Stanley – Top Tiny Town 2023


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!

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