Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

Stanley and the Nut - North Western Tasmania - a Real Olde Worlde Jewel

Out on a headland, in the rugged north western region of Tasmania is a little town with beautiful old buildings. Some look as if they could be dolls houses, such is their beauty. The township of Stanley is situated at the end of a narrow peninsula surrounded by the waters of Bass Strait. Circular Head Council has created a lookout on the way into town, with a large display, detailing the history of the township, the Van Diemen’s Land Company , various industries from seagoing fishing to iron ore pellitising. First we drove up to the lookout and around to the northern side of the township.


Highfield is a historic site, circa 1835, with many blue stone outbuildings, as well as the magnificent homestead. Nearby there are convict barrack ruins. The gateway marks the entrance to the original deer park. You will see the incredible views available on a fine day.


Down the hill and around to Godfreys Beach and you can stop on the foreshore and walk up to the nearby cemetery, originating in 1828. As with many gravesites in Tasmania, we are struck by the young ages of so many and the hard lives they would have endured. The cemetery has one of the best views we have ever seen for the souls at rest, including many pioneers whose occupations are listed from explorer to surgeon.


We parked at the end of town and walked the length of the main street and back. There were many interesting period era buildings that had been very well maintained. Some had the Nut as a scenic backdrop, adding another dimension of splendor.


The photos here will give you just a taste of the attributes of this little town. Whether it is the lolly and ice cream shop, the fish and chips or any of the other little cafes, the atmosphere is superb. The old hotel looks a treat and overlooks the bay. You can also take advantage of the small supermarket, newsagent or post office.


There are several crafty temptations – the Touchwood Craft Gallery, the Stanley Craft Centre and the Tasmanian Shell Shop. If you feel energetic you can walk to the top of the Nut, or be brave (if you are someone afraid of heights) and take the chairlift. There is a parking area at the base of the Nut near the cafe, but we couldn’t stay there as dogs are not permitted.


The birthplace of wartime Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, is open for inspection. The cottage appreciates donations towards its maintenance. There are several cottages and bed and breakfasts available for visitors. Some of these are quite historic buildings.


The nearby marina fronting Sawyer Bay is the hub of the fishing industry - this is a opular spot for motorhomers to overnight. The caravan park nearby has outstanding views and access to the beach, but unfortunately the Big 4 chain don’t allow dogs, so we couldn’t stay there. Water is VERY hard to find in Stanley as there is no service station - nearest fuel by the way is back at the entry turnoff. There is water on the wharves and in the lane beside the Council Chambers, but we feel it is a bit rude to tap into this. However, there is a tap in the little park opposite the big lobster on the Hursey building. The photo below right shows us tapping into this - very easy access provided the car park is not tooooooo busy. Adjacent to the tap is a wishing well come lighthouse collecting for breast cancer. We urge all motorhomers overnighting in Stanley or filling up with water to put at least $2.00 into the "slot"!


Probably one of the best adjectives to describe Stanley is picturesque. The people were welcoming, the scenery was just incredible and the ambience was hospitable. You could easily spend a couple of days checking out all it has to offer including the Discovery Centre, walking/riding up the Nut and checking out those beautiful doll house style shops. Make sure you take the turnoff – you won’t be disappointed.

.Absolutely recommended.

Chrissy Eustace

HEMA 54 C 3



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Last updated: January 17, 2008
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