Principally the walk is through native old growth eucalypt and myrtle forest. One of the first spectacles we saw was a blaze of brilliantly coloured fungi feeding off the end of a lichen covered fallen log.
On later days when we met other travellers in the Tarkine, we found that everyone makes the journey to the Philosophers Falls, and everyone was desperate to show me the prize photo of their walk. It was always this same batch of fungi. In a forest of variable greens, browns and greys this brilliant display was a startling attraction.
We loved the unexpected. Along the pathway, amidst a world of tall straight trees, one tree with curvy branches took our attention.
We puzzled over this phenomenon for a while and eventually recognised that the very large fallen trees surrounding this tree must have shaped it when they were still standing, as it grew during its infancy stages.
I loved the clever spider traps amidst the lichen and rotting logs.
This was a very wet environment, albeit one we encountered on a sunny dry day. Despite my bushwalking experience seldom had I seen every tree and every bush and every rock covered in lichens of one sort or another. This meant that all edges were softened, and in the dappled light in the undergrowth it required a great deal of concentration to determine where one object started and another stopped. The features of the bush often seemed to blur together.
Not long after crossing a bridge over the Arthur River,
interpretation boards have been installed to help understand the historic water race that flows next to the later section of the path. Workers in the early 1900s built the race by hand to supply water to the nearby Magnet Mine which closed in 1940. You can see and listen to a small section of the race in our video here.
Where does the name for the Philosopher’s Falls come from?
James “Philosopher” Smith was searching for silver when he discovered tin at Mount Bischoff near Waratah in 1871. This changed the fortunes of the entire state of Tasmania and the Falls were named after this man for his significant achievement. If you want to read more about him then read Nicholas Haygarth’s thesis The ‘Father of Tasmania’? Measuring the legend of James ‘Philosopher’ Smith