Detail of the wonderful sandstone arch

Thursday 24 May 2018: Nattai Gorge/Boxvale Tramway – M/M. Traverse the spectacular and beautiful Nattai Gorge near Mittagong and return along the historic tramway alignment. All on track but a steep downhill section, stepping stones across river and a steep climb out of the gorge. 10km and 350vm. Leader: Phillip S.

Further Information

I was last here on a Stan walk exactly 10 years ago, 24 May 08.


Distance: 12.7km | Climb: 350m | Time: 10.40am – 4.20pm (5hrs 40mins), including 45 mins of breaks | Grading: M/M; M(9)


Photographs are available, where you can start a large sized slideshow.

Waypoint and Track Files

Download the gpx file for this trip (if your browser does not automatically download the file, it will open the gpx file in a new window and you can then save it). To use in Google Earth, do File, Open… and select Gps or All files as the File Type.

Track Notes

With my dear wife fully recovered from a day surgery procedure, a number of late bookings generously accepted by walk leaders led to an orgy of walking (punctuated by church on Sunday). This was the first.

Lovely to be driven. The trip up with Q, dozing and hoiking my cold cough left into his window. Returned with Mike, awake with coke and fewer hoiks due to Soothers. We found the start point and set off at 10.40am. Nothing looked familiar, due either to the 10 year gap or my failing memory.

The first bit was along the Boxvale Walking Track. We then turned onto the track to the Forty Foot Falls. A quick nab of the trad geocache GC2A83K forty foot Falls on the way down to the Falls.

A spectacular location for morning tea, behind the curtain of water. Another cache here, GC75TYV Box Vale – Undercutting, an earth cache (nothing hidden = littering the bush; ust answer some geological questions and submit the answers to the cache owner). The questions were (1) ‘From the lookout at GZ, estimate the distance the water falls. In other words, how tall are the falls?’; and (2) ‘In addition to the forces that create a typical waterfall undercutting, there is another feature at the Forty Foot Falls contributing to the process. What is that feature and how does it impact the undercutting?’ I enlisted my companions in answering these questions. To (1), we came up with anything from 15m to 25m. It was only later in the day that Q said they are called the Forty Foot Falls! So I assume the answer is 12.2m! To (2) we had a variety of answers that I hope the CO will accept! The first was that the blocks in the creek just downstream of the falls would cause water to bank up in periods of high flow and thus contribute to the underflow; the second was that water seepage from above (as perhaps evidenced by the nearby cave) would increase the undercut. I wait with bated breath to see if the CO approves the answers!

There were several other earth caches on our circuit, but it’s a fine line between caching on someone else’s walk and nabbing caches. So I left the rest.

We continued on down Nattai Creek after morning tea, then explored a little upstream on the Nattai River. Returning to the river/creek confluence, we took the track down the river for another 1.8km, crossed to the true right bank and had lunch.

Continuing down the river, we came to where it swings west. Here, the track passes though the most wonderful sandstone arch with beautiful, fine, dark swirls (of coal?) in the stone:

Detail of the wonderful sandstone arch

Through the Nattai River Gorge, the terrain then flattens out a little and we crossed back to the true left bank.

A little faffing around to find the bottom of the Incline – perhaps the track goes up the little dry creek line. Anyway, we at last found a signpost.

From it to the top of the Incline is a mere 400m across the ground, but the climb is 150vm! I puffed up in 18mins, but VT was already calmly breathing at the top. A cable running up the steep slope is a handy help at times!

Puffing up The Incline

From here, we followed the tramway. Another fabulous experience, passing through various cuttings and a tunnel:

In the tunnel

From here, a simple return to the cars.

An excellent walk, thank you Phillip. Your Thursday walks grow by attracting great friends to your great walks. Thanks all!

Track Map


Where we went


GE snip

Google Earth snip


10 walkers – Mike B, Chris F, Stewart J, Alan L, Quentin M, Terrylea R, Marg S, Phillip S (leader), VT, me.