town in New South Wales, Australia

Walcha is a town on the Northern Tablelands of the New England (New South Wales) region, 425 kilometres north of Sydney via Thunderbolts Way and 184 km west of Port Macquarie. The area is the southern gateway to the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park which can be accessed at the Apsley Falls, 20 km east of Walcha and 1 km off the Oxley Highway via a sealed road.

Apsley Falls, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, Walcha, NSW showing the falls lookout.
Tree ferns, Werrikimbe National Park, Walcha, NSW

UnderstandEdit

Walcha is a great place to enjoy fishing, four-wheel-drive trips and bushwalks into wilderness areas with gorges, rainforests and waterfalls. The town is recognized for its unique Open Air Gallery, historic buildings, cafes, restaurants and quality accommodation.

ClimateEdit

Walcha has a cool climate with some snow falls and frosty nights, producing extremely low temperatures, during the winter months. However, frosts are usually followed by clear sunny days. In autumn, the town has the changing colours of the trees which make for great photographs. But summer is a great time to visit Walcha, although even on warm sunny days the temperature can suddenly drop. Due to its altitude, the town is rarely humid, and even days where the temperature reaches 33°C are tolerable. Be prepared for a sudden drop in temperature at anytime of the year by bringing adequate warm clothing.

During a very cold night untreated (summer) diesel fuel can "gel" (turn from a liquid to a semi-solid). At temperatures below freezing, diesel engines may experience starting problems and warm-up slowly. As the morning warms (usually before 9AM), the vehicle will operate normally without intervention.

Tourist informationEdit

Get inEdit

By carEdit

Walcha is located at the junction of the scenic Thunderbolts Way and the Oxley Highway. When travelling from the south (Sydney) on the Pacific Highway past Raymond Terrace you will see an exit sign pointing to Bucketts Way and Gloucester on the left hand side of the road. Take this exit, and turn left at the round-a-bout in Gloucester and follow this road (Thunderbolts Way) all the way into Walcha. This route is about 70 km shorter than the alternative trip on the New England Highway through the Hunter Valley and Tamworth and mostly has a 110 km/h limit except in the Hunter. When travelling on the New England Highway, after crossing the Macdonald River at Bendemeer, turn right onto the Oxley Highway which takes you into Walcha. Motorcycle rides from Gloucester and Port Macquarie are also very popular scenic trips for riders. Do not speed through the town. The boys in blue have some new play toys that they are trying out.

By trainEdit

Walcha does not have a railway station, however it is serviced by the station at Walcha Road, which is located approximately 20 km west of Walcha. Trains arriving or departing Walcha Road are connected to Walcha by bus, which must be booked at the same time as booking your rail ticket. This rail service connects Sydney with Armidale where the service terminates.

Get aroundEdit

There are not any public transport services in the town and you will need a vehicle to visit the many out of town sightseeing locations. A 4WD with low range is needed if trips are planned into the wilderness areas of Riverside Camping Area and Youdale’s Hut. Trips to the spectacular Apsley and Tia Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park are easily accessed using a regular vehicle.

SeeEdit

  • Visit Walcha’s Open Air Gallery where local, national and international artists have combined to create a unique streetscape with about 35 sculptures and artworks, plus 30 sculptured verandah posts in front of local businesses. Obtain a brochure on these works from the visitor centre before taking a walk or self-drive tour around them.
  • At the Pioneer Cottage museum and complex view a genuine 1860s shingle roofed and slab sided cottage. See the Tiger Moth plane that was used to drop the first superphosphate in Australia. The wool hall here gives a good insight into the history of the sheep and wool industry.
  • Walcha has four churches representing the Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian denominations. The old Anglican church was built in the 1861 from stone taken from the demolished homestead, 'Villa Walcha', erected on the Wolka run in the 1840s.
  • Visit the grave of Nathaniel Buchanan, who is buried in the Walcha Cemetery. Nat was a highly skilled drover and bushman who opened up droving routes through central Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Kimberley regions.
  • There are some interesting buildings scattered through the town including the Court House, churches, banks and the Post Office. Langford is a stately home, situated about 1 km south of Walcha on Thunderbolts Way, which can be viewed from the road.
  • Research Walcha history or your Walcha relatives at the local history archives and library.
  • Amaroo Museum and Cultural Centre, Derby St, +61 2 6777 1391. 9AM-5PM. Features artwork by Aboriginal people, screen printing and contemporary clothing with original designs.

DoEdit

  • See Walcha’s Golden Gate Campdraft and Rodeo which is run over four days in January each year.
  • The New England Merino Field Days (biennial), which display local studs, wool and sheep, are run over two days in January each evenly numbered year.
  • Walcha Races are another very popular event, which is held over two days in February each year.
  • Walcha Show is an annual three day event conducted in March or April.
  • A Timber Expo is held as a biennial event in May.
  • The biennial Garden Festival is held in the spring of even numbered years to display some of the beautiful local cool climate gardens. Proceeds from this event are donated to services such as Angel Flight, Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service or Riverview Hostel.
  • The Walcha Food, Wine and Craft Festival is held on the last Sunday in October. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Mountain Bike Teams Challenge event, ridden over 100 km, is held the same day.

Other events include the Music Hall, opening of the trout fishing season, pony club events and camp, Nowendoc Rodeo, Woolbrook Stampede and Woolbrook Spring Fair.

BuyEdit

Purchase stud and commercial beef cattle, and Merino sheep from the many breeders in the district. Several annual local weaner sales present excellent opportunities to purchase top quality, large lines of young beef cattle.

See also: Walcha Business Directory

Self-cateringEdit

  • 1 Carlo's IGA Walcha, 16w Fitzroy Street (opposite Foodworks), +61 2 6777 2241. M-F 8AM-7PM, Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 8AM-5PM. Supermarket. Liquor store.
  • 2 Foodworks Walcha, 19w Fitzroy Street (oppsite Carlo's IGA), +61 2 6777 2241, . M-F 8AM-7PM, Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Convenience store. Liquor store.
  • 3 King's Pharmacy (Guardian Pharmacy), 10n Derby Street (at the pedestrian crossing), +61 2 6777 2744. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-noon. Chemist.
  • 4 Walcha Newsagency, 25w Fitzroy Street (at the pedestrian crossing, near Foodworks), +61 2 6777 2149. M-F 8:30AM-5PM, Sa 8:30AM-noon, Su 8-11AM. Newsagent.
  • 5 The Fruit Shop, 1w Fitzroy Street (corner of Fitzroy Street and Derby Street), +61 2 6777 2977. M-F 7AM-5PM, Sa 7AM-1PM. Fruit and veg. Coffee shop.
  • 6 Moons Bakery, 23w Fitzroy Street (next to Foodworks), +61 2 6777 1202. M-F 8AM-4PM, Sa 9AM-noon. Bakery.

Fine foodEdit

  • 7 Eastview Estate and Dobson's Distillery, 298 Kentucky Road, Kentucky (34 km north-west of Walcha via Derby Street northbound, pass the Walcha Showground on the right and continue ahead as Thunderbolts Way, at the four-way intersection turn left onto Terrible Vale Road, cross the Salisbury Waters bridge, at Kentucky turn right/north onto Eastern Avenue and go around the bend to the left onto Kentucky Road, estate and distillery is on the left), +61 2 6778 7473, . Tastings W-Su 10:30AM-3:30PM; lunch Sa Su noon-2:30 (reservations required). A unique and distinctive brewery, distillery and restaurant.

EatEdit

HotelsEdit

  • Apsley Arms Hotel, 33n Derby Street (corner of Derby Street and Hamilton Street), +61 2 6777 2502, . M-Sa 12:30-2:30PM, 6:30-8:30PM. Bistro fare - see here for menu.
  • Commercial Hotel, 100 Commercial Lane (corner of Meridian Lane and Commercial Lane), +61 439 241 780. Daily dinner, Su lunch. Bistro fare.
  • Walcha Road Hotel, 1539 Wollun Road, Walcha Road (20 km north-west of Walcha via Oxley Highway westbound, turn right/north onto Wollun Road, hotel is on the right), +61 2 6777 5829, . This is a quality restaurant 20 km west of Walcha. Snacks, lunch and dinner. Enjoy some local characters, stories, local wine and fine food, or call in on the trip from Bendemeer to Walcha.

RestaurantsEdit

  • 1 Walcha Chinese Restaurant (New England Hotel Motel), 51e Fitzroy Street (corner of Fitzroy Street and Pakington Street - entrance in Pakington Street), +61 2 6777 2026. Tu 5PM-late; W-Su 11:30AM-2PM, 5PM-late. Chinese cuisine.
  • Walcha Bowling Club Restaurant, 14e Croudace Street (near the corner of Pakington Street and Croudace Street), +61 2 6777 2077, . Lunch: Su noon-2PM, dinner: F Sa 6-8:30PM. Bistro fare.

CafesEdit

  • Walcha Taphouse, 5w Fitzroy Street (corner of Fitzroy Street and Derby Street), +61 414 856 927. Tu-Th 2-8PM, F Sa noon-11PM. Cafe fare.

Fast foodEdit

DrinkEdit

  • 1 Apsley Arms Hotel, 33n Derby Street (corner of Derby Street and Hamilton Street), +61 2 6777 2502, . M-Sa 12:30-2:30PM, 6:30-8:30PM.
  • 2 Commercial Hotel, 100 Commercial Lane (corner of Meridian Lane and Commercial Lane), +61 439 241 780. Daily dinner, Su lunch.
  • 3 New England Hotel-Motel, 51e Fitzroy Street (corner of Fitzroy Street and Pakington Street), +61 2 6777 2532. Ten motel units and budget hotel accommodation. Lock up facilities for bikes. Phone for rates and availability.
  • 4 Walcha Road Hotel, 1539 Wollun Road, Walcha Road (20 km north-west of Walcha via Oxley Highway westbound, turn right/north onto Wollun Road, hotel is on the right), +61 2 6777 5829, .
  • 5 Walcha Taphouse, 5w Fitzroy Street (corner of Fitzroy Street and Derby Street), +61 414 856 927. Tu-Th 2-8PM, F Sa noon-11PM. Craft beers, wines, spirits through to mineral waters.

SleepEdit

HotelsEdit

MotelsEdit

  • 1 Walcha Motel, 31w Fitzroy Street (next to Walcha Visitors Information Centre), +61 2 6777 2599, . 19 rooms with ensuite bathroom, flat screen HD TV, free WiFi, courtyard parking, room-service breakfast. Motorcycle friendly. On-site restaurant only for group bookings with prior arrangement. Phone for rates and availability.

AccommodationEdit

  • 2 Anglea House B&B, Corner of Hill Street and Derby Street (opposite Apsley Riverview Hostel - driveway in Hill Street), +61 2 6777 2187, . A self-contained apartment (sleeps 3 - queen + sofa bed) with ensuite bathroom, fully equipped kitchen (no dishwasher), hairdryer, electric blanket, safe, ironing board, washing machine, separate entrance, off-street undercover parking, no pets. From $125 per night.
  • 3 Cairnie Country Cottage, 64 Abbottsley Road (8 km east of Walcha via Derby Street northbound, at the Walcha Showground turn right/east onto Jamieson Street and continue ahead as Ohio Road/Emu Creek Road, turn left/north onto Abbottsley Road, cottage is on the right), +61 429 771 335, . This fully equipped self-contained cottage in more than 100-year-old gardens accommodates 2 people (queen bedroom). Tea, coffee, milk and breakfast supplies provided. Alternate phone number: +61 488 771 335 From $165 per night, minimum stay 2 nights - phone or email for availability.
  • 4 High Country Cottage, 59 Memorial Avenue (off South Street southbound or Meridian Street southbound), +61 409 779 189, . This cottage has 4 bedrooms (sleeps 7) with a spacious living room, sun room, fully equipped kitchen, 2 queen rooms, 1 twin room, 1 single room. Full laundry facilities, washing machine and dryer. Portable cot available. Phone for rates and availability.
  • 5 Old Greenwells B&B, 14374 Thunderbolts Way (3 km south of Walcha via Thunderbolts Way southbound), . Check-in: after 2PM, check-out: by 10:30AM. Old Greenwells homestead (built 1856) offers 2 private bedrooms (1 queen room with ensuite, second bedroom shares ensuite), cot available on request. Basic kitchen facilities, no stove. Electric blanket, TV, WiFi available. Continental breakfast. No smoking, pets welcome with restrictions. Dinner available on request at time of booking only. The property is being renovated but this will not affect your stay. Phone or email for rates and availability.
  • Royal Walcha Cafe, 26e Fitzroy Street (next to Captain Cook Park), +61 2 6777 1117, . Check-in: 12:30PM, check-out: 10:30AM. 9 upstairs rooms plus a cottage. Breakfast is to be orded from the cafe menu the night before. See here for rates and amenities - phone or email for availability.
  • 6 Walcha Guest House, 15n Derby Street (next to Cafe Graze), +61 488 775 891, . A guest house with 4 rooms with TV and DVD player, 2 bathrooms - 1 with laundry, private garden with barbecue, fully equipped kitchen, wood fire heating, air conditioning, lock up garage, pets by arrangement only. Broadband internet available. Phone or email for rates and availability.
  • 7 Valley Views Cottage, 54n South Street (corner of South Street and Churchill Street, opposite the Walcha Catholic Church), +61 2 6777 2877, . Valley Views has a master bedroom, an additional queen room, and a twin room. This cottage is fully renovated with a large kitchen containing a full stove, microwave oven, fridge, dishwasher, and toaster. The sitting room has a TV with DVD player, and a sun room. Charming, chic and comfortable. Phone or email for rates and availability..

Farm stayEdit

  • Cheyenne Wildnerness Retreat, 2770 Winterbourne Road (phone or email for directions), +61 2 6777 9172, . 3 self-contained cottages. Take part in typical farm activities such as bushwalking, feeding chickens, collecting eggs, toasting marshmallows around a fire, feeding young livestock, petting farm animals, milking a cow, or just catch up on reading and sleeping. Phone for rates and availability.
  • Red Hill Organics Homestay, 2000 Kangaroo Flat Road, Yarrowitch (75 km south-east of Walcha - phone or email for directions), +61 428 695 184, . Stay in the original farmhouse, which has 4 double bedrooms, a lounge/family room with a fireplace and TV, separate dining area with fireplace, fully equipped kitchen. Pet friendly with up to 8 kennels. Undercover parking for up to 8 vehicles, more parking without cover. Crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils provided - bring your own food. Alternative phone number +61 427 003 375. Remember to fill your fuel tanks before departing for the homestay, as the nearest petrol stations are in Walcha and Wauchope.
  • 8 Venterfair Rural Retreat, 979 Oxley Highway (10 km west of Walcha via Oxley Highway westbound, accommodation is on the left), +61 2 6777 6558, . A self-contained farmhouse with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lounge room, family room, kitchen, laundry, double garage, barbecue facilities. Master bedroom with ensuite. Lounge room has fold-out divan. Family room has wood heater, electric heater, TV. Kitchen has dishwasher, microwave oven, cutlery, crockery, cooking utensils. Opportunities to work the vegetable garden, meet the farm animals, or help out the farm owners - ask when booking. Phone or email for rates and availability.

Caravan parksEdit

  • 9 Walcha Caravan Park, Corner of Middle Street and North Street (Middle Street running north off Fitzroy Street), +61 2 6777 2501, . Cabins, powered drive-through sites, powered slab sites, shady unpowered sites. Pet friendly. Camp kitchen with microwave oven, wood heater, fridge, stove, hot water. Fire pits, but bring your own firewood. Dump point. Gas available as swap or fill. See website for rates, phone for availability..

CampingEdit

  • 10 Lochlorian Trout Fishing and Getaway, 936 Topdale Road, Niangala (60 km south-west of Walcha via Derby Street/Thunderbolts Way southbound, turn right/west onto Topdale Road, accommodation is on the right), +61 2 6769 2335, . 12 unpowered sites, and a cabin. Shelter with tables and chairs, rainwater tank, pit toilet, barbecue, fire pit. Great for trout fishing in a stocked dam or an idyllic getaway for two or the family. The cabin only supplies 12V electricity, so no hairdryers, shavers, etc.. See here for rates, phone or email for availability.

ConnectEdit

For internet services: Walcha Telecottage, 32w Fitzroy Street; +61 2 6777 1111; Fax:02 6777 1112; E-Mail: telecottage@optusnet.com.au

For free computer and internet usage (during opening hours): Walcha Library, Derby St., +61 2 67742550

There are many areas in the district and surrounding area where mobile (cell) phones (including next G country models) will not operate.

CopeEdit

EmergencyEdit

Fuel and mechanicalEdit

Public telephonesEdit

  • Public telephone, Fitzroy Street (outside Walcha Tyre Service).
  • Public telephone, Derby Street (outside the post office).
  • Public telephone, Middle Street (outside the caravan park).
  • 8 Public telephone, Fitzroy Street (between Middle Street and the Walcha Veterninary Clinic).

Public toiletsEdit

  • 9 Public toilets, McHattan Park (corner of Fitzroy Street and South Street). Open 24 hours. Disabled access. Sharps disposal. Sanitary disposal.
  • 10 Public toilets, Quota Park (North Street, off Derby Street). Open 24 hours.
  • 11 Public toilets, Captain Cook Park (next to Walcha Royal Cafe). Open 24 hours. Sanitary disposal.

BanksEdit

  • 12 National Australia Bank (NAB), 45n Derby Street (corner of Derby Street and Apsley Street, opposite the post office), +61 132 265. M-F 9:30AM-12:30PM. No ATM
  • 13 Commonwealth Bank, 7n Derby Street (at the pedestrian crossing), +61 2 6777 2722. M-W 9AM-4:30PM, Th 9AM-5PM, F 9AM-4:30PM.
  • 14 Regional Australia Bank, 11n Derby Street (next to the Commonwealth Bank), +61 2 6777 2722. M-F 10AM-3PM.
  • Bank@Post (Australia Post), 46n Derby Street (corner of Derby Street and Apsley Street, opposite the National Australia Bank), +61 2 6777 2799. M-F 9AM-5PM. Agent for Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Bank, National Australia Bank.

ATMsEdit

  • Commonwealth Bank ATM, 7n Derby Street (Commonwealth Australia Bank). Open 24 hours.
  • Cashcard ATM, 51e Fitzroy Street (New England Hotel Motel). Hotel hours.

ServicesEdit

  • 15 Australia Post, 46n Derby Street (corner of Derby Street and Apsley Street, opposite the National Australia Bank), +61 2 6777 2799. M-F 9AM-5PM.

Go nextEdit

Walcha Shire has approximately 156,000 ha of National Parks and Wilderness in the region. The wilderness area incorporates most of the Oxley Wild Rivers and Werrikimbe National Parks.

The spectacular Apsley Falls, which has disabled persons access, about 7 viewing platforms, a gorge rim walk, picnic and camping areas is 20 km east of Walcha on a sealed road. Tia Falls are about 44 km east along the Oxley Highway. These falls are part of the 90,000 ha Oxley Wild Rivers National Park which is one of the largest National Parks in NSW. The park contains the scenic Macleay Gorges Wilderness Area and is listed on the World Heritage Register in recognition of its importance to nature conservation.

Riverside is a rare area where one can take a low range 4WD into a wilderness area for a day trip or camping, after paying a fee and obtaining a key at Apsley Motors.

Youdale’s Hut is another low range 4WD vehicle destination that is also possible to access after paying a fee and obtaining a key at Apsley Motors.

Werrikimbe National Park, 60 km east of Walcha is a pristine wilderness. It's a World Heritage park, wrapped within the dramatic fold of the Great Dividing Range where two rivers, the Forbes and Hastings, begin their journey to the coast. Racecourse Trail runs for 20 km across the top section of Werrikimbe and gives access to the park's highlights. Here you'll see subalpine swamp, heath, snow gums and the soft grey-greens of the cool climate eucalypt forests. In spring, the high country wildflowers alone make this a spectacular drive. There are many other National Parks and Nature Reserves in or near the district, including: Mummel Gulf National Park.

Other tourist attractions include scenic 4WD trips, hiking, visiting the State Forests, fishing (mainly for trout) and fossicking opportunities.

DestinationsEdit

  • Uralla - north of Walcha: 41 km via Derby Street northbound, pass Jamieson Street turn-off on the left and continue ahead as Thunderbolts Way, continue ahead to Uralla (27 min)
  • Armidale - north of Walcha: 64 km via via Derby Street northbound, pass Jamieson Street turn-off on the left and continue ahead as Thunderbolts Way, at Uralla turn left onto Salisbury Street then right onto Bridge Street/New England Highway (A15), at the roundabout turn right onto Uralla Road (B78), at the next roundabout turn left onto Dangar Street (47 min)
  • Wauchope - south-east of Walcha: 163 km via Oxley Highway (B56) eastbound (2 hr 11 min)
  • Port Macquarie - south-east of Walcha: 183 km via Oxley Highway (B56) eastbound, through Wauchope, cross the Pacific Highway (A1), continue into Port Macquarie (2 hr 31 min)
  • Gloucester - south-east of Walcha: 146 km via Derby Street southbound, pass the Aberbaldie Road turn-off on the right and continue south as Thunderbolt's Way, pass the Nowendoc Road turn-off on the left, continue into Gloucester (1 hr 44 min)
  • Bendemeer - west of Walcha: 50.5 km via Oxley Highway (B56) westbound (35 min)
  • Tamworth - south-west of Walcha: 90.5 km via Oxley Highway (B56) westbound, at Bendemeer turn left/south onto the New England Highway (A15), continue into Tamworth (1 hr 6 min)


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