It has taken me about 8 years to convince T that we need to head back up into the Blue Mountains for an adventure. We spent a lot of time exploring the B&Bs around Katoomba before kids (BC). The road works commenced around that time and after spending hours trying to navigate the Great Western Highway, he declared that we wouldn’t return. It didn’t really take that much to twist T’s arm. When he saw the excitement that crossed N’s face as I described the Skyway, he was sold.
The kids really didn’t have any concept what Scenic World – www.scenicworld.com.au would be like. R though we were off to visit a ‘train in the sky’. Despite the site not being anything like what Harry Potter might be used to, they were impressed nonetheless. The Blue Mountains can be accessed outside Scenic World – of course. But we wanted an easy adventure where all the planning was done for us.
Arriving at Scenic World around 10.00 am we realised that this was the same time as all the tour buses descend on the site! This proved to be no issue as there are two entrances. On entry we had the option of selecting our pass. We chose to purchase the Ultimate Discovery Pass which includes unlimited rides on the Railway, Skyway, Cableway and Walkway. This was invaluable as the kids requested to do the railway repeatedly – they loved it that much.
First adventure – the Skyway across the ravine. Suspended 270 metres in the air, the ride gave us gorgeous views of the Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, and Jamison Valley. We decided to disembark and explore. There’s only so much time you can stare at the Three Sisters when you have kids with you, so we went in the opposite direction at hiked around to the Katoomba Falls. The kids loved the falls and we spent over half an hour here as they skipped rocks across the water, jumped across the rocks and generally had a great time. As warned – R did get his feet wet!
We strolled further along to find some of the lookouts over the Jamison Valley. My gosh – what beauty to behold. We were also amazed by all of the Tree Ferns growing everywhere. These plants are one of the oldest plants in the world and proved tone fascinating to the kids. With the day increasing in temperature, we decided to move back to the Skyway so we could have lunch.
The Scenic World cafe has stunning views over the valley with the Three Sisters viewable from every seat. For once we gave in and purchased the kids meals: chips, nuggets and bread rolls. T and I enjoyed steak sandwiches. An easy delicious meal with the perfect view. What more could we want? Drinks and lunch set us back about $40.00. Of course, you can pack your own food and drinks as there are no restrictions on this at the site.
Next stop – the Scenic Railway which first started way back in 1945. The railway has undergone quite the renovation since T and I went down it more than half a decade ago. It’s now a fifth generation model and very impressive. Said to be the steepest passenger train in the world it boasts a 52 degree incline which, to be honest, scared me. Add to this, you can choose how you wish to sit by adjusting your seat to the ‘Cliffhanger’ ride at a steep 64 degree incline, the ‘Laid Back’ option, or the ‘Original’ at 52 degrees. Miss N wanted the ‘cliffhanger’ so I set it to original and told her it was the cliffhanger. I’m not a thrill seeker like her!
The Scenic railway descends 310 metres down (It actually feels like it ‘drops down’) through a cliff side tunnel to the Jamison Valley floor where you disembark into a beautiful rainforest. From here we discovered that we could explore the rainforest via a 2.4 kilometre Scenic Walkway before heading back to the top via the Scenic Cableway. This was an experience we didn’t want to miss.
The walk took us back through the coal mining history of the area. We were able to see how they got oxygen into the tunnels; how the coal was carted up to the top; relics from the period and even a bronze sculpture of a miner and his pit-pony. This fascinated the kids who were very curious to find out how the miners knew there was coal here in the first place (we’ll be looking this up!).
Throughout the rainforest the custodians have provided information points at interest points. We were able to spot the hundred year old Tree Ferns; Sassafras trees struck by lightning; vines that can hold up cars and many other interesting flora and fauna. Miss N is becoming quite the reader and asked that we stop and read every single sign!
I think all the stopping made the short 15 minute walk take us around one hour, but the knowledge the kids acquired along the way was worth it don’t you think?
We found the Scenic Cableway which took us back to the top. It’s a much steeper climb than the earlier Skyway. Once at the top the kids asked if we could do the Scenic Railway again. I did submit and we went up and down a few more times!
By 2.00 pm we were exhausted, so picked up some Ben & Jerry’s from the cafe and made our way back to the car for our drive home. Woah! What an adventure.
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