While I was on my Tasmania road trip, there were certain places that took me by surprise.
The first place I fell in love with (I do that a lot with places – two main ones being Bristol and Byron Bay – if you’re new here, bear with me…) was Hobart, the gorgeous capital of the state. The second place that I had a very love hate relationship with was Cradle Mountain. It was beautiful, there’s no doubt about that… but the Cradle Mountain summit hike was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
The third place I absolutely loved was Stanley. A modest town on the North coast of Tasmania, on a map it doesn’t look like it’s up to much. Of course, there’s ‘The Nut’, one of the island’s most famous ex-volcanoes which is said to be worth a hike up; but on the same land that created Cradle Mountain and Wineglass Bay, it couldn’t be too exciting, could it?
Stanley is a tiny town, yes, But it’s just this that makes it so perfect. Away from all the intense hikes and awe-inspiring natural beauty of Tasmania, Stanley still stands, unchanging. That’s what makes it so perfect.
We only planned on visiting Stanley to go up the Nut, snap some pictures, then travel along the coast a bit further. But we ended up in Stanley for a whole day, and could have probably spent longer.
So what’s there to do in this tiny town? Turns out, there’s many more things to do in Stanley than what meets the eye. If you only have one day in Stanley, here’s how to spend it.
Breakfast at Moby Dicks
It’s always amazing to visit a restaurant that’s so good at one thing, that’s all it needs to do. At Moby Dicks, breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day; as that’s all it serves!
I enjoyed a wonderful eggs benedict and my friends had fry ups of huge proportions. There’s breakfast burritos, pancakes, waffles and pretty much everything else breakfasty you could imagine.
There’s great options for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-and-dairy-intolerants.
The décor is rustic and beautiful and the portion sizes are huge. A breakfast at Moby Dicks will definitely set you up for the day!
We visited Moby Dicks on the recommendation of a flashy couple from Noosa who we met in the Cradle Mountain National Park. Taking recommendations from other travellers is the best way to see a place!
Once you’re fuelled up from your huge breakfast, it’s time to conquer The Nut. This 468 metre high hill isn’t going to take you long to get up, but it’s incredibly steep (you could take the chair lift, but it will set you back $12 and also, that’s cheating). There’s three sections of about 150 metres, all of which are nearly horizontal and will undoubtedly make your calves burn!
But the view from the top is pretty spectacular. The beaches of Northern Tasmania are stunning, and the wonderful municipality of Stanley spreads out beneath like a colourful little toy town. The town planner of Stanley did a great job; from an aerial view, Stanley looks absolutely perfect.
The High Street
The town looks great from above, but being inside it is wonderful too. The High Street is colourful and quaint, with a variety of shops selling trinkets and souvenirs, an interesting museum and pretty cafes and restaurants that just scream to be dined in. Walking up and down peaceful Stanley’s high street is definitely a mood-boosting experience!
If I could only choose one place to stop on Stanley’s High Street, it would have to The Chocolate Gallery and Cafe. Filled with creative homemade flavours, it’s the perfect place to savour some sweet goodness while overlooking the bay. I had a ‘rocky road’ flavour, complete with little marshmallows and biscuit, in a cone that was piled high with the sweet stuff. If I could go back right now just for the ice cream, I would!
If the weather is on your side when you’re visiting the town (it can often be very windy, but we were in luck when we visited!) then you should definitely finish your Stanley day trip by a trip to the beach. It often has horse riders traversing the sands, but there’s plenty of space to lay out and sunbathe and the waters are calm and warm (in March at least), making them perfect swimming conditions. With The Nut gracefully overlooking the sea, a swim at Stanley’s beach is a must for any summertime visit to the town.
Despite Stanley not being quite as epic as some of Australia’s attractions, I think it’s quaintness and perfect mix of great food, small-town culture and natural beauty makes it a must Tasmania day trip!
Have you ever visited Stanley? Or is there another similar town that springs to mind when reading this? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to check it out – especially in Australia, where I’m road tripping (so far I’ve done the Melbourne to Perth drive and road tripped the West Coast) for the next few months!
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