|Maps:||LPI Hilltop 8929-2N 1:25000|
|Notes:||Print-friendly notes (opens in new window)|
Slott Way is probably the shortest access to the middle Nattai River, so while it is a worthwhile walk in it's own right, it is also a good route if you are looking to explore up or down the river, or as an access route to the lower part of Rocky Waterholes Creek.
The track is marked, but there are no signposts, and the track is not always easy to spot. It is steep in places and some care is needed.
The walk starts from the car park at the end of Wattle Ridge Road, in Hill Top.
Coming from Sydney, take the Hume Highway (M31) south, and take Exit 10 (Church Ave) signposted to Colo Vale, Hill Top and Yerrinbool. Turn right at the roundabout to cross the freeway, and then right again on to Wilson Dr after 1.6km, just before crossing the abandoned railway. After 5.2km turn left on to Chalker Parade, and then follow the road around to the right after it crosses the old railway line, and becomes West Parade. This takes you into the village of Hill Top, which includes the Hilltop Village Bakery and Cafe, opening early on the weekends.
Continue along West Parade. As the road veers north-west, it becomes Wattle Ridge Road. Not far out of the village the bitumen ends, and it becomes a generally good quality dirt road, 2wd accessible under normal conditions. Follow this to the car park at a locked gate, opposite the private property of Wattle Ridge. There is parking for around 8-10 cars, and an information board at the car park.
The car park can be busy on weekends so consider car pooling from Hill Top.
From 13 May 2017, last checked 13 May 2017
Pass through the locked gate to the west, and follow the fire trail around the perimeter of the Wattle Ridge property for 1.7km (25 min) to an intersection with a less distinct fire trail, and a signboard. Take the left branch on to the less distinct track, signposted to Starlights Trail. This heads over a small rise. After 400m (5 min), note a turnoff to the right at 618011 (Hilltop) marked with S.T. painted on the ground on a rock, and continue on the fire trail for another 130m keeping a close eye out for another fainter (unmarked) track heading off to the right. If the fire trail is heading SE, you have probably missed the turnoff and gone too far.
Turn on to this track, which heads up an almost over the top of Point Hill, from where there are glimpses of views down to the valley. It then descents gently for the next 800m (15 min) into a small gully, to a track junction at 609009. The right hand branch, climbing up on to the ridge, leads to Ahearn Lookout. Take the left hand branch, which leads down the south (left hand) side of the gully.
The track is relatively well-marked with tape, and blue metal markers. The track quickly cuts across to the north the gully and then sidles above the creek on the right-hand side for the next 800m. A good lookout on a protruding (and airy) rock ledge is reached with views of the valley, though not of Russells Needle.
From here, the track heads steeply down to the left, starting with a slightly awkward climb down. The track follows the minor ridge briefly before cutting steeply right under a small cliff line. Keep a close eye on the markers. After a further steep descent, the track gradient eases off as the route follows a spur generally west. The Nattai River is reached at 593002
After a break, retrace your steps the way you came.
Alternatively, there are a number of other good options. A good day walk would be to follow the Nattai downstream for 2.5km until you reach Emmetts Flat. From there, you can exit via Starlights Track, though it is useful to have previously walked Starlights Track so you know where the track leaves the river.
Time: 5 hrs Distance: 13km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 440m
Easy walk down to beautiful grassy campsites on the Nattai River
Time: 4 hrs Distance: 12km Fitness: E Skill: EM Ascent: 80m
A relatively easy walk to a spectacular lookout
Time: 4 hrs Distance: 17km Fitness: EM Skill: E Ascent: 100m
Easy fire trail walking to the Little River, through one of the most impressive stands of Blue Gums around Sydney
Time: 9 hrs Distance: 18km Fitness: H Skill: MH Ascent: 700m
Challenging walk with some scrambling to reach the top of an impressive knife-edge ridge
Time: 7 hrs Distance: 20km Fitness: M Skill: EM Ascent: 440m
A longish but relatively easy day to grassy flats on the Nattai River
21-22/09/2019 - Russells Needle: Wattle Ridge - Ahearn Lookout - Slott Way - Nattai River - Russells Needle - Nattai River (C) - Rocky Waterholes Creek - The Chasm - unnamed creek - Fingers Lokoout - Wattle Ridge [SBW] (photos)
07-08/04/2018 - Nattai River: Wattle Ridge - Ahearn Lookout - Slott Way - Nattai River - (near) Emmetts Flat (C) - Starlights Track - Chasm Lookout(?) - Wattle Ridge [SBW] (photos)