WELCOME TO WALCHA
WALCHA, pronounced ‘WOL-KA’, is the oldest town and first area to be
discovered in the New England region.
Explorer, John Oxley was in search of new farming lands beyond the Hunter
Valley, he climbed the rugged ranges traversing from west to east over the
southern end of the tableland he had discovered and reached, what is now,
Walcha on September 8, 1818.
Walcha’s first settler, Hamilton Collins Sempill arrived in 1832 and based
his headquarters near the
camp site used by John Oxley and he named
the area Walcha.
Where the name Walcha originates from is a mystery; potentially having
Aboriginal origins with three
possible meanings being ‘sun’, ‘deep waterhole’
and ‘water’. However the spelling strongly suggests that
the origins truly
came from the association of two pastoral properties, Walcha Run and
Run, with places in the Netherlands where the town of
Bergen-op-Zoom stands on the Walcheren River. These places were well
known to early settlers because of a major campaign in 1809 called the
Walcheren Expedition fought during the British Wars with Napoleon.
The Municipality of Walcha was proclaimed on March 12, 1889. The Shire of
Walcha was constituted by the amalgamation of the Municipality of Walcha
and the Shire of Apsley in June 1955.
The Walcha District would not have been what it is today if not for the late
Mr. A. S. Nivison of “Mirani”, who pioneered aerial agriculture in Australia in
February 1950. This saw the stock population treble in a very
quickly and dramatically changing the wealth of the region. At this time
Walcha Road Train Station became the busiest non-metropolitan freight
terminal in NSW, with superphosphate being carried in and cattle, sheep and
wool being freighted out.
Facts & figures
- Elevation: Walcha is 1,067m above sea level. With the highest points
- The Walcha Shire is 626,700 ha. (6,267km2),
- Population of 3,200 (1,700 of which live in town).
- Walcha boasts being one of the largest stock carrying capacity areas in
New South Wales proving to be a great and intensive primary production
area. There is also a high importance on forestry and the timber industry.
- Tourism plays a major part in the town’s economic growth and we pride
ourselves on providing a friendly, welcoming and informative service
Attractions & places of interest
Walcha’s main attractions are that of ART, NATURE and HERITAGE. For any
enquiries call into the Visitor Information Centre.
national parks & wildlife service (NPWS)
Amazing National Parks and wilderness areas, offer bushwalking, gorges and
waterfalls, scenic drives, swimming, camping and picnicking facilities which
are easily accessible from Walcha.
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park: This magnificent wilderness park covers
30,000 ha. and includes popular tourist spots as well as vast areas of natural
Apsley Falls and Gorge: 20km east of Walcha on the Oxley Highway is the
magnificent Apsley Falls and sheer ravine type gorge - offering some of
the most dramatic and remarkable scenery in Eastern Australia. The Lower
Falls walk on the other side of the gorge is highly recommended. Offering
Camping (fees applicable), Day Use Area has BBQ and toilet facilities.
Tia Falls and Gorge: 37km east of Walcha on the Oxley Highway with
a further 6km of good unsealed road, Tia Falls occupy one of the most
beautiful gorge sites on New England High Country’s eastern escarpment,
strikingly cascading into the depths below. The falls are adjacent to a picnic
area and camping ground with walking tracks and swimming available.
Budds Mare: Budds Mare (2WD dry weather access), 44 km east of Walcha via
Moona Plains Road; camping (free), bushwalking, lookouts, BBQ facilities and
sheltered picnic areas are provided.
Riverside: Riverside (4WD access only, no trailers, fees applicable, key and
permit required), a further 7km on from Budds Mare, dropping 700m in
altitude you will find a camping and day use area, and the beautiful Apsley
River which is perfect for a swim. The KEY can be obtained from and NPWS
Office or the Caltex service station. The Riverside Trail is Australia’s only
vehicular access into the core of a wilderness.
open air gallery
Boasting around fifty artworks and sculptures created by local, national
and international artists. Walcha is renowned for its sculptures and many
talented local artists (brochure available).
pioneer cottage museum
Furnished in the style of a typical 19th Century pioneers home, with other
buildings displaying memorabilia and old wares, an ABORIGINAL CARVED
TREE and the TIGER MOTH aeroplane that was used in the Australian first of
spreading superphosphate by air. Open on weekends and public holidays or
by appointment (enquire at the Visitor Information Centre).
Historic buildings of note including Post Office, Court House, Banks, St.
Patrick’s Church (1881), Presbyterian Church (1888) and the stone built
Anglican Church (1862) as well as typical country hotels (brochure available).
Langford Homestead: 6778 0395. Guided tours available by appointment.
TROUT Season open from October long weekend to June long weekend.
BASS (permit required) Season open Spring, Summer & Autumn. NSW Fishing
License required (local fishing brochure available).
In selected areas – for the adventurous take your own pan and try your luck.
Cobrabald and MacDonald Rivers.
eat & stay
Relax, unwind and reinvigorate your soul at one of the many options
available ranging from Self-contained Cottages, Bed & Breakfasts,
Motels, Hotels, Farm-stays, and arguably the best
Caravan Park in Australia.
Some photos courtesy of National Parks & Wildlife Service
Ph: 02 6774 2460
E: [email protected] www.walchansw.com.au
walcha Visitor Information Centre
51W Fitzroy Street
Walcha NSW 2354