‘People can’t hear when they don’t want to listen!’
I’ve often said that you can really reach the heart of a place through it’s people. Chatting to the staff at Scenic World in the Blue Mountains enriched our day with fascinating facts, figures and unrelated words of wisdom. Like the above quote that made me smile from one of the staff as I chased around after the boys.They’d both apparently gone deaf as I was yelling at them to stop running around like Tassie Devils in their excitement at seeing the giant cablecar approaching through the sky.
Futile is the word that springs to mind! The attractions were just way too exciting for a 3 and a 4 year old to wait calmly in the line to board – but luckily, even though we visited during school holidays, none of the wait times were too long at all.
On arrival we checked in and grabbed our wristbands – the best way to visit is to buy the Discovery Pass which gives you unlimited access to all the attractions throughout the day. If you buy online in advance you can also get an earlybird discount so try and plan ahead. If you’re a local or plan to visit more than once a year you can also get an amazing deal with an annual pass – which gives you not only 365 of access and unlimited rides, but also great discounts on food, retail and extra tickets for family or friends. Kids under 4 are free for all tickets. We are already planning a return visit as we had so much fun – so the annual pass is definitely something we’d recommend.
Scenic World Highlights
There are 4 main attractions to see while at Scenic World – the Skyway, the Walkway, the Cableway and the Railway. Although there were hundreds of people strolling around the park, the staff always had lots of time to help and their first advice we got was the best way to see everything. There were a couple of tour groups who arrived at the same time as us, so the lovely staff showed us on the map the best way to explore Scenic World to avoid the crowds.
Our first stop was the Scenic Skyway – at 270 metres above the rainforest it’s the highest cable car in Australia. Once underway, the floor of the car clears to reveal a window so you can fully experience the height and views from above – the boys lay down and pretended to be superheroes soaring over the canopy. Looking down from above the birds really did make it feel as if we were flying! Along the way we learned our first facts of the day from our cable car driver, Tobias, who pointed out the sites as they sailed past the window.
‘On your left you can see across the Jamison Valley, out to the famous Three Sisters. On your right is Orphan Rock. In the past it was a popular climbing and lookout spot but is now closed as it’s too unstable. A lot like my ex-girlfriend.’
As well as learning a bit about Tobias’ love life, we also discovered that the Blue Mountains National Park area contains over 13% of the world’s eucalyptus trees – one of the reasons it is a UNESCO world heritage listed site.
In a $3million upgrade in 2017, the cabin was made larger and also had free WiFi installed – so you can Instagram the view while you ride!
I spent a bit of time filming during our visit – and while thinking of an introduction for my video (which you can watch below) I got stuck on how to describe Scenic World. Who else to ask but the trusty staff – who had already informed and amused us with their unique wisdom…..
‘It’s a nature park on steroids!’
Hmmmm. I’m not sure I’ll be able to use that one in the video but I can see exactly what he meant! This is no ordinary outdoor encounter. World class thrilling attractions sit among World Heritage listed scenery to provide an experience like no other in Australia.
When we hopped off the Skyway, a short walk took us to a lookout with magnificent views over the valley. The trail was easy to navigate and led us past caves, stepping stones and stairs which we couldn’t resist following. Despite having little legs the boys managed the walk all the way to Echo Point and back – where you can get the best vantage point of the Three Sisters in the area.
Our next stop was the Scenic Cableway – with a capacity to hold 84 people it’s the biggest cable car in Australia, as well as being the steepest descent too (insider tip – get a spot at the front for a thrilling feeling of being dropped into the rainforest!)
The Cableway brings you into the valley bottom, where you can explore the Scenic Walkway – over 2.4km of boardwalks through the Jurassic rainforest. It rained when we visited which added a misty mysteriousness to our explorations – an added bonus of Scenic World is that it really is an all weather experience. When in the valley you can choose a short walk or take the full loop. We chose to do the long trail, and despite taking an hour the boys again loved it. There was enough to entertain them along the way – giant trees and lots of wildlife (we even spotted a lyre-bird, or the ‘Aussie peacock’ as our 4 year old likes to call it!). There is also a lot of the coal mining history to spot among the trees, as well as a dedicated display to the miners including a replica hut, the mine entrance and full size bronze statue of a horse and coal cart that the kids can sit on.
We took the Cableway back to the top of the escarpment, and learned over the speakers that the Blue Mountains National Park area stretched way beyond what we could see on the 545 metre journey out of the valley.
‘It covers an area as big as Northern Ireland, bigger than Hong Kong and half the size of my pecs’ (three guesses to who our driver was again!)
Tobias also showed us the fascinating weathered formations of the sandstone cliffs out of the windows, which surround the giant glass windows of the cablecar.
‘Chiselled just like my abs’ he added.
Still chuckling as we hopped off the Cablecar we decided it was time for lunch. There are 2 dining options at Scenic World – Eats270 and the Terrace Cafe – if you book your tickets online lookout for the add on bonus of discount meal deals too. If you’re on a tighter budget, the Discovery Pass gives you the flexibility to come and go as much as you want so you can head out for a picnic at lunchtime at one of the nearby parks.
Returning to the park it was time to try out the final attraction – we definitely saved the most thrilling until last! The Scenic Railway is the steepest passenger railway in the world – with a white-knuckle 52 degree incline! We loved it so much we ended up riding it 3 times – just wait until you hear the music they play for the journey!
While we were waiting for the ride I tried again to get a good intro for my video by asking the Railway staff…
‘Scenic World is a multi-million dollar nature adventure park in the Blue Mountains’ he said.
Now that I could use! He also told me that the park had undergone a multi-million dollar revamp in 2017 – making the award winning attractions even better and improving the overall customer experience.
Our day passed way too quickly, before we realised it was almost 5pm and the rides were closing. On the way out we noticed signs promoting some upcoming events that look amazing – dinosaurs will return to the Jurassic rainforest from November 1st when Scenic World will host Dinosaur Valley In 2019 you can visit Sculptures at Scenic World where over 30 local and international sculptures will be displayed for 30 days. Entry to both special events is included in your Scenic World ticket – another great reason to invest in the Annual Discovery Pass.
As we left I took one last opportunity to get a description of the park in the word’s of the staff, so I stopped a young ticket attendant who was helping people onto the Cableway.
‘If you had to describe Scenic World in a sentence to two what would you say?’
He looked thoughtful for a moment before stating –
‘It’s the best place in the world’
And I think that sums it up perfectly.
We were guests of Scenic World for our visit, but all thoughts and opinions are our own.
Did you know there is also a cable car experience in Tropical North Queensland? Click on to read more about Skyrail in Cairns.
If you’re visiting the area then don’t miss a chance to experience Blue Mountains caving at Jenolan Caves.