Stanley sits on a sliver of land jutting into Bass Strait on Tasmania’s northwest coast. This quaint seaside town nestled under the sheer-sided stump of an old 150-metre-high volcano called ‘The Nut’ is steeped in history. The town’s streets are lined with perfectly preserved colonial cottages that by today’s standards would be ‘tiny homes!’ Some of the old buildings have been transformed into galleries, gift shops, boutiques, and lovely eateries.
Although the population sits at just over 550, Stanley swells with visitors who come to dive into Tasmania’s fascinating history, climb The Nut, do a spot of fishing, or take in the gorgeous coastal views from the town. Stanley tours through Highfield Historic Site take visitors on an amazing journey back to colonial life, while a wander along Church Street or Alexander Terrace shows off some of the delightful architecture of the era.
Treat yourself this Christmas with the awe-inspiring sights and tastes of Tasmania with 11 days discovering Port Arthur Penal Settlement, Tasman Arch, Derwent Valley, Eaglehawk Neck, Bruny Island and more. We celebrate Christmas in Hobart with a long sumptuous lunch and spend New Years Eve in Launceston. You’ll be tempted by heritage, culture, taste sensations and glorious natural scenery whilst also visiting Cradle Mountain, Strahan and Launceston.
Stanley continues to win top tourism awards and for a tiny town, there is certainly and lot to see and do. The Nut is one of the main drawcards. Some love to do the steep climb up this impressive landmark, while others prefer to relax and let the chairlift do the work. Once at the top, the 360-degree views over Tasmania’s rugged northwest coastline are simply breathtaking.
Between September and April, The Nut is an important breeding ground for short-tailed shearwaters, and you can see their burrows near the track. If you look down, you might also spot sea lions basking on the rocks or fairy penguins heading home at dusk.
The Stanley Discovery Museum is worth a visit while in town and check out the red phone booth next to the post office. This is where Tasmania’s telephone service was first connected via submarine cable to the mainland in 1936.
Highfield Historic Site is a fine example of early colonial architecture. Building commenced in 1826 using convict labour and was completed in 1834, marking the first European occupation in North-West Tasmania.
The homestead, owned by Edward Curr, the wealthy proprietor of Van Diemen’s Land Company, originally extended across 350,000 acres of agricultural land, but now sits on nine and a half hilltop acres.
Tours take in the homestead, a church, a classroom, stables, and a barn with several more outbuildings and beautifully maintained gardens. From the large French windows, the views over Stanley, The Nut, and across the rugged coastline to Bass Strait are truly magnificent.
In 2016, Highfield Historic Site and Stanley were transformed for filming of the Hollywood romantic drama, The Light Between Oceans. The story is about a lighthouse keeper and his wife who rescue a baby from an adrift boat and raise it as their own.
The closest major town to Stanley is Burnie, seventy-eight kilometres, or just over an hour away. Devonport is a 90-minute drive (125 kilometres) along the picturesque northwest Tasmanian coastline. Launceston is two and a half hours (225 kilometres) from Stanley while the capital, Hobart on the other side of Tasmania, is around five hours away.
Stanley has stunning beaches. The most popular for swimming are Godfreys Beach, which is also a great spot for surfing and fishing, and Tatlows Beach, a family-friendly beach with clean, shallow waters.
Stanley is a small town with a population of just over 550 people.
Matthew Flinders named the town Circular Head. In 1827 the port opened, and by 1842, Stanley was formerly recognised as a town. The name was changed to Stanley after Lord Stanley, the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. He went on to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom three times over.
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