled 20 km into Frederick Henry Bay.

The beach usually has a narrow dry high tide beach, commonly containing cusps, with a wider shallow low tide beach. Rips occur with surf and increase in strength when waves exceed 1 metre.

The mudflats of Five Mile Beach are located on the southern coastline of Pittwater, an internationally recognised area of environmental significance. This is a good area for easy, level walking as outlined in the companion booklet, 'Popular walks in Clarence'.

Dodges Ferry

Dodges Ferry is a small township on the eastern side of the entrance to Pittwater in south eastern Tasmania. Dodges Ferry was named after Ralph Dodge (1791-1871) who operated a ferry service across Pittwater from the 1820s. It is now a popular tourist locale. Dodges Ferry is 40 km east of Hobart, 13 km south of Sorell.

Like many of the settlements on Frederick Henry Bay, Dodges Ferry has long been a popular holiday resort for Tasmanians, especially for families. With sandy beaches and rocky headlands close at hand, it lies at the entrance to the Pittwater estuary and has a reputation for safe swimming, fishing and boating. Until the 1960s, Dodges Ferry comprised mainly of beach shacks, but an influx of Hobart commuters has seen a change to more modern, larger homes and facilities.

The bay is placed third in terms of Tasmanian boating popularity - equal to the inland fishing havens of Great and Arthurs Lake. The idyllic sea-side village of Cremorne, located 25 km from Hobart between Pipe Clay Lagoon and Frederick Henry Bay, is home to the only boat ramp access on the western shore of the bay.

Carlton Beach

Carlton Beach is a popular summer surfing beach located 40 km east of Hobart to the east of Dodges Ferry. 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. 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.

Okines Beach is located immediately north of Dodges Ferry and runs north for 1 km forming the eastern shore of the inner entrance to Pittwater. The beach is sheltered by the entrance tidal shoals and its estuarine location with usually calm conditions at the shore.

Primrose Sands

Primrose Sands is one of a number of popular beachside communities on the north shores of Frederick Henry Bay. It is both a dormitory suburb of Hobart and a holiday resort popular with families. Primrose Sands is 48 km east of Hobart, 22 km south east of Sorell.

Naming Frederick Henry Bay

Of the localities associated with the discovery of Tasmania, much interest surrounds Frederick Henry Bay, and its neighbourhood, which lay to the east of the city of Hobart. The bay's name has in fact been dislocated from its rightful position on the map to another part of the coast, where it is now permanently fixed.

Dutch navigator Abel Tasman coined the name Frederick Hendrick Bay in December 1644 when he sailed the south coast of Tasmania, but in fact he never saw the bay that is now known by that name. The bay he named in honour of the Dutch Prince Frederick Hendrick (1584-1647), Prince of Orange, was in the immediate vicinity of his anchorage on the north-east coast of Forestier Peninsula, however the records of Tasman's voyage leave its exact location in doubt. The journal contains no names of places, and the account of where the flag planting took place indicates what he referred to as Frederick Henry Bay may have been what we today call Marion Bay, though his charts indicate it was the inner port of Marion Bay, now called Blackmans Bay.

A colleague of James Cook, the British explorer Tobias Furneaux, appears to have been the person who gave the name of Frederick Henry Bay to the wrong bay. In 1773 when he visited the area, Furneaux mistook what he named - and what is still known today as - Frederick Henry Bay for the place where Tasman had landed. As Furneaux's charts were used to prepare the Admiralty charts in use, the name still applies to the wrong bay.

The number of French names given to geographical features around the bay are evidence of the visits of three French expeditions to the area at a time when France was looking seriously at establishing a colonial outpost in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). The first was in 1792 when a well-equipped French expedition arrived under the command of Antoine Raymond Joseph de Bruni D'Entrecasteaux aboard the Recherche and L'Esperance. Amongst the complement were scientists, botanists, a gardener and hydrographers. They took many natural science specimens, charted great skill and named many features.

While they were to continue to give generally adverse accounts of New Holland, their descriptions of the land and people of Tasmania provided some relief to the predominantly negative reports of previous explorers. D'Entrecasteaux observed that the tribe they encountered "seems to offer the most perfect image of pristine society, in which men have not yet been stirred by passions, or corrupted by the vices caused by civilization".

With the approval of Napoleon Bonaparte, then the French First Consul, another two-ship expedition left France in 1800 led by Thomas Nicolas Baudin. The two ships employed were Le Geographe under Baudin and Le Naturaliste under J.F. Emmanuel Hamelin. Baudin and his team visited Frederick Henry Bay and one junior officer in particular, Louis Claude De Saules de Freycinet, came away convinced that Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) and the Frederick Henry Bay area in particular, had great potential as a future French colony. De Freycinet was to return later and embark on further exploration of the Australia coast in L'Uranie in 1818-20. His was the last French expedition given the primary tasks of exploring the Australian coast.

Where is it?:
Frederick Henry Bay is to the south east of Hobart.