TasmaniaStanleyStanely is a remarkable place to visit. Characterised by ‘The Nut’, its beautifully preserved and heritage-listed town brings alive some of Tasmania's earliest settlement history.
The historic fishing village of Stanley is thought by many to be the most picturesque town in Tasmania and was voted the No 6 Top Spot to see in Australia by Australian Traveller Magazine. Stanley is nestled at the foot of the Nut, an immense flat-topped, volcanic plug rising 150 metres and visible 30 km away. With sheer cliffs on three sides and connected to the mainland by a 7 km isthmus, the Nut is possibly Tasmania's most-photographed landmark. You can walk or take a chairlift to the top for spectacular views over Bass Strait. Stanley is a registered historic town, rich in cultural heritage, arts and crafts. A wealth of colonial buildings house visitor attractions including artists' galleries, craft workshops and accommodation. The grand facades of its larger buildings reflect Stanley's original status as the centre for regional government, while quaint cottage terraces line the split-level main street with sweeping views over the wharves, beach and the rest of the town. Nearby is the Highfield House Historic Site, the beautifully restored home of the Chief Agent of the Van Diemen's Land Company, with its outhouses, chapel and stables. Commercial fishing is a major part of the local economy and the range of fish, even from the local wharf, is extensive. In the local restaurants, the fish will be today's catch, whether served as classic fish and chips or as a modern degustation menu. Stanley is also close to the Tarkine Wilderness Area, some of Tasmania's best wilderness and the Tarkine Drive. Stanley is a 1-hr drive (75 km) west of Burnie.
Highfield Historic Site
Highfield Historic Site offers a historically accurate vision of a gentleman's home and farm of the 1830s. It sits on a hillside overlooking the lands the manager would have once controlled, with views across to Stanley, The Nut and the Bass Strait beyond. The house is being restored over time and its elegant Regency design, convict barracks, barns, stables, and a chapel are surrounded by a large ornamental garden. Edward Curr, the chief agent of the Van Diemen's Land Company, started construction in 1832, and later additions were made by John Lee Archer. The VDL settlement began in 1826 on 350,000 acres granted under the Royal Charter by George IV. Today, the original farm has reduced and covers around five acres, which is open to visitors daily from 0930 - 1630 from 1 September to 31 May. During June, July and August the site is open Monday to Friday. The site is also available as a venue for weddings, meetings and artists in residence. School groups and coach groups are also welcome. Highfield is the story of success or tragedy - you decide.
See Australian Fur Seals in their natural habitat
See Australian fur seals in their natural habitat. The 70-minute return cruise on the motor cruiser, "Sylvia C", takes you just one kilometre offshore to Bull Rock. Australian fur seals use Bull Rock as their haul-out or "holiday" rock in seal terms. The rest, lie in the sun, feed, and enjoy themselves. The bull seals vary in size from 200 to 350 kilograms, while the females are around 180 to 200 kilograms. You can see anywhere from 50 to 500 seals - bulls, females, and juveniles. Bull Rock is also popular with the black-faced cormorant, oystercatchers and Pacific gulls, and sometimes bottle-nose dolphins. We do not feed wildlife. Because it is not a breeding ground, the boat can be up to two metres from the Rock and curious seals come over to inspect the visitors onboard, so there are lots of chances for photographers to get the perfect shot. You also get the unique opportunity to see the Nut from the ocean along with spectacular views of the coastline. Bookings highly recommended and sea conditions apply to the cruise. Departure times are September - April: 1000 and 1500, May: 1000 only. Closed 15 May to 31 August and Christmas Day. Open all Easter and all public holidays.
Climb the Nut
The historic village of Stanley, in far north-west Tasmania, is nestled at the base of the Nut, a sheer-sided bluff - all that remains of an ancient volcanic plug. A walking track climbs to the summit of the Nut, or you can take the chairlift, with its spectacular views across Bass Strait beaches and over the town.There is accommodation and an excellent campground in Stanley, and the town is a good base for exploring the forests and coastlines further west. See seals, penguins, sea birds and other wildlife close to Stanley local operators offer a range of observation tours. The town was once the administrative centre for the Van Diemen's Land Company, a royal charter company, formed in 1824 during the reign of George IV. Highfield House, an imposing Georgian home was once the VDL Managers' residence. It is open to the public and overlooks the town below. To reach Stanley, turn off the Bass Highway (A2) 15 km east of Smithton.