WARATAH is an interesting, old mining town and it reflects its history in many subtle ways. It has some facilities, as well as a museum, plus many attractions including a water fall right in the middle of the town. Near Waratah is the Whyte Hill Lookout, where you can see across the vast Tarkine Forest. Nearby also is Philosophers Falls, where a moderately difficult walk can give you an easy experience of the Tarkine Forest. Waratah is located in north east Tasmania on the northern edge of the Tarkine Forest. The following attractions are close to Waratah:
PHILOSOPHERS FALLS is just west of Waratah,
MOUNT BISCHOFF is just north of Waratah,
SAVAGE RIVER is about 40 km south west of Waratah,
WHYTE HILL is about 10 km south west of Waratah,
Mt PEARSE is south east of Waratah,
St VALENTINES PEAK is east of Waratah.
View Region North West & Tarkine in a larger map
FACILITIES in Waratah hamlet include a picnic ground, shop, petrol outlet, museum , tourist information, cafe, restaurant and some accommodation.
SIGHTS: Waratah was once the most important, tin mining town in the world. Waratah has a number of Victorian era buildings and even has a WATER FALL in the town itself. There is a great walk along the main street of Waratah. The sights include the:
PHILOSOPHER SMITH'S HUT in Smith Street, Waratah,
TARKINE INTERPRETATION Centre in the Atheneum Hall in Smith Street, Waratah,
TARKINE TRAILS offers guided walking tours of the wilderness: 0405 255 537
St JAMES church built in 1880 in Smith Street, Waratah.
SAVAGE RIVER National Park is a pristine wilderness for experienced bush walks into it. It is located north west of Waratah. The contact is www.tarkine.org (This pristine national park should not be confused with the Savage River Mine, which is South West of Waratah and the Savage River, which is near Corinna.)
PHILOSOPHERS FALLS Track is just 20 Km south west Waratah on B23 the road to CORINNA. This is an easy track that gives visitors a taste of what the Tarkine Forest is like.
WHYTE HILL lookout is just 10 km south of Waratah on B23 the road to CORINNA, where you get a great vista of the Tarkine Forest beyond.
Mt PEARSE is a rugged mountain south east of Waratah. It can be approached from a minor road to the west of the A10 Murchison Highway, but there is no track to the summit.
St VALENTINES PEAK is a prominent mountain east of Waratah with great view of the north west . It can be approached on a track on its northern face.
TOURIST information is at Council Chambers, in Smith Street, Waratah or at the museum. The telephone number is (03) 6439 7100 or the contact is www.warwyn.tas.gov.au For tours of the TARKINE forest contact www.tarkine.org
- Mt Bischoff
- Whyte Hill
- Philosopher's Falls
- Savage River
- St Valentines Peak
- Mt Pearse
1/ Waratah is in north west Tasmania. It was the first dedicated mining town in Tasmania and spurred on the development of other mines in western Tasmania. In the late 19th Century Waratah produced the best tin in the World. This photo looks past Waratah Falls and the Waratah River Gorge into the heart of old Waratah. There were once 10 times as many buildings, as you see in the 2014 photo above.
2/ Waratah is the only town in Tasmania that has a waterfall in the town itself. A short walk from the town centre takes you to the base of the waterfall. I estimated that the fall was about 40 metres. There were once seven water wheels harnessing the power of this waterfall.
3/ This is the view from Waratah into the Waratah River Gorge. The Mount Bischoff mine is on the extreme left. The forest is here regrowth, but it gives you some idea of how vast is the Tarkine Forest beyond.
4/ These large mining vehicles testify to the fact that the mine was recently operating. Beyond is the forest of the Waratah River Gorge.
5/ Waratah has its own war memorial to commemorates the many men from Waratah, who served in both world wars. Beyond is the Waratah River Gorge.
6/ Bischoff's Hotel has a great restaurant and view of the Waratah River Gorge. There were once many other grand buildings in this street.
7/ In 1882 Waratah gained a post office that was the hub of the north west. This second post office was built in 1913. The empty blocks around it were once replete with buildings.
8/ Waratah has reorganized itself to celebrate its rich mining history. This old water wheel is adjacent to a children's park.
9/ This water wheel looks across the Waratah Falls towards Bischoff's Hotel. On the extreme right horizon, you can see the Mount Bischoff mine.
10/ This iron bridge over the lake was once used by mine vehicles. The empty areas of Waratah have now been organized into a vast park.
11/ This is the heart of old Waratah. To the left is the old police station, which is now a museum. In the centre is the Atheneum Hall, which has an interesting display and to the left is a stamper mill.
12/ This is another view of the Atheneum Hall. The public toilet is just to the left. The recommended tour of Waratah begins here. Panels tell you the history.
13/ This is a recent recreation of James (Philosopher) Smith's hut. He discovered tin at Mount Bischoff in 1873. The adjacent green building is the old police station cum court house, which is now the museum.
14/ Near Smith's Hut is St James Anglican Church, which was built in 1880. The panel near the church notes that Smith discovered tin on St Barbara's day. Appropriately, St Barbara is the patron saint of miners.
15/ This view looks across the park towards the Waratah town centre. The red building is the new Art deco style post office. The hill beyond is Mount Bischoff.
16/ This large, well preserved, Victorian era house shows that there were once wealthy men in Waratah.
17/ This is one of many attractive, Victorian era cottages in Waratah.
18/ St Valentine's Peak dominates the eastern sky line of Waratah. This is the view, as you drive out of Waratah towards Burnie.
1/ Just north of Waratah is the Mount Bischoff tin mine. In the late 19th Century this was the most important tin mine in the world. From 1914 the mining was all above ground. A short walk on the Don Trail takes you to this impressive view of the open cut mine.
2/ This photo shows another view of the huge open cut mine on Mount Bischoff. The above photo is to the right of this area. It was taken from about 200 metres away.
3/ This photo shows mine tailings on Mount Bischoff. You can collect your own rock samples on the Don Trail walk.
4/ This pretty historic cottage was near the mine. The mountain on the horizon is Mount Cleveland, which is 858 metres high.
5/ Mt Bischoff is replete with old mining machinery.
1/ The Whyte Hill Lookout is located about 10 km south of Waratah on B23, the road to Corinna. From the lookout you get spectacular views of the nearby Tarkine Forest.
2/ This is a view of Mount Ramsay. It is 856 metres high and is located south of Waratah.
3/ This is the view to the south showing the major peaks of the Tarkine. The white streak on the central horizon is the open cut of the Savage River Mine.
4/ This is the view of the forest and peaks to the east.
5/ This is the view across the button grass to the west.
6/ This is a view to the north of Whyte Hill. The prominent peak is Mount Bischoff near Waratah.
1/ The Philosophers Falls are in north west Tasmania near Waratah on the northern edge of the Tarkine Forest. These signs at the start of the walk give important information about the conditions on the track to Philosophers Falls. Note the recommended return times.
2/ These Tarkine trees, on the track to Philosophers Falls, are myrtles and are moss covered. The base debris really was purple like in this photo.
3/ This photo shows the trunk of a fallen monarch in a fern grove off the track to Philosophers Falls. The base of this fallen monarch was over 2 metres in width.
4/ We passed a creek with clear, fast flowing water on the track to Philosophers Falls.
5/ This fungus, on the Philosophers Falls track, was so alien I could almost imagine that it came from another planet. Each lump was larger than two human heads.
6/ This shows another large, exotic fungus on the track to Philosophers Falls. It was as large as a human head. It took me some time to realize what it was.
7/ This shows the trunk of a fallen monarch. The girth was about 4 metres in height from the ground. I saw many other interesting trees on the Philosophers Falls track.
8/ The trees, on the track to Philosophers Falls, were dense and include myrtles and horizontals. The small size of the trunks of these trees indicates that this area was logged in recent decades. However, it was still a very wild place.
9/ The track to Philosophers Falls crossed over numerous small creeks with fast flowing, clear water.
1/ The Savage River Mine is located in north west Tasmania. It is just off B23, the road to Corinna. Here valuable magnetite is mined. It one of the most important mines in Tasmania. This mine should not be confused with the pristine Savage River National Park to the north and the River Savage to the south of this mine.
2/ This is the view from the B23 road of the open cut to the south west. This open cut can be seen from the Whyte Hill Lookout to the north west of this mine.
3/ This photo shows the Savage River Lodge. The facilities were well patronized, as you can see from the cars.
4/ This photo shows a large building near the workers' temporary accommodation complex.
5/ There is some permanent accommodation units for the workers of the Savage River Mine.
6/ Most of the accommodation at Savage River appears to be these temporary units.
1/ St Valentines Peak is a mountain in north western Tasmania east of Waratah. It is 1120 metres high and rises 300 metres above the surrounding plain. This gallery shows a climb that our club did in 2012. This photo shows St Valentines Peak from the B18 Ridgley Highway.
2/ The walking track to St Valentines Peak is accessed from a minor road that exits from the B18 Ridgley Highway south west of the settlement of Hampshire. The track climbs St Valentines Peak on the spur that runs from the north to the south of the peak. One of the first obstacles of our walkers was crossing this creek on a log supported only by a cable. Bush walking on an exposed mountain is something that should only be attempted by experienced bush walkers.
3/ The track leads through a rain forest, where moss covers all. You can also see the horizontal branches that making exploring some forests in Tasmania almost impossible.
4/ As we ascended the rain forest gave way to scrub and the start of the spur line of the mountain could be seen in the distance.
5/ This photo shows a walker on the west side of the mountain climbing up to the spur.
6/ This photo shows the view to the west. You can see how St Valentines Peak rises abruptly above the plain. The forests in this area have been subjected to extensive logging.
7/ Our group had now reached the spur of the mountain and were approaching the highest point. The distant trig marker can be seen on the summit on the right of the photo.
8/ Here you can see one of our group approaching the summit of St Valentines Peak.
9/ This photo looks north along the spur at walkers approaching the summit of St Valentines Peak.
10/ This view looks towards the east. The closer peak on the left is Mt Everett, while the peak on the right is Mount Tor. In the middle ground you can see areas being logged.
11/ This photo looks towards the south west. The twin peaked mountain in the middle is Mt Cattley.
12/ Our group then lunched on the south western side of St Valentines Peak. The nearest walker is using his hood to protect himself against the cold wind.
13/ Two of our group went the final distance to a rocky outcrop on the south west of the St Valentines Peak spur. Having conquered the mountain, we then retraced our route back to our bus.
1/ Mt Pearse is a peak in north west Tasmania. It is south east of Waratah. This gallery shows a climb that our club made in 2013. Mt Pearse was approached from a minor road leading west from the Murchison Highway south east of Waratah. We then bush based our way to the spur line of Mt Pearse and climbed to the south. There is no defined track to Mt Pearse, so visiting it is potentially dangerous and should only be done by experienced bush walkers.
2/ Part of the journey involved climbing directly up the rock face. This is quite dangerous.
3/ Here one of our group approaches the summit of Mt Pearse. It is 1002 metres high.
4/ This photo is looking to the south east of Mt Pearse. You can see how this mountain rises abruptly from the plain.
5/ This photo looks towards the south west of Mt Pearse. There is a parallel fold mountain to the west of Mt Pearse, which you can see to the right of this image.
6/ This photo looks towards the west of Mt Pearse at the parallel fold mountain that you can see in the image above. This fold mountain is 800 metres high.
7/ This photo looks towards the east. The prominent double peak on the middle left is Mt Cattley.
8/ This photo looks south at a walker approaching the summit of Mt Pearse. Mt Pearse has three other peaks, one of which you can see on the left.
9/ This photo shows our group resting on the summit of Mt Pearse.
10/ This photo shows the summit of Mt Pearse on the right and the two other peaks to its south on the left. The last peak on the left is called the Rocky Sugarloaf and it is 974 metres high. You can see our group approaching the summit of Mt Pearse on the right.
11/ This photo looks from the summit to the north a peak north of the summit. Note the fold mountain beyond it that Mt Pearse is part of.
12/ Some of our group decided to climb the next peak to the south of the summit. Here you can see them scrambling up to its summit.
13/ After conquering Mt Pearse, our group retraced their route back to the north east and exited through a regrowth forest.