Back Roads: Mar 26

Guest presenter Joe O’Brien travels to one of Australia’s most perilous big wave surf breaks: Shipstern Bluff.  

This week, Back Roads adventures to the Tasman Peninsula, on the south eastern tip of Tasmania.

Guest presenter Joe O’Brien travels to the Tasman Peninsula, just an hour’s drive from Hobart but a place that stirs people’s passion for the wild. Featuring spectacular contrasts – from rolling hills and tranquil bays, to towering cliffs and roaring seas, it draws people who love adventure, risk and getting away from it all.  

Joe meets a young surfer Noah Hassett and his mum Emma, who take Joe to one of Australia’s most perilous big wave surf breaks: Shipstern Bluff.  

These freezing waters were once teeming with giant kelp, which provided a nursery for marine life, and a buffer from shipping and storms. Local dive shop owner Mick Baron takes Joe underwater to see how he and a team of scientists are trying to revive this endangered species. 

Joe walks on country with Palawa man, Caleb Pedder, who shares a powerful story about his connection to his ancestor Fanny Cochrane Smith – the only indigenous Tasmanian to have been recorded speaking in language.  

And just off the coast is the treacherous Tasman Island, where Australia’s highest operating lighthouse stands. Before the lighthouse was automated in 1976, lighthouse keepers and their families lived on the island. Joe travels to the island and meets a former lighthouse keeper, Karl Robottom, who worked there in the early 70’s and Carol Jackson, who lived on the island with her family and lighthouse keeper father in the 1950’s and the 1970’s. Both have fabulous stories to tell and are still scintillated by the island’s breathtaking beauty and isolation. 

The people who live, work and play here know how special this place is, and they’re determined to protect it for generations to come. 

8pm tonight on ABC.

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