The historic town of Stanley sits on the tip of the peninsula that juts into Bass Strait in far north-western Tasmania. The buildings of the town huddle under an ancient flat-topped rocky outcrop or volcanic plug called "The Nut". Take the path or the chairlift to the top of the 152 metre headland and enjoy wonderful views up and down the coast.
Stanley was established in the early 1800s as the headquarters for the Van Dieman's Land Company which sought to establish a fine merino wool industry as well as grazing operations. Highfield Historic Site, just outside Stanley, includes the homestead built in 1837 for the company, together with workers' cottages, barns and stables. Tours operate daily, or for the bravehearted, ghost tours of the site operate after dark.
Stanley has been declared a historic town. In the wharf area are several historic buildings. In Marine Park is the former Van Diemen's Land Company Store. In Alexander Terrace is the childhood home of Stanley's most famous son, Joseph Lyons, Australian Prime Minister from 1932 – 1939 and the only Tasmanian to hold this office. The Discovery Centre Folk Museum is packed with displays relating to the area's history.
There are several art and craft galleries in Stanley, showcasing the best of Tasmanian art and craft.
The Nut is a State Reserve and is a haven for migratory birds such as shearwaters and orange bellied parrots, as well as kestrels, falcons and small colonies of fairy penguins. The best time to see the fairy penguins is in the early evening at dusk, when the little birds return to their burrows after a day at sea. Seals can also be seen in the waters off the Nut. Stanley Seaquarium on Fisherman's Dock has a wide variety of Tasmanian sealife on display.
Image credit: The Nut - Stanley, Les Okey
- Tasmania Day (November), Agricultural Show (December)
Things to do:
Historic buildings - in the wharf area: bluestone bond store, Van Dieman's Land Co. Store, Poet's Cottage (at the base of The Nut), Lyons Cottage in Alexander Tce, Union Hotel (1849), Commercial Hotel (1842)
Arts and Crafts - at the Stanley Craft Centre, Discovery Centre Folk Museum
Climb The Nut - Chairlift from Brown's Road
Penguin and seal watching - at cemetery and wharf on Scenic Drive or Godfreys beach in the evening
Seaquarium - includes displays, rock pool and shark tank
In the area:
Highfield Historic Site - 2 km north, headquarters of the Van Diemen's Land Co. with homestead, stables, barracks, schoolhouse and chapel nearby
Dip Falls - 40 km south-east off highway with picnic area at Big Tree (a giant eucalypt)
Rocky Cape National Park - for coral reefs and scuba diving
Lacrum Dairy - with milking demonstrations
Woolnorth Wind Farm - clean energy wind farm