On Sunday 5th September 2021 Kristy and I went for lunch with Paul, as it’s Father’s Day is celebrated at the first Sunday of September in Australia. We had luck that the pub wasn’t completely booked out, as we first wanted to go somewhere else, but didn’t had any chance to get a place. After lunch we had a short stroll around town and the Waratah Falls. Paul told us that Waratah was famous for its Mount Bischoff Mine, where mainly tin was mined. The banks of the river next to the Waratah Falls were solely occupied by ore processing huts. We had a walk along the top and then to the base of the waterfall, where you still can see concrete remnants of its former usage.
Afterwards we headed out of town and walked along the Arthur River to the Philosopher Falls. The path follows (or literally) steps into the former aqueduct to the Magnet Mine. The former Magnet Mine was just a few kilometres West of Waratah, but because of its rugged terrain access wasn’t easy at all. A 16km steam tram was built from Waratah for just 4km as the crow flies. And back in the day, this was the only supply for the mine. Nowadays, you can access the mine site via a 4WD gravel road, which starts opposite to the Whyte Hills lookout. Paul told me about his hiking experiences in this area some 40 years ago. He said, that the bush is so think, that you basically walk along its branches, sometimes 4-6 above ground. If you slip away, you might never be seen again. You could continue along the former water race all the way to the former mine site, but the track deteriorates quickly after the Philosopher Falls. The Philosopher Falls in itself are a big drop of the Arthur river down its gorge, and surrounded by thick bush. Even just a short walk from the highway, you’re already in the wild Tassie forest.
On the way back, we made a brief stop at the spring of the Arthur River. It’s basically behind a small dam. The site wasn’t very impressive. On the way back we made a short detour to Talbots Lagoon. This man made lagoon is deep inside forest plantations, and shortly before you reach it, the forestry gravel roads a blocked off with a gate. Nevertheless, Talbot lagoon is accessible to the public (by foot or bike), and seems to be a great fishing spot. On the way to Talbot lagoon you not only cross Hellyer River the Emu railway at Guildford. Guildford was the major junction in the heydays and provided rail access to Waratah. Nowadays Guildford was slighted, and only a siding remains.
The day before Kristy and I went to Launceston. And as the weather was nice we decided to do another “Great Walk” to Tamar Island. Well, this one was quite a disappointment, and the worst Great Walk we ever did. Yes, the Tamar is just a muddy estuary, and that’s what you’ll see along the boardwalk to Tamar Island. A line of ships were deliberately sunk between the Western Banks and the island in order to alter the current in the main branch. You might get a glimpse to the rusty shipwrecks, and wonder what this actually is.