Many millions of years ago an active volcano existed on the site of the town of Stanley; what remains today is the eroded remnants of the original lava lake from the volcano and is today known as “The Nut”. There are a number of stories about how The Nut was named – one theory is that it is the shortened version of the original aboriginal name Moo-Nut-Re-Ker. A more colourful theory is that in 1892 the Nut was packed with explosives to construct the breakwater at its base. The detonation yielded no material as no rocks fell from the side of the Nut and it was agreed that it was a “Hard Nut to Crack”.
The Nut is quite iconic, dominates Stanley and can be seen from kilometres away. We
decided that it was a must do to visit the Nut. From the caravan park we walked up two flights of stairs and a fairly steep track from the town to the car park at the base of the Nut. Here we were confronted with a choice – take the chairlift (constructed on the site in 1987) or take the short steep 432 metre zig zag track to the summit – as the Nut is about 150 metres in height, we chose the chair lift on the way up and the zig zag track on the way down.
Once at the top there is a 2 kilometre walking track which takes you safely around the surface visiting four separate lookouts in the circuit. Apparently the 60 hectares of the site was cleared in the early 1800s and used for grazing – it must have been a challenge to get the stock to the top. Since the late 1990s the area has been slowly re-vegetated and weeds eradicated to provide an important breeding area for various animals and birds.
The views from the several lookouts are quite panoramic and on a clear day would present some wonderful photographic opportunities. Of course we tried our amateurish hand at capturing the wonderful views.
Our return journey was down the zig zag track and it was a matter of “bend zee knees” and get a good grip with the rubber soles. We encountered one old fellow (must have been in his eighties) trudging up the steep slope keeping a good grip on the rail that borders the path. The old bloke reckoned he might have bitten off more than he could chew and we agreed and suggested he return to the car park and takes the chair lift. We encountered his son-in-law (we didn’t know he was at first) at the last zag and had a conversation with him; we said we were a little worried about the old fellow (and that was when we found out the other guy was the SIL) the son-in-law agreed but indicted the old chap was always doing such things and hurried off to catch up with his father-in-law. Last we saw they were both moving slowly towards the top.
Adjacent to the car park there is a gift shop and cafe selling all manner of refreshments and souvenirs; we had a look through the offerings and then decided to walk down to look at the historic cemetery at the western base of the Nut – very interesting. Back into town for a delightful ice cream cone (if we don’t put on weight during this trip it will be a miracle) and then back to camp.