Just an hour and a half drive west of Sydney is the Blue Mountains one of the most stunning wildernesses areas in NSW. The Blue Mountains region is comprised of one million hectares of deep canyons with amazing cliff faces. Most of the vast area is too remote to explore, however there is an easy and family friendly way to take in the dramatic beauty of the area, and that is by a visit to Scenic World, which is just three kilometers from the Katoomba Township.
Sittingin the Scenic café having a coffee before starting my day, I can see how the place got it is name. It is a beautiful sunny day and on my left I could see three tall rocks known as the three sisters and a blue haze that seemed to go in forever.
From Scenic World there are three ways to view this beautiful mountain area: The Skyway – which is a Gondola ride over the valley, The Scenic Railway which descends into the Jamison Valley and happens to be the steepest railway in the world, and the Cable Way which will take you from the Jamison Valley back to Scenic World. To ensure you see all the best bits the Blue Mountains have to offer buy the Scenic Pass and do all three, which is what we did.Credit: www.scenicworld.com.au
We started by taking the Skyway from Scenic World across to the Eastern Station on the other side of the great canyon. As you cross you can look down through the glass bottomed floor to the see the lush green growth 270 meters below. Many of the children lay on the glass to view the valley below. Off to the left you can see the magnificent Katoomba waterfall cascading down the side of the sand stone cliff face.
On reaching the Eastern Station and disembarking we saw there were two pathways, we turned left and walked to the scenic look out and contemplated how far above the canyon floor we had been floating. Below us we could hear a flock of Sulphur Crested cockatoos as they squawked in the valley below.
Next we followed the path to the right and in five minutes we were standing at the base of Katoomba Falls. The path to falls entails going down some rough unpaved steps, for those of you concerned about the difficulty of the steps my four year old did it without a problem, but you couldn’t get a stroller or wheelchair down this path. The Katoomba Falls were amazing and the sound of falling water peaceful.
We turned and walked back up the path to the Skyway which is only way back to Scenic World.
Once back at Scenic World we headed for the Scenic Railway. The railway descends 415m straight down, and I mean straight down through a tunnel into the rainforest below! It is the steepest railway incline in the world, and you realize just how steep as it takes off and you need to brace yourself on the rail in front of you to ensure you do not slide straight off the seat, and there are no seatbelts either. There are no age restrictions on this and my daughter did love it although I did have my arm across her lap the whole time.
When we reached the bottom we strolled through the beautiful rainforest to the Cableway. It took less than 10 minutes at a leisurely stroll along a boarded walkway that is suitable for strollers and wheel chairs. Once we reached the Cableway we were whisked back up the valley to Scenic World.
There are a number of other trails and walk ways around Scenic World and there are options for all levels of fitness, and of course age of children, but if you only have a short amount of time, following the itinery above will give you an overall top down and bottom up perspective of the Blue Mountains.