In 1874 the manager of the Iron Works built a coal-skip line over Mount Alexandra in order to transport coal and coke to the Iron Works, replacing an existing line previously used as a skip line track around the end of the mountain for horse-drawn trucks to transport the coal.
The construction of the line over the mountain involved building an embankment across the gully for the line which created a lake, providing a plentiful water supply needed by the iron works for steam boilers and for cooling hot air jets used with the new hot-blast system.
Turn off of the Hume hwy at Mittagong and on to Beatrice st. On your right at the end of the street is an extension of Leopold st. a gated Fire trail. I parked underneath the trees just across from where the walk starts but there is parking in the neighbouring pcyc club and at the swimming Pool.
There is another entrance with parking at Mt Alexandra rd that is only a few hundred metres walk from the lookout and roughly an hour walk to the falls via the coke tunnel. You could also park at and start the walk at Lake Alexandra on Alfred st. Mittagong.
The Mountain circuit track is marked as a 7km walk and said to take up to 5 hours but gps tracking put it at more like 9.5km. If you park at the Mt Alexandra entrance instead you can cut off about 1.5 km of it by skipping that section of the fire trail but it would still be just over 8km. In total this walk took me under 4 hours and that was with a fair amount of stopping to take pictures or just chilling. The walk up to the lookout was slightly soul destroying and parts of the track are steep and a little bit scrabbly, especially coming down the green tramway track and climbing toward the lookout from under the bridge but for the most part the track is clear enough and fairly even and easy.
The walk starts on this rather pretty, wide fire trail. There were black cockatoos in the trees above and a pretty view of the gully and river below. You can see a small and pretty waterfall down at the creek near the beginning of the track which I am sure would be easy enough to access with some light scrabbling but I did not get time to check it out on this trip.
Take a slight right when you see a sign for the 60 foot falls track and it will lead you down to your first creek crossing. Not long after this you will see a walking track come up on your left hand side which will lead you towards the falls.
The track will lead you out to the river bed and a short walk down it will lead you to the top of the falls. These pictures were taken in August 2019 when the country was a little lacking in water. Not a single drop of water making it down the waterfall.
Luckily it is a completely different story on my second visit with plenty of water falling to the large basin of water below. This would be an amazing place to come swimming in summer!
There is another large basin of water suitable for swimming in just down from the waterfall where a second smaller waterfall drops down in sight of the larger 60 foot falls.
I reached the bottom of the falls by carefully scaling the rocks near the waterfall itself but if you continue on down the track it crosses the river not too far away. You could come down there and then follow the river back if you wanted a safer way.
A little further on from the falls and the track crosses the river before crossing underneath the freeway above.
Passing through some of the lovely bush land tracks. It was super peaceful and I never seen another person after the first creek crossing even though it was a saturday on a long weekend at the end of Autumn and perfect hiking weather.
For some parts of the track you can certainly hear and even see the highway close by but do not let that put you off it is still an amazing walk.
Just before the second crossing underneath the highway will be a set of stairs down to the creek, you could skip it but its a short and pretty detour. Take care though with the direction you take here as a wrong turn will have you heading off towards the box vale walk instead.. A four hour detour. You need to cross the creeks 3 times in quick succession to be heading back toward the underpass.
After crossing underneath the road the second time take the track marked with a sign to Mittagong and the lookout. This is where the pain begins. There are “stairs” of a kind.. Steep and loose and it is a long way up! Perfect if you bought your pet mountain goat along.
Once up the steps the climb continues up a very long uphill fire trail. The views are amazing as you get up higher but it is a long climb!
If you can still see straight when you make it to the top of Mount Alexandra follow the sign on your left to check out the Katoomba Lookout.
The lookout is a little overgrown now but you can see clear to the Blue Mountains from here.
From the lookout it is a short distance to a nearby carpark and an alternative starting point for this walk. If you cross through the carpark you will see signs for the Green Tramway walk. This leads to a rather steep downhill track which passes through a really cool old Coke tunnel.
The tunnel and the steep tram track incline was built in 1874 to help move coal to Mittagong from the Nattai gorge to fuel the first Iron works in Australia. It was closed down in the 1890’s when the depression caused the owners to go out of business.
Once on the other side of the tunnel it is a quick but quite steep walk to the fire trail we started on and then a short walk to the car.