It was hard to drag ourselves away from our outstanding Free campsite at Sulphur Creek, but when we did we meandered along to find more adventures.
Stanley is a town on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia. Travelling west it is the second-last major township on the north-west coast of Tasmania.
Stanley is a truly remarkable town. Not only is it steeped in the early history of Tasmania (for it was from here that the mighty Van Diemen’s Land company operated from Highfield House) but it is also a town full of beautifully preserved historic buildings.
Not surprisingly it is a classified town. As a bonus it has one of the most remarkable landforms anywhere in Australia: the Nut, the stump of an old volcano, towers over the town. Although the Nut can be bitterly cold when the winds are blowing as it was the day we visited, it is a magnet for everyone who wants to get a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
Stanley was named after Edward Smith-Stanley, known as Lord Stanley who, at the time, was the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. He later became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom three times. Until 1842 the town was also known as Circular Head, a name it had been given by Matthew Flinders, and is still used today in marketing and tourism brochures.
Stanley is a tiny romantic town with quaint streets and beautiful views making for a perfect leisure seeker’s retreat. It is used by many for that special romantic getaway. Sitting on a slender sliver of land jutting out into the Bass Strait on Tasmania’s northwest coast it is remarkably well-preserved.
“We are asleep until we fall in love!”War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
With many colonial buildings surrounding the port and dominated by the massive volcanic plug “the Nut”. The plug rises 150 metres out of the water and it over shadows the small towns skyline. But the name of the volcanic plug belies Stanley’s quaintness. Called “The Nut,” Stanley’s cheeky geological feature is what visitors remember most. Volcanic rock spewed into the sky and cooled before it had time to come back down to the ground. Now this massive geological feature is a world-famous marvel.
It offers 360° views from the top. It is a strenuous hike that takes you 150 meters above the sea where you can marvel at Tasmania’s beautiful and rugged northwest coastline. Or you can opt to take the chairlift if the steep hike is too much. Be sure to look below for sea lions basking in the sun and tiny Penguins coming back from a day’s hunt out in the Bass Strait. Even though we love a good hike we decided to take the historic chairlift. At the base of the Nut we were quite protected but as that chairlift rose over the crest the 35 knots of wind darn near lifted us off our seats. The walk around the top of the Nut is very picturesque but in the weather conditions we found ourselves in it was one of the quickest laps anyone visiting has achieved.
Stanley is rich in history but its importance as a port has faded through time. Now Stanley is a quaint little fishing port that relies heavily on tourism. Tourists flock to this small peninsula for its remarkable geological feature, it’s beautifully preserved colonial buildings and fresh boutique seafood.
Compared to the rest of the world, Tasmania’s northwest coast is rather sparsely populated, Stanley itself has a recorded 560 residents. That means the ocean waters beyond are some of the wildest and least touched marine habitats on the planet. And you can taste that unspoiled natural beauty when you order seafood in one of many Stanley restaurants. The fish and chips alone draw seafood lovers from all over Australia.
As the westerly winds were blowing cold on the day we visited (in the middle of Summer) we chose to eat indoors and try the seafood chowder. Thankfully it lived up to the waitress’ enthusiastic description, served with a fresh hot loaf of crusty bread, it was perfect to warm us up.
We finished our day with a walk around the town popping into each of the quaint shops and particularly the ones that showcased local produce and alcoholic refreshments. We didn’t quite know the extent of the local production of whiskey, gin and vodka not including the vineyards and their fine wines. Of course from these visits we have topped up the larder for our next few days 🙄.
Join us next time when we explore Highfield House.
“I’ve never had a moment’s doubt. I love you. I believe in you completely. You are my dearest one. My reason for life.”Atonement by Ian McEwan
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