Travel

Stanley

It’s worth the journey … It takes a long time to get here. Maybe that’s what makes it so special.

This old-worldly fishing hamlet in Tasmania’s far north west offers an almost magical solitude and mindfulness to those seeking respite from the crowds.

It rewards those who venture with secluded beaches, wild landscapes and an off-beat charm that only salt of the earth Tasmanians can provide. “Come on in, get comfortable” they’ll say, through warm grins. “Did you know this building is almost 200 years old? And, this whisky is a world-beater”.

Highfield Historic Site
Highfield Historic Site
Stanley fishing fleet
Stanley fishing fleet
Stanley from the sky
Stanley from the sky

Quaint Stanley town 
Quaint Stanley town
Happy cows grazing by the Nut 
Happy cows grazing by the Nut
Ship Inn Stanley accommodation 
Ship Inn Stanley accommodation

It’s different here. This place has a culture of its own. Anything larger than a station wagon is ‘a bus’; and what is that weirdly addictive North West Tassie delicacy, ‘savoury toast’?  Why does everyone go ‘up’ the coast… surely, it’s ‘down’? How do the locals know which is the ‘top beach’ and which is ‘bottom beach’? These are questions worth exploring, slowly, as this island culture warms your soul, like a cosy open fireplace warms your toes.

Locals are raised on prime grass-fed beef, mutton-bird, oysters, abalone, fresh-caught fish, lobster and scallops… yet think nothing of it. They are so accustomed to quality, they’re almost oblivious. It is nothing to forage along the pristine coastline for samphire or saltbush to add to the evening meal. Even the local pub is worthy of culinary acclaim, with a stone cellar dating back to the 1800s, not to mention the seafood restaurant with its own red-boat fishing fleet and a giant lobster on the roof! Despite the challenges of 2020, seafood sales are booming and locals have started selling platters, grazing boxes and giftware. They are a resilient and creative bunch; but you have to be when you live on the edge of the world.

There is a magic here, that changes people. To climb the iconic Nut, gaze across Bass Strait and the vibrant rolling hills, whilst deeply breathing the world’s cleanest air… it’s a natural elixir capable of truly altering your perspective. An exploration of Highfield House and the quirky museums with seashell sculptures, run by volunteers in home-spun jumpers, reminds visitors of life’s simple beauty. And, Instagram seems to LOVE the fat and happy cows grazing the volcanic pastures of the Nut.

It’s not all food and nature, Stanley also packs a punch of world-class sophistication. Local B+Bs frequently adorn the covers of glossy magazines and the art deco town hall regularly hosts cultured film nights.

… followed by homemade scones and tea, of course. The cellar door and wine bar offer remarkable hospitality and Stanley is also home to an artistic community that includes a Glover Prize winner. This place inspires creativity, on display through the sleepy streets.

Stanley is simply jaw-dropping, but locals don’t seem to notice. For them, it’s home and they proudly slow down to make way for wide-eyed visitors.

It’s a long way, but the journey is worth it. Escape the crowds and encounter the magic.