Unfolding itself across 11,400 km² of Sydney's western inland, the Blue Mountains is roughly 16 times the size of Singapore, which makes it a mammoth feat to experience all of that nature in a single day. So for a comprehensive adventure in the mountains, we came to Scenic World Blue Mountains to get an all-in-one glimpse of the region's geographical features, forestry, history and even some heart-stopping thrills!
|Panoramic view of the Blue Mountains from a lookout point at Scenic World.|
|Entrance to Scenic World... a gateway to sample what the Blue Mountains have to offer in summary. We visited at almost closing time so the place was relief of hordes of tourists.|
As our visit was pretty late, we had the benefit of being the last few tourists there and that's a good thing when it came to the rides... we got the cable car cabin all to ourselves and front row seats on one of the rides!
We went on the popular route that loops the rides with the sights that goes like this...
1) Taking a return Scenic Skyway ride from the entrance that glides across a valley with a hovering view of Katoomba Falls
2) After the Scenic Skyway, boarded the thrilling Scenic Railway to the Scenic Walkway that's lined with Blue Mountains' coal mining history and cuts through a section of the ancient forest
3) Following the trek is the Scenic Cableway that ascends the steep face of a cliff back to the starting point at the entrance
Scenic Skyway Across Jamison Valley with Iconic Views
Gliding 270m above the ancient gorge known as Jamison Valley, the Scenic Skyway opens a moving window to iconic sights of the Blue Mountains that included the Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters and Mount Solitary.
|Taxi in the air... the original cable car system was built in 1958 and reconstructed in 2004 into the Scenic Skyway today.|
|I'm happy as a clam for having the Scenic Skyway capsule all to ourselves! The central aisle is fitted with a glass bottom so you can watch the valley scroll by beneath your feet.|
|Katoomba Falls... A three-tired waterfall cascading at an estimated 244m. 'Katoomba' means "shining falling water" or "water tumbling over hill" in the native Aboriginal language.|
After the Scenic Skyway, we got our adrenalin revved up with a steep down slope slide on the Scenic Railway. Built in 1882 as part of a network of tramlines used to haul coal and kerosene / oil shale from mines in the valley below, the railway is converted into a hair-raising ride for visitors.
The first passengers to ride the coal carriages were a group of exhausted bushwalkers in the 1920s. This could very well be the ancestor of modern-day roller-coasters!
|Touted as the world's steepest cable-drive passenger funicular railway at a 52-degree incline, this is one thrill ride not to be missed at Scenic World. It clocks a speed of 4m per second, enough to drain blood from those who dare ride it.|
|To up the scream factor, seats on the Scenic Railway can be elevated according to your lung capacity to shriek. We went for the Cliffhanger and I wouldn't be surprised if the staff thought there's a little girl on the ride.|
|FRONT. ROW. SEATS.! Plunging down a nerve on the face of a mountain through enclosed tunnels and forest bed, the Railway ride felt like a journey back in time.|
Disembarking from the Scenic Railway, we arrived at the Scenic Walkway that consists of a 2.4km elevated boardwalk meandering through former coal mining sites and the Blue Mountains' ancient rainforest.
|Coal mining began in the area in 1878 with up to 40 mines at its industrial peak. Those chunks of black rock in the coal skip of this cast-iron diorama are actual pieces of the fossil fuel mined here.|
|The mines were subsequently closed to preserve the mountains with the last mine ceasing operations in the late 1930s.|
|The rainforests of Blue Mountains are believed to be at least 470 million years old with towering tree ferns like this completing that Jurassic aura.|
Scenic Cableway to the Roof of Sydney
The final segment of our Scenic World experience of Blue Mountains is a ride up Jamison Valley in the Scenic Cableway. Added during the turn of the millennium, the aerial fish tank offers a stupendous 360-degree view of the surroundings as well as a chance to get closer to the jagged sandstone cliffs and peaks. It felt like I'm a flag slowly being raised and seeing further and more of this World Heritage site the higher I went.
|The Scenic Cableway ferries passengers on both the ascend from the valley floor to the top and descend from the escarpment back to this lower point of the 545m journey.|
|View of Mount Solitary as the Scenic Cableway climbed the heights. In the foreground is Jamison Valley cloaked with lilly pilly, possumwood, cedar wattle, pepper bush, tree fern, grey myrtle and eucalypt.|
One of the key sights at Scenic World is a vantage view of the famous Three Sisters rock formations at Echo Point overlooking Jamison Valley.
An aboriginal legend has it that three sisters from the Katoomba tribe fell in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe but marriage was forbidden between the two tribes according to tribal laws. Unhappy with the laws, the three men sought to abduct the sisters by force and a tribal war ensued.
To protect the sisters, an elder turned them into three rock boulders with the intention of returning them into human form after the battle. Unfortunately, the elder was killed during the war and no one knew how to reverse the spell. And so the three sisters stand forever entombed as watchful guardians from the valley.
|The truth about the Three Sisters is that they were caused by the erosion of soft sandstone by wind and water.|
|Meet the sisters... Meehni (922m), Wimlah (918m), and Gunnedoo (906m). There seem to be a 4th 'sister' dwarfed on the extreme right. Child of Gunnedoo perhaps?|
|The essential shot with the Three Sisters at Scenic World Blue Mountains.|
Like my first visit, my second trip to Scenic World Blue Mountains was over in about an hour. If you are not in a herded tour and have time on your side, you can take the rides multiple times and explore more of the walking tracks at Echo Point and Jamison Valley.
For a break from Sydney's cityscape and beaches, Blue Mountains definitely offer a serene and tranquil getaway to clear the mind and renew one's awe of nature. And Scenic World contains the essence to see and experience more of the Blue Mountains.
Scenic World Blue Mountains Australia
Address : Corner Violet Street & Cliff Drive, Katoomba NSW 2780, Australia
Phone : +61 2 4780 0200
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : www.scenicworld.com.au
Opening Hours : 9:00am - 5:00pm daily
Ticket Prices : A$35 (Adult); A$18 (Child); A$88 (Family); A$32 (Concession)
This post has been made possible by Destination New South Wales in partnership with CTC Travel.
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