Spice up your drive from Sydney to Canberra by calling in at Forty Foot Falls in Mittagong. If forty feet of waterfall isn’t enough, you can always push on to Sixty Foot Falls – we’ll let you work out how high that one is!
We acknowledge that this adventure is located on Gandangara Nation, the traditional Country of the Gandangara people who have occupied and cared for this land for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
- Epic waterfall
- Learning about the history of the Mittagong area
- Walking through an 84m train tunnel
Follow The Boxvale Track
Nestled between Sydney and Canberra is a hidden gem of a waterfall. Forty Foot Falls is a stone’s throw from the Hume Highway but you wouldn’t know it. On a tip from a fellow Explorer, I sought out this waterfall near the small town of Mittagong.
The route to Forty Foot Falls veers off the Boxvale Tramway Trail – named for the tramway that used to run through the area. The tramway became operational in 1888 to haul coal extracted from the Nattai River Gorge to the Great Southern Railway. At its peak, the mine produced 100 tonnes of coal a day.
Coal extraction finished in the area in 1896 and the bush grew back over the railway, before bushfires destroyed the railway trestle bridges. The Boxvale Tramway Track was opened in 1986, following the line of the former tramway track.
The 12km return hike to the falls takes you through rock cuttings built for the coal transporting tramway. It’s mostly flat until the last section where you go down a series of steps and a ladder built into the rock, that’s when you’ll see the falls – all 40 feet!
You can walk around the back of the falls and stand under them, and there’s also a lookout above the falls. If you don’t mind a bit of rock scrambling, you can head further down the Nattai River to get a view of the falls from the front.
From the falls, you can continue across the Nattai River and take the trail to Mittagong and Sixty Foot Falls, or return back to the Boxvale Track via the old tramway tunnel – an impressive 84 metre tunnel carved into the rock.
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
- Hiking shoes
- Rain jacket
- Insect repellent (for leeches)
How To Get There
Forty Foot Falls is located off the Hume Highway about 75 minutes from Sydney and just shy of 2 hours from Canberra.
Forty Foot Falls leads off the Boxvale Tramway Track. To get there, follow the signs to Mittagong, get onto the Old Hume Highway and turn onto Boxvale Road at Welby. You’ll then see a small car park and signage pointing you onto the Boxvale Tramway Track.
There are a couple of short steep sections, and some rocks to scramble over to access the waterfall, but the rest of the trail is mostly flat.
Distance Covered / Duration
12km if you complete the Boxvale Tramway Track and the detour to Forty Foot Falls / 3 hours including stops to take photos