Stanley

We’re getting ready to move to the south of the Island, but before we go, thought we’d better take a look at Stanley which is on the west side of the north coast.

Stanley is a little holiday hamlet located on a small peninsula joined to the Island by a slim thread of land. Atop the peninsula sits a huge rock mass, an extinct volcano, know as ‘the nut’. No-one knows for sure how it came to be known as ‘the nut’, but the general consensus is that the rock mass was originally known as ‘the head’, and the slang term for head – ‘nut’, was adopted. Anyway, ‘the nut’ it is.

We headed towards Stanley on Sunday, and spent the first night in a free site camped near a town called Penguin. The next morning it was pouring down and luckily we hadn’t unhitched so were saved from a complete drenching.

We’ve stayed the last two nights at Rocky Cape Tavern and Caravan Park. At $16 a night for a large site with power, water and the use of the ablutions, and located only a short drive from Stanley, it’s perfect. There’s always complaints about Grey Nomads supposedly wanting places to stay for nothing. Speaking for ourselves this is not the case. We have no objection to paying for facilities that make our lives easier. It’s the jumping pillows and children’s playgrounds and associated high insurance costs that bump fees up, and make camping sites smaller – this we object to. If it’s a choice between a free site, and a place with a jumping pillow and playground at $40+ dollars a night, you’d have to be a mug not to park in the free spot. A reasonable place for a reasonable price is all we ask for…..

Time to stop band-standing and get on to the subject of Stanley. With a population of less than 500 Stanley is a very small place. It’s oldest houses are on the eastern side and in the shadow of ‘the nut’, with a small additional spread of slightly newer houses south of ‘the nut’.  Most of the very old houses are now being used as bed and breakfast accommodation or some other form of holiday accommodation. I imagine the population would easily swell to several thousand during the holiday season, as well as coach loads of tourists popping in for daytime visits. To cater for these tourists theres some lovely little shops in the town, including an excellent providore who supplies really good fruit, sour dough bread amongst other things. Trust us to find any supplier of excellent bread….

Apart from a small street of interesting little shops we did a visit to Highfield Historic Farm (ok – but not up to the standard of similar places in the UK), and we took the chairlift to the top of the nut and walked the 45minute circuit with views in all directions. All very nice, but for us that was virtually Stanley in a nutshell. Warmer weather could have seen us perhaps attempting to get a foot into the water, and I’m sure during a hot spell here the two beautiful beaches below ‘the nut’ would have beckoned. Coming from WA though, I doubt there will be many spells hot enough to get us dipping more than our big toe into any water that’s not in a warm bath tub.

One of the beaches dwarfing the small hamlet of Stanley.

One of the beaches dwarfing the small hamlet of Stanley.

We ventured past Stanley today to some famous Tassie gardens south of Smithton, Allendale Gardens and rainforest. They are beautiful.

They have tea rooms in which they only sell Devonshire teas (or coffee), so, of course, we couldn’t pass a good Devonshire tea by. And I’m pleased we didn’t. Tables set with pretty table clothes, pan flute music in the background, a lovely china pot of tea with dainty tea cups, and lovely light scones served with home made blackberry jam, and whipped cream. Both the Devonshire tea and the ambience were delightful.

Pretty Allendale Gardens.

Pretty Allendale Gardens.

Then the walk through the gardens. I don’t know how many acres were there, but it was all tastefully divided into different types of gardens, winding backwards and forwards over bridges across a meandering stream. Their idea in creating the garden was above all to create tranquility. They achieved their desire admirably. Not only were there rose gardens, fern gardens, pretty flower beds and exotic trees everywhere, but they also had dozens of peacocks and peahens everywhere, including white peacocks. Further on from the pretty flower garden rooms a well worn track wound it’s way through rainforest, and a eucalyptus forest.

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In amongst the forest walk they had established a cute little ‘fairy garden’. Fairy ornaments aren’t usually something that appeals to me, but hidden in little nooks amongst towering trees and ferns, and moss covered fallen logs, it was very appealing, and something I may include in my own garden one day.

Tomorrow we’ll head back to Launceston for a final catch up with family before heading to the south of the Island to catch up with friends before our trip to the UK. That’s now less than four weeks away, so we’re getting excited.