Scenic World has been the Blue Mountain’s premier tourist attraction since it opened in 1944. This family-owned business has been going strong for over 75 years, although the trials and tribulations of 2020 have seen things change a bit.
With the steepest railway in the world on the Scenic Railway, the majestic Scenic Skyway, the soaring Scenic Cableway and the delightful rainforest walk, Scenic World is a mixture of thrills and natural beauty, with exceptional Blue Mountains views in the mix too.
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We visited recently and enjoyed all the rides and the rainforest walk as much as we always have. I liked having the pre-booked times as this means there will never be really long waits in queues.
The journey now starts at HQ and the first ride is the amazing Scenic Skyway.
The Scenic Skyway
If you like standing on a glass-bottomed cable car, suspended 270 metres above some of the most beautiful views in the world, then you’ll love the Scenic Skyway. You really are floating in midair, with amazing 360° views all around and down into the ravines below. The ride is 720 metres across, quite a way.
After your ride on the Scenic Skyway, you take the Scenic Railway down into the rainforest of the Jamison Valley.
The Scenic Railway
The 52-degree incline at one point is the steepest railway incline in the world. And yes, it feels very steep!
And thrill seekers can make it even steeper by tilting their seats to a 64-degree incline. The more sedate amongst us can adjust the tilt to make it less steep too.
The railway goes through a dark tunnel through the rocks at the start, this can be pretty scary for very young children.
The Scenic Railway had its first incarnation as a railway to carry coal from mines at the bottom of the Katoomba escarpement to the top. Coal mining began in 1878. The coal seam was visible and it was fairly easy for miners to start digging into the hillside to extract coal from the seam. At its busiest there were about 40 mines in the area. A railway was an efficient way to get to the coal up to Katoomba.
But how those miners made a railway up such a steep cliff back in the 1800’s beats me. Amazing engineering… and without all the modern equipment drilling and blasting equipment used nowadays.
In 1944 a man called Harry Hammon organised the first purely recreational trips on the railway. Those early trips grew into a thriving tourism business which we see at Scenic World today, still owned and managed by the Hammon family.
From the bottom of the railway, you take a walk through the rainforest on the Scenic Walkway.
The Scenic Walkway
This is an elevated boardwalk which runs through the amazing rainforest deep on the Jamison Valley. The full 2.4km walkway is actually the longest raised boardwalk in Australia. (The full walk is not open at the moment though.)
Initially there is a path which goes along past the coal mining areas, where information boards explain how miners worked back in the old days.
The Scenic Cableway
Finally, you take the Scenic Cableway back up to the top of the escarpment, this slowly but steeply glides past the most gorgeous views over the Three Sisters and past Orphan Rock as you rise to the top of the escarpment.
Each gondola is fully enclosed; a guide gives an interesting commentary as you flat along the 545 metre Cableway.
It’s amazing to see the huge sandstone cliffs of the escarpment close too as the Cableway goes up.
Back at the top you can visit the shop and have something to eat and drink in the indoors/outdoors cafe.
Scenic World Tickets
Address: Corner Violet Street & Cliff Drive, Katoomba
Phone: 02 4780 0200
Sculpture at Scenic World
Each April Scenic World hosts an outdoor exhibition of sculptures, adding a creative twist to the experience.
Read about this year’s exhibition: Sculpture at Scenic World
School Holidays At Scenic World
There are often special exhibitions at Scenic World during the school holidays. The dinosaur shows in the summer school holidays have been a huge hit with Sydney families.
Check the website to see what is current.
Where to stay: The Fairmont Resort and Spa
We have stayed at the fairmont several times and always enjoyed our visits. You can find a very detailed review of this lovely resort hotel here on Hello Sydney Kids, see link below.
Address: 1 Sublime Point Road, Leura NSW 2780
Phone number:+61 2 4785 0000
Read our own family review of the Fairmont Resort and Spa here.
Are you at Scenic World fan?
Did you ever visit as a kid?
If you are visiting the Blue Mountains With Kids, click here to find all the fun stuff to do.
Disclaimer: We visited Scenic World as guests of the company, many thanks Scenic World. All views are our own.