If you’re holidaying in the Blue Mountains, be sure to visit Scenic World in Katoomba. This family-friendly attraction is one that both kids and adults will love. The four different attractions Scenic Railway, Scenic Skyway, Scenic and Scenic Boardwalk provide a unique experience in the Blue Mountains. From gliding across a valley and spotting The Three Sisters to hurtling down a steep railway and wandering through shaded temperate forests, Scenic World enables you to immerse yourself in the beauty and nature of the Blue Mountains.
This popular tourist attraction is worth visiting at any time of year but until 30 June 2021, you can use NSW Dine & Discover Vouchers to save $25 off admission and food. The Discover vouchers reduce the cost of an adult ticket to just $24.90.
We decide to start our Scenic World experience by seeing an aerial view of the Blue Mountains and line up for the Scenic Skyway. There’s one every 10 minutes so it doesn’t take too long to get on to the cable car.
Once in, we’re traveling 270 metres over the Jamison Valley and there are spectacular 360 degree views from every angle of the cable car including the middle which features a glass floor. If you can, stand up in the middle. At a switch, the opaque glass becomes clear and you can see the valley below your feet.
From here, you can spot the Three Sisters. Known to locals as Meehni, Wimlah and Gunneddoo, the Three Sisters feature in local Aboriginal stories.
These three weathered sandstone peaks stand at 912m, 918m and 906m respectively and judging by the cameras that were clicking around me, are easily the most photographed attraction in the Blue Mountains.
You’ll also see the beautiful Katoomba Falls, which our entertaining tour guide announces has never run dry.
It’s a 720 metre journey over towards the eastern station so only takes a few minutes. However, note that currently the Scenic Skyway isn’t ferrying people across to the other side. Instead, it’s a return journey back to the Scenic World top station.
After doing the cable car, it’s time to venture down into the valley. Most people choose to go down the Scenic Railway and back up the valley on the Scenic Cableway.
Scenic World has a fascinating history and you can read more about it as you wait in line for the Scenic Railway. This location was originally the site of the coal mining operation and the railway took workers down and coal up. Workers supplemented their income by charging members of the public on the weekends.
When the mine operations ceased, Harry Hammon decided to transform it into a tourist attraction. Founder Harry Hammon and his sister registered the former colliery as Scenic Railway back in 1945.
The Scenic Railway soon proved popular and in 1958, the Scenic Skyway was added which takes visitors across the Jamison Valley. In 2000, Harry’s son Phillip Hammon added the Scenic Cableway which takes visitors down into the valley. Scenic World still remains in the Hammon family and is currently managed by the third generation of Hammons, Anthea Hammon who is the Managing Director.
It’s not long until we’re ready to embark on the Railway. The Scenic Railway is the steepest passenger railway in the world. It’s only 310 metres journey but has a 52-degree incline.
As you get on, you can customise your seating position by angling of your seat up to 20 degrees. Choose the Cliffhanger at a steep 64° incline, the original setting at 52° or the Laidback for a more relaxed journey. It’s a thrilling experience descending down into the Jamison Valley as you look up and out through the glass roof. You’ll enter a cliff tunnel and then emerge into the light with views of the Three Sisters.
Once you disembark from the Scenic Railway, look up to see how steep the railway tracks are.
Climb up the stairs to the Scenic Walkway, a 500 metre elevated boardwalk and find yourself surrounded by ancient, temperate rainforest.
It’s cooler down here so dress appropriately for the weather.
As you leave the Scenic Railway area, there are interesting things to see. There’s an old Scenic Railway carriage for the kids to climb into, great for photos. Climb on to the bronze pit pony and see the original mine entrance.
It’s then that you have to make a decision. You can choose to do a short 5 – 10 minute walk to the cable car which takes you back up to the top or you can take the stairs and head down to the longer walkway which takes approximately 20 – 30 minutes.
If you have the time, I recommend the longer walk as it lets you really soak up the atmosphere of the valley. Walk along the elevated walkway and see the massive trees and undergrowth and vines.
Deep in the Jurassic rainforest, it’s dark and shady.
Look around to see the massive trees, ferns and vines that dot the path as well as the remains of the historic coal mine.
You’ll come across a replica of a one-room miner’s cottage that you can go into and see.
There are also glimpses of the Three Sisters as you climb higher on the trail.
The path winds back towards the Scenic Cableway station and it’s time to head back up out of the valley and get on the Cableway.
Compared to the Scenic Railway, the 545 metre Scenic Cableway journey is much more sedate. It offers a gentle ride even though it a the steepest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere.
It’s a fully enclosed cabin with different levels so you have a great view on the climb up or down. Have your camera ready for some great photos of The Three Sisters.
Once back at the Top Station at Scenic World, it’s time for a bite to eat. Head to the Terrace Café for a range of food and drink and some of the best views.
Even if you’re not hungry, head to the terrace and enjoy the views at Mary’s Lookout.
The rugged cliffs of the Blue Mountains are truly spectacular especially with the blue haze of the eucalyptus forests. It’s also a top spot for a selfie with The Three Sisters.
Good to Know
Website: Scenic World Website
Location: Violet Street & Cliff Drive, Katoomba. Free undercover parking is available in a multi storey carpark on site.
Opening Hours: Scenic World is currently open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Due to physical distancing, capacity is limited across the venue. It’s very important to plan your visit – booking online is essential.
Admission: A Scenic World Family Pass costs $77.80 for 1 Adult and 1 Child. Extra adult is $49.90 and extra child is $23.30. Kids under 4 are free. Until June 30, Scenic World is accepting NSW Dine & Discover vouchers which provide a $25 discount on your entry. Annual passes are available too and offer great value for money if you plan on visiting Scenic World more frequently.
COVID-19: Limited numbers. Online bookings only and COVID safe check-in required upon entry. Hand sanitisers and social distancing reminders are everywhere at Scenic World. During your visit, please note Scenic World is cashless, with contactless pay wherever possible.
Family-Friendly: All Scenic World experiences are suitable for children of any age. However, babies and small children must be held by an adult on the rides as there are no baby seats provided. For safety reasons prams, strollers and some mobility aids are not permitted on the Scenic Railway. Pram access is limited on the Walkway due to steep slopes and multiple stairs. Pram parking is located on L1 of the Main Building.
Accessibility: There is accessible entry, parking and toilets available at Scenic World. The Scenic Railway is not wheelchair accessible. However, the Scenic Skyway and Scenic Cableway are wheelchair accessible. A 380-metre length of the Scenic Walkway is wheelchair accessible between the Cableway’s base station and Railway base station.
Special Events: School holiday activities are held at Scenic World. Check the Scenic World website and social media channels for more information. Sculpture at Scenic World is held during April / May of each year. It’s an outdoor sculpture event located on the Scenic Walkway.
For more ideas for a family holiday in the Blue Mountains, see our article Top Things to Do in the Blue Mountains for Family Fun.
Disclosure: Newy with Kids received complimentary admission to Scenic World for review purposes. However, all opinions are our own.
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In 2012, Reena founded Newy with Kids to share information about family-friendly Newcastle. Originally from Canada, she had no idea about what to do with her toddler and after searching unsuccessfully for a family guide, decided to start her own. Since that time, both the toddler and Newy with Kids have grown keeping Reena busy. If you see her out and about, say hi.