Mt. Alexandra

In 1875 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. 
Address:
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. 
Distance:
The Mountain circuit track is marked as a 7km walk and said to take up to 5 hours but I ended up taking an altered route.
The walk that I done and mapped out in red on this map (click here for a copy of the map without my red markings.)  took about 4 hours and at a very rough guess I would say was also about 7km, about half of it on some relatively flat fire trails.  The walk up to the Coke tunnel and the walk down to cross under the road are very steep and rough. A lot of care should be taken, especially when coming down. The walk along the river between these two points is in terrible disrepair and not at all clearly marked. It becomes very easy to lose the track. At some point I lost the track completely and ended up scurrying up an embankment to find another part of the track, or at least a connecting one…

 

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.  Soon enough I seen a trail heading up the hills to the left. The map said this led to a tunnel and well, tunnels are cool, so yeah…left it is!
If you happen to have a pet mountain goat at home, this is the perfect walk for you. The track was steep and long and uneven and the perfect way to warm up on what was a cold Saturday morning. At the top are some beautiful cliffs and a rather interesting cave. 
And of course the tunnel! 
Not very far past the tunnel is a car park and an alternate starting point for the walks in the reserve. 
At the carpark is a sign indicating that the Katoomba lookout is 500 metres from me. So I take yet another detour to check this out.  
The lookout is in a nice clearing with some tables to sit and take advantage of the views. You can see clear to the Blue Mountains from here. 
Another goat friendly track is the one down to the highway underpass. Its a very steep and long downhill track with plenty of loose rocks. 
Keep an eye out for a track leading down to the river not very long after you cross underneath the road. 
This is where you need to be a little careful. Crossing the river once and going straight will put you on course to the 40 foot falls and boxvale tracks.  Cross twice and you will find yourself bush bashing on the wrong side of the river like me 🙂
You actually have to cross 3 times in total to find your way back to the track. After 3 crossings you will continue with the creek to your left.
So now this is the path you will follow.. Underneath those ferns somewhere and then somewhere in that scrub.. and I think this clearing through the trees was part of the track? Pretty much all of the track along the river looked like this. A huge flood wiped out just about all of the trails in this area some years ago.  This was a very slow going and frustrating part of the hike. 
In a few sections its not just the track thats missing but the ground. A few small gully’s had to be leaped or circled. 
There came a point where I lost the track completely and even back tracking could not find it again. I climbed up the escarpment a small way and found a decent track up there. Eventually this led to a second crossing underneath the highway and then back on to the fire trail. You will in time come across a yellow sign indicating the 60 foot falls fire trail. Ignore this.. look around and follow the red arrow pointing to the river. 
I did wonder why I had not heard the usual thunder of water in the distance and the walk down the rather dry river bed confirmed my fears.
So this is the waterfall at the top and the one at the bottom. Yeah it is kinda sad and depressing. I will just leave these pictures here as placeholders and make a quick trip to the falls next time we get some decent rain and replace them 🙂
A nice relaxing return walk along the fire trail that bought us in here leads us back out. 
I am just going to say it…This was far from my favorite walk..it was a frustrating walk over some unmarked and badly formed tracks. The fire trails were long and boring. The steeper tracks were borderline dangerous to descend with the large shifting pebbles and rocks and the parts of the track that followed the river done it 90% of the time out of sight of said river. Add a dried up waterfall and it was a disappointing day. But I guess calories were burned and the doggo was happy so not a day wasted 🙂
 
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August 2019