Winner
Tassie's Top Tiny Town 2023

Stanley - 2023 Tassie's Tiny Tourism Town
Stanley - 2023 Tassie's Tiny Tourism Town - People's Choice

STANLEY – EXPLORE THE ANCIENT WONDER…

Hey there! Have you heard of Stanley? My family and I recently stayed at the Stanley Recreation Grounds unpowered campground and the views were absolutely breathtaking! We couldn’t get enough of the Nut and the beach. But the real highlight was exploring the ancient geological wonders of the area. The landscapes here are a testament to the incredible power of the earth’s ancient forces.

HERO PHOTO 2 Stanley at night
Stanley at night
Hursey Fisherman catching lunch
Hursey fisherman catching lunch
Dip Falls
Dip Falls
Highfield Historic site Credit Poon wei
Highfield Historic House
Angels Share and quaint Stanley town
Angel’s Share
HERO PHOTO 1 Stanley under the rainbow
Stanley under the rainbow

Hey there! Have you heard of Stanley? My family and I recently stayed at the Stanley Recreation Grounds unpowered campground and the views were absolutely breathtaking! We couldn’t get enough of the Nut and the beach. But the real highlight was exploring the ancient geological wonders of the area. The landscapes here are a testament to the incredible power of the earth’s ancient forces.

Stanley is a historic town, but it feels like we stepped into an ancient landscape with its dramatic cliffs and waterfalls. The Nut, a fully exposed lava pond that towers over the surrounding area, was a must-see for us. The strangely shaped outcrops along the beaches look like fluid lava frozen in time – it’s a stunningly beautiful landscape that is unique to Australia. We were immersed in the ancient landscape of cliffs, waterfalls, rocky beaches, and dramatic soils.

We took a drive from Stanley to Rocky Cape and we were blown away by the scenery! We saw rainbows as the weather changed from horrid to glorious within minutes. Rocky Cape National Park felt like a Jurassic wonderland and the kids were mesmerized by the Aboriginal stories and views of the Aboriginal cave. The rocks in this area are some of the oldest in Tasmania and the ancient quartzites have been uplifted and folded to produce amazing patterns millions of years ago.

We also explored other beaches on the way back to Stanley, each with a unique rocky topography that tells the story of this ancient world. Brickmakers Beach was amazing with Fretwork and honeycomb-like weathering. We saw evidence of iron and minerals in the highly-sculptured interbedded rock formations that were deposited millions of years ago. The kids loved paddling in the ocean and making sand castles.

Of course, we couldn’t leave town without trying the famous ‘paddock-to-plate’ seafood from Hursey Seafoods at Stanley wharf. The giant lobster on the restaurant roof made for a dramatic backdrop and we enjoyed their signature dish of Southern Rock Lobster while the kids coloured and ate fish n chips.

The Nut, the strange basalt plug that defines this part of the coast, was also on our to-do list. The chairlift was so much fun and the views were unbelievable. Walking atop this cooled lava pond was simply breathtaking and the kids enjoyed reading the children’s storyboards and taking quizzes on the way around. We relished in the vista from the chairlift on the way down, the hills so green they almost hurt our eyes! We even had ice cream from the Nut café before heading to the playground at Godfreys beach and enjoying awe-inspiring views of Bass Strait, the Nut, and green hills.

We made time to visit Highfield Historic Site and step back in time to the 1800s. The head of operations for the Van Diemen’s Land Company, this 1820s outpost is carefully and creatively restored and the portraits of the locals on the walls were fascinating. We lost track of time as we wandered through the rooms and outbuildings, imagining life in the past.

We also made sure to explore Stanley’s Greenhills, stopping at The Giant Picture Frame for a selfie with breathtaking views of the Nut and Stanley. Climbing the nearby lookout was a must and we enjoyed the calming vistas over the Bass Strait and the nearby islands.

One of the highlights of our trip was the meal we had at the Stanley Hotel. We tried the Cape Grim Beef and it did not disappoint – the steak melted in our mouths! Later that evening, under an incredible display of stars, we watched the penguins from the viewing platform as they made their daily pilgrimage to shore. Seeing such gorgeous little birds wobbling across the rocky beach to their burrows was a highlight for the kids.

Even with just two days to explore, we managed to fit in golf at the stunning nine-hole golf course beside our campground. We rented clubs and took in the Nut’s watchful gaze. We also visited Mawbanna’s Dip Falls, which was amazing! The recent rain made the falls thundering and powerful, an incredible sight to behold. We had lunch at the nearby Blue Hills Honey and the kids enjoyed playing in the bee-themed playground and exploring the interpretation room.

No trip to Stanley is complete without enjoying the Historic walk through the township, re-living stories of bygone days. We had a blast exploring the township and finished off the day with fishing and a BBQ. Family life on the road is just so good!

STANLEY ITINERARY
Target audience – RV FAMILY

Enjoy breakfast at ‘home’ at the Stanley Golf Club RV site, soaking up the views of the Nut and beach.

ROCKY CAPE

Head out of Stanley towards Rocky Cape National Park, grabbing a parks pass and some Savoury Toast from the Rocky Cape Roadhouse, to further enjoy the park experience. Explore the lighthouse vistas and take the kids for a walk to the viewing platform of the Aboriginal cave. Immerse yourself in the pristine beaches and soak up the incredible views of the ancient Rocky Cape.

EXPLORE THE BEACHES

Do a beach ‘crawl’, stopping to explore the dog-friendly beaches of Hellyer, Crayfish Creek and Detention River on the way back to Stanley. Each one with its own weird rock creations and topography. Let the kids paddle and make sand castles while you enjoy the vistas.

SEAFOOD LUNCH WITH A DIFFERENCE

You know they serve seafood when there’s a giant lobster on the roof. Head to Hursey’s Seafood for a lobster lunch to remember. Admire the red fishing fleet that plies the wild waters of the north west coast as you enjoy lobster and fish and chips while the kids colour in and enjoy fish n chips.

TIME TO CONQUER THE NUT

Head up the Nut. It doesn’t take you long to get up if you ride The Nut Chair Lift, or choose to walk. It is incredibly steep, so stop and take photos to catch your breath and congratulate everyone coming down. The shared camaraderie of aching legs and a sense of achievement is part of the charm of this experience!

Enjoy the stunning walk around the top of the Nut, the remnants of a cooled lava pond from a long extinct volcanic feeder pipe. The kids will enjoy the interpretation panels and keep an eye out for wildlife as there’s lots to encounter, from the pademelons and wallabies to the soaring sea eagles and mutton bird colonies, you’re bound to get up close and personal with some of the natives and see if you can spot the elusive Stanley snail.

Make sure you explore the Nut Café and enjoy an ice cream and reward yourselves after conquering the Nut.

GODFREYS BEACH

Wander down to Godfreys beach and let the kids enjoy the playground before walking the beach and soaking up the views of the Highfield hills in on direction and the Nut in the other.

HISTORIC HIGHFIELD

Head past Godfreys Beach to Highfield Historic Site, and explore some of the fascinating local history from the early 1800s. The interpretation panels are incredible and you start to realise the ‘portraits’ of the early settlers are actually of locals you’ve been meeting around town. Get a little freaked out in the upstairs rooms…they are a little eerie! The gardens and stone barns are a picturesque way to soak up views of the ever-present Nut.

GIANT PICTURE FRAME

Finish your tour of the Stanley Peninsula with a drive around Greenhills Road, being sure to stop in at The Giant Picture Frame for a ‘selfie’ while you absorb the breathtaking views of the Nut and Stanley. Climb the lookout to enjoy the calming vistas over the Bass Strait and the nearby islands.

COUNTRY PUB

Time for a bit of ‘surf n turf’ at the historic Stanley Hotel Bistro , enjoy a delicious meal of local seafood or Cape Grim Beef with locally sourced produce, paired with fine Tassie wine. They’ve got colouring in to keep the littlies entertained. Make sure to check out the stunning bluestone wine cellar, the oldest along the coast. There’s no pokies or slot machines here, it is true country pub style and the locals love to play ‘brackets and jam’ in the bar on Sunday afternoons. If you kick up your heels and join them you might be invited to sing a tune.

SAY GOOD NIGHT TO THE PENGUINS

The historic cemetery at the base of the Nut, surely the most picturesque resting place in Tasmania. The little penguins share this space, with their nests under the bushes facing out to sea. Learn about the lives of the European settlers and those who shaped Stanley’s early days in this harsh settlement. You can almost imagine their lives in this remote outpost as you gaze across to Highfield Historic Site on the hill across the bay.

Head to the Godfreys Beach Penguin Viewing Platform at the base of the Nut. Watch the little penguins, illuminated by the soft red glow of lights, wobble along the rocks to their burrows in the scrub next to the historic cemetery. That strange high pitched chirpy warble accompanying you home is the sound of their calls as they make their evening pilgrimage.

Check out the cafes in town and take your pick of one to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

GOLF!

It’s time to hire some clubs and enjoy a round of golf at Stanley Golf club, with its spectacular views of the Nut and short but challenging nine-hole course.

MAWBANNA

Take the short drive to Mawbanna and enjoy the interpretive experience at Blue Hills Honey. The kids can enjoy the bee themed playground while you enjoy a fabulous lunch at Colony Cafe.

Head a little further along to enjoy the thundering Dip Falls and Big Tree for a taste of the Tarkine wilderness.

EXPLORE STANLEY TOWNSHIP

Head back to Stanley and take a short stroll to the port, under the towering Nut, the remains of an extinct volcanic plug. Soak in the views of the local fishing fleets moored under the Nut. If you’re in luck you’ll see eagles gliding on the airstreams of the Nut. Breathe some of the freshest air in the world that has travelled across the roaring forties to you.

Follow along the app that tells the stories of Stanleys history and relive the past as you explore the self-guided walk through the township.

Take in the history at Joe Lyons Cottage, the birthplace of the only Tasmanian-born prime minister; his grandfather built the Ship Inn in 1849. Marvel at the ancient volume of Shakespeare laying on the mantlepiece, which was picked up on the beach a century ago. Read all about the history of this iconic Tasmanian, born in the little town at the edge of the world.

SHOPS & GALLERIES

Stroll into the centre of town, explore the Hearts and Crafts volunteer shop in the centre of town and the Discovery Centre with quirky shell sculptures and an incredible collection of historical items and local stories. Stroll the historic township and soak up the views of charming buildings nestled under the Nut.

Wander down to the shops and explore Provedore 24, , The Brown Dog , Stamps of Stanley , Stanley Hotel Gifts , Touchwood Gallery , Sticks&Stones Shells&Bones and Cow n Calf Art Gallery and give in it to the urge to buy art; after all the blackboard outside does say “Earth without art is ‘Eh’”. Exploring the streets of Stanley is definitely a mood boosting experience as you soak up the views of the beach and the historic cottages sheltering against the Nut.

AFTERNOON TIPPLE

Finish the day with a tipple at Angels Share, a small cellar door with fine tasmanian wines and spirits and luxe products, including some for the kids. The stunning welcoming space and friendly locals will have you enjoying the atmosphere in no time.

FISHING & BEACH BBQ

Enjoy some fishing off the docks under the towering Nut before a beach BBQ at Godfreys Beach playground.

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