The Mittagong to Katoomba walk has been mapped and described by Robert Sloss in his book Trekking The Enign Barralier Walk Track Notes. I found some other very helpful information from the following sites:
Mittagong to Katoomba: 124km over 10 days
Apart from enjoying ourselves, we'd planned this walk to test some of our new gear, especially:
The walk winds up from Mittagong through the Nattai River Valley, over Beloon Pass, down into Wollondilly River Valley, through Yerranderie,
over Scotts Main Rainge, down over the Cox's River, up through the Megalong Valley and out to Dunphy's Camp (we decided to take this alternate
route, the main route goes up Tarros Ladder, over Narrow Neck Plateau and to Katoomba).
Although many people walk North to South (as Wikipedia suggests) we decided to walk
South to North as Robert Sloss set out his track notes.
The walk (as we did it) covers about 124 kilometres and has a total ascend of 9,103m and total descend of 9,117m; so a bit of up and down.
I've posted our GPS log into our EveryTrail Page; I have also uploaded photographs of each of the Robert Sloss's Track Notes' waypoints, which can then be downloaded as a Google Earth file or a GPX file. I found a number of the track notes' grid references were either out of date or inaccurate. Hopefully these waypoints should correct this. The map below is a small version of what's available from my EveryTrail Account.
EveryTrail - Find hiking trails in Katoomba and beyond
The aim on Day 1 was to basically to get onto the track: Pack in the morning, travel by train to Penrith where our son Keren picked us up and drove us down to the Southern Trackhead.
From the Trackhead we were only walking down to the first camp site, on Bracken Flat, but this ensured an early start the next day.
The aim for Day 2 was to reach Wangaderry Creek and Cathedral Forest, but we failed terribly.
The state of the track was a huge shock, none of our previous experience prepared us for what we had to walk through. The NP&WS did say that Blatchs Pass was overgrown, but we didn't picture what we found. We finished a long day only walking 5km and we were terribly scratched and beaten (from numerous falls); consequently we lost a huge amount of time that we had to try and make up over the following days.
But the bits that were beautiful were absolutely beautiful, it was such a shame that we were not in a good shape to experience it.
We'd set our sights on Stepover Crossing as our end point for our first catch-up day. That was a little ambitious as it turned out, as we fell (literally) a little short.
We passed some remarkable scenery today that will be well remembered:
We were hopeful of getting to Beloon Pass by tonight, at least we'd reassess the situation when we got to Vineyard Flat. The Track Notes didn't sound like the track/road after Kaboom Crossing was going to be particularly good: but we were pleasantly surprised.
It ended up a slowish day with all the stopping to take boots on and off, but the wonderful reward at the end of the day made it all worth it. It is an amazing feeling to have the layers stripped off until there's not much left apart from your partner, faith and a little determination: in the midst of the pain and distress I realised that I loved that, and was very thankful for it.
After a big day yesterday, we had a bigger day today and we'd hoped it'd be Yerranderie or bust. Thankfully we didn't need the extra emergency dinner (which was getting very thin at this point).
We woke to an amazing sunrise and a slowly unfolding Wollondilly River.
Day 6: Rest Day
We'd arranged with a couple of friends to spend the weekend with us at Yerranderie, and to bring the supplies for the second half of the walk. Although we were a day late, we'd included them in our SPOT updates, so they knew where we were up to and that we were going to be late.
Yerranderie is a wonderful silver mining ghost town that has recently been handed over to the NP&WS. It will be interesting to see how they handle this wonderful resource. But today, we were more than happy to soak up some sun and just relax.
After being totally spoilt by our friends and relaxing in the sun all afternoon, we were more than ready to head off on the second half of our walk. The aim for today is to find Kiaramba Spring, which we failed to find last time out; but it's not a long walk today and we should have plenty of time.
The walking is so quicker on a made track without navigation issues, and the views from Scotts Main Range are still amazing.
Today is another easy day as we're only aiming to get to New Yards. Much of today we've walked previously when we did Scotts Main Range from Kanangra Walls.
We've wanted to get to Kowmung House (New Yards) for some time as we've heard so much about it and its Chapel, and it certainly didn't disappoint. It left us in awe of the farsighted original founders of the Catholic Bushwalking Club and their ongoing generosity.
After a second lazy day we've got a more demanding day ahead today. The basic plan for today is to get away early and have a long, restful lunch on the Cox's River before the nearly 600m climb in the afternoon. It's a little scary, but if all goes to plan, we'll romp up White Pup Spur and White Dog Ridge and spend a satisfied night at Birrel Lake.
The Track Notes also promise some wonderful views from a couple of lookouts that we're looking forward to: Kowmung and Cox's Rivers. At the end of the day we'll be on familiar territory at Birrel Lake, almost feels like a home away from home.
Today's hardly a "day" at all, but it's a great way to finish. Actually, the whole of the second half of this walk has been very relaxed and it's been very enjoyable: Just what we needed after the rush and bother of the first half.
We're looking forward to lunch at Megalong Tea Rooms with Paul, who we've organised to pick us up. It should be a relaxed way to come back to civilization and reality.
If this site has been any benefit to you why not consider a donation to help cover costs?
All donations, however big or small, will receive access to the Bibbulmun mosaic posters which they can print out.
2011 Track Diary: