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Stanley, Tasmania

Explore the sights and history of Stanley, with its historic colonial buildings and pristine natural landscape, Stanley is one of North West Tasmania's highlights. Odyssey offers small group tours for mature and senior travellers, couples, and solo travelers to Australia and Tasmania.

11 Dec 20 · 4 mins read

Stanley, Tasmania

Stanley is a historic town located on Tasmania‘s North West coast, with Tasmania’s pristine Tarkine wilderness, and the tip of Cape Grim to each of its sides. Stanley is famed for its incredible natural endowment, with some of the cleanest air in the world, it also features spectacular views from its landmark extinct volcano, known locally as ‘The Nut’, as well as along its surrounding beaches and coastline. The natural abundance in the waters of the Bass Strait also make Stanley a famed destination for fishing, with its seafood, particularly lobster, being among the most prized catches on the island. In addition to its natural heritage, Stanley is also home to a number of historic buildings, with perfectly preserved colonial buildings scattered across the town, each with their own place of Stanley’s early colonial history.

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History

Originally inhabited by Tasmania’s Tommeginne Aboriginal people, the region’s colonial history began with the arrival of European settlers under the purview of the Van Diemen’s Land Company, which was granted much of Tasmania’s North Western territory around the year 1825. The town was founded in the following year, bearing the name ‘Circular Head’, with the first settlers being mostly indentured labourers and craftsmen, who bore with them tools and livestock for the newly established settlement. As time progressed, the region’s indigenous peoples, much like the rest of Tasmania as a whole, diminished greatly in number, this was due chiefly to the influence of smallpox the indentured settlers brought with them, though colonial policy also played a significant factor. The town grew enough that a school and post office were established in the mid 1840s, with the town’s name changed shortly after to ‘Stanley’, in honour of the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Lord Stanley, who later went on to serve multiple terms as British Prime Minister. The town’s affiliation with the office of the chief executive also came to the fore in the 1870s, with Australia‘s first Tasmanian Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, hailing from the town of Stanley. Stanley was also the location of the first flight across the Bass Strait, with Australian aviation pioneer Arthur Long making the crossing in 1919. His biplane featured a self refuelling contraption designed by the WWI Veteran, who made the trip in just over 4 hours. Today Stanley remains a quaint and picturesque town famed for its historic buildings and breath-taking natural beauty.

Stanley, Tasmania, Highfield Historic Site.

Travelling to Stanley

A tour of Stanley Tasmania is a great way to explore much of the north west of the island, serving as an ideal base from which you can explore some of Tasmania’s most notable national parks, as well as experience an amazing selection of fresh food and unspoiled wilderness. While in the town itself, the main highlight is the extinct volcano ‘Munatrik’, known locally as ‘The Nut‘, visible from virtually anywhere in the town, The Nut is easily Stanley’s most distinct visual feature. For the best experience, simply take a chairlift up to the top, and witness the spectacular views along the way. Once atop the dormant Volcano, you’ll be able to take in a panoramic view of the surrounding beaches and countryside, which makes for one of the more memorable moments on a tour of Tasmania. The surrounding Bass Strait beaches are also rich in wildlife, and there are even short cruises where you can find Australian fur seals along the rocky shores, not only this, but on Godfrey’s beach just below The Nut, you can often times even spy penguins. This natural abundance is one of the reasons Stanley’s culinary reputation is so well known, with the rich waters providing some of the best seafood on the island. With this in mind no tour of North West Tasmania is complete without trying Stanley’s seafood, or the similarly famous Cape Grim Beef, both of which pair perfectly with a red or white variety of Tasmanian wine.

Stanley, Tasmania : Hursey Seafood restaurant and shop building with giant lobster on roof.

Heading further afield, you may want to explore the nearby Tarkine wilderness, with the Tarkine National Park just a short trip to the east of Stanley. The Tarkine Rainforest is Australia’s largest contiguous tract of rainforest, and is just one of three temperate rainforests in the world, with its unique climate being home to a huge variety of unique and endangered wildlife, as well as native Tasmanian woods such as Myrtle Beech, Sassafras, Leatherwood, and Celery-Top Pine, which harken back to the time of the supercontinent Gondwana. One of the ways to experience the Tarkine National Park at a leisurely pace is with a cruise along the Arthur River, which runs through much of the rainforest. Alternatively, for the more adventurous, there are plenty of tracks ideal for a walk through different segments of the forest. While east of Stanley you may also want to explore the Rocky Cape National Park, with its spectacular seaside cliffs leaving one in awe of the rugged natural landscape. For a longer tour of Tasmania, you can always head further south and see Tasmania’s famous Cradle Mountain, and Lake St Clair, with the West, and Centre of the Island providing an experience of the island not often seen by visitors to Hobart. One of the best way to experience what Stanley, and North West Tasmania has to offer is with a small group tour. Odyssey specialises in this kind of tour, offering an engaged and intimate tour to Stanley ideal for seniors, solo travellers, and couples heading to Stanley and Tasmania.

The Tarkine
Dense rainforest surrounds the Arthur River, in the Tarkine.

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