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Box Vale Track: Nattai River, Forty Foot Falls

Mt Alexandra Reserve, NSW Australia, October 2002
Danny Yee, Camilla Ip
(thumbnails link to larger images)

This walk starts just off the Old Hume Highway, between Mittagong and Berrima. We got away from Sydney late and had a "brunch" in Mittagong, so we didn't start walking till just after noon.

The track crosses Nattai creek before reaching the old Box Vale railway line. This is followed for some three kilometres, on the level, sometimes on built-up causeways, at others passing through cuttings ("Casuarina", "Boulder", "Fern") and at one point a tunnel. At the end is a "box loading area", and a hundred metres further on is a lookout with nice views down the Nattai River valley.

raised track

the tunnel

looking down the Nattai valley

Anyone after a really easy day-trip could retrace their steps here. Otherwise the track descends 180m from the loading area down a smooth but steep incline, slippery with loose rocks and leaves - this is presumably where they used to haul coal up to the railway line. The track then goes down Box Vale Creek and up the Nattai River, crossing to the eastern side immediately and then crossing back after a kilometre and a half. At one point it passes through a natural arch.

a termite mound

rock patterns on the Natural Arch

Camilla at Forty Foot Falls

The track turns up Nattai Creek to Forty Foot Falls, where there's a nice shady cave behind the falls and some impressive boulders. It then climbs up to a firetrail which rejoins the outgoing track.

The walk took us four and a half hours at a leisurely pace. In addition to flowers, termite mounds, and Camilla's first wombat hole, we saw assorted lizards and some birds (female Glossy Black Cockatoos Calyptorhynchus lathami were the most dramatic), and heard many more.

If you want more details, the Box Vale Track is walk 67 in Bushwalks of the Sydney Region, Volume 2 (2nd edition, edited S. Lord and G. Daniel).

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