Blue Mountains Odyssey. Day 6 – Katoomba’s Scenic World.

We awoke this morning to icy conditions – white grass, hard tents and a layer of ice a couple of mm thick on the buckets.  Despite the chill, today actually seemed warmer than yesterday as there was no wind.  As the sun rose it warmed us up nicely.  The kids (well, Adam) were pretty excited by it.  The teen & nearly teen were more interested in staying in bed as long as possible.

We knew that Scenic World would be a full and busy day so we booked tickets online last night and saved a few $$ by opting for an early bird arrival of between 9 & 10am.  Honestly, if anyone is considering a visit to Scenic World, I would highly recommend an early arrival.  More about that later.

The attraction is good value for families – $88 covered us all for unlimited rides for the day.  And these were no ordinary rides.  We took a few vidoes but the ones on the website are a lot better http://www.scenicworld.com.au/.

Scenic World is perched on the edge of the mountains and the rides take full advantage of the natural beauty.  They proudly proclaim that they have a few of the biggest, most, longest etc things.

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The first ride we chose was the cable car to the bottom of the valley.  The BIGGEST cable car in Australia!!

It is REALLY steep.

Once at the valley floor, you have 3 options – a 10, 30 or 50 minute walk.  We chose the longest one despite the fact that Shaye didn’t want to do it.  Adam says she’s a buzz kill.  This walk is all on raised boardwalk to preserve the natural biodiversity of the forest.  There are signs a plenty asking that people don’t stray from the boardwalk, and that they don’t touch or eat any of the plants.

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I liked this sign reminding us to “Breathe Deeply & Tread Lightly”.  Great advice.

One of the highlights is the Rainforest Room, which is popular for weddings.  How special would this be?  No glass – just open to nature.

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I must say they overstate their walking times a bit.  Maybe they are designed for people who are exceptionally slow walkers.  We knocked them off a lot quicker, even with plenty of stops to ooh and ahh along the way.

Again, I found myself wondering how it would have been for Australia’s first people – living off, and in harmony with the land and nature.  This is pretty intense wilderness which must have been a lot wilder a few hundred years ago.  I think the tree ferns were the tallest I’ve ever seen – they stretch up high, trying to get a glimpse of the sun through the dense forest canopy.

There are only a few opportunities to see the mountains along this walk, even a glimpse of the three sisters.

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At the end of the walk we boarded the steepest train in the world to head back up to the top.  The seats give you a couple of different options of travel – laid back or cliff hanger.  We traveled up backwards and I have to admit it was pretty scary.

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Here are Jamie and the boys in front of the railway. Shaye had disowned her family by this stage.

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We were in awe at the engineering feats that led to this railway.  It was at one stage a coal mining operation.  Back in the early 1900’s they started taking tourists for rides on the weekends, and when mining ceased, it became a tourist operation.  There are still many mining relics to be seen, as well as the history of how the railway and its carriages have evolved.

Last on our list was the Skyway – a cable car which traverses the wide ravine.  It has a glass bottom through which you can see the forest 200m below and spectacular views of Katoomba Falls and the Jamison Valley.  I’d expected this to be scary too but it was very peaceful and serene.

We took a bit of a walk on the other side to visit Katoomba Cascades.  The first part of 244m high Katoomba Falls.  The longer walk to the falls viewing platform was closed.

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We headed back to the Skyway for the return trip.  I’d been hoping to get a photo of Katoomba Falls and it looked like this would be my only chance so I made sure I positioned myself in the best spot I could.  The Skyway moves surprisingly fast so my window of opportunity was limited, but I managed to get a couple I was happy enough with.  Neither of these photos would have been possible without the help of my new 11-16mm lens which I’d picked up off my friend Dave the day before we left.

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All this exercise had made us hungry so we ventured back to the car for a boot cookup.  Jamie, Brodie and I wanted to return to do the trip down and up the cliff in reverse (train then cable car).  Adam flatly refused to go, and Shaye wasn’t too fussed, so they waited at the top for us.

We thought it would only take about half an hour or so……

This is where it pays to get in early if you’re visiting Scenic World.  When we returned after lunch, the line for the train was huge.  However it was something we really wanted to do so we stuck it out.  I think we waited for about 4 trainloads of tourists to be taken down before it was our turn.  Once down though, we powerwalked the 10 minute stroll to the cable car in about half the time – dodging and weaving among the slow moving hordes of tourists. Once there, we hopped on the ride and were soon back up top.

That was about as much excitement as we could handle for one day.  It was time to head back to base again.

Tomorrow – time for something completely different – Jenolan Caves.

 

 

 

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