The picturesque port town of Stanley in Tasmania’s far north-west is rich in history, natural beauty and a bounty of produce harvested from land and sea. Here, we explore the town’s highlights to uncover why Stanley landed at no. 50 on your list of Top 50 Aussie Towns.
Find the complete list of the Top 50 Aussie Towns here.
Stanley is no stranger to accolades
A sleepy fishing hamlet flanked by sweeping green hillsides and known for its wild seascapes, Stanley was crowned Tassie’s Top Tourism Town for 2021.
Its heritage streetscape with chocolate box weatherboards looks straight out of a movie set (and in fact it is: the town was transformed into a romantic period backdrop for the 2016 film The Light Between Oceans).
Drop anchor in the sleepy hamlet of Stanley.
It is within reach of Launceston
The three-hour scenic drive to get here from Launceston cuts through countryside and follows the coast road along the shores of Bass Strait before reaching the far northwest; don’t resist the temptation to pitstop in equally delightful towns like Penguin.
And once you’ve dropped anchor in Stanley, set like a tiny jewel beneath the remains of an ancient volcanic plug, it’s time to slow right down.
The town oozes country charm and history
Stroll the streets and breathe in the spike of sea salt in the air; check into heritage digs like Ship Inn Stanley (for a boutique stay) or Stanley Hotel (for a classic pub stay); walk or take the chairlift to the top of The Nut; explore the region’s history at Joe Lyons Cottage or Highfield Historic Site; and discover the takayna/Tarkine wilderness on the town’s doorstep.
Highfield Historic Site looks over The Nut.
It has plenty of edible delights
The region is known for its rich, red soils and bounty of prime produce – from premium beef to seafood direct from the source – so a visit to Stanley is also about eating well and fresh.
The inaugural Stanley & Tarkine Forage Festival, 11–20 November, consolidates and celebrates this through special foodie events like five-course dinners, foreshore feasts, oyster experiences, tasting trails and the chance to meet local makers.
Visit oyster farms and more as part of the Stanley & Tarkine Forage Festival.
Local makers share their tips
Among the local makers you might meet is Seoul-born Sue Glynn, who, along with her husband Tom, grows organic veggies and turns them into kimchi at KimchiMe Tasfresh Organic Farm, 10 minutes’ drive from town in Wiltshire.
Sue Glynn turns homegrown organic veggies into kimchi.
Catch Sue’s kimchi-making workshop during the festival at Stanley Town Hall or stop by their farm-gate shop. While you’re in town, she also recommends penguin viewing, having a picnic on top of The Nut, exploring Stanley Port, 4WD-ing on East Inlet and driving or walking to West Inlet at sunset.
Local abalone producer Joel Gilby of Three Friends Abalone.
Or Joel Gilby, who produces Three Friends Abalone – some of the world’s best thanks to clean air and cold, crisp water straight from Antarctica – with mates Shane Smith and Tom Peddie; look out for their product on local menus. “It is a great community,” Joel says of living in this tiny historic coastal town. “We love raising a family here with a small school, football club, golf course and beautiful beaches.”
Beaches in Tasmania’s north-west are wonderfully windswept.
Looking for cowrie shells on Top Beach is among his picks for things every visitor must do, and his local’s tip – a short, 15-minute drive from town to go off the beaten track and explore the secluded Black River Picnic Area (Spion Kop).