Scenic World is located in the the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. It is rated a top “things to do” while staying in Sydney. When planning your trip, make sure to get there early. This is a popular destination for tour companies out of Sydney and progressively becomes more crowded as the day goes on. It should take about 1.5 hours to get to Scenic World from downtown Sydney, but make sure someone didn’t accidentally change your Google Maps settings to “avoid freeways”. Doing that will take you on a 2.5 hour route. Yes, that’s what happened to us. Avoiding the crowds wasn’t something we were able to take advantage of. The train is another option from Sydney to Scenic World.
Planning Your Day at Scenic World
When you arrive at Scenic World, there are two lines: ticket purchases and pre-purchased tickets. Unless you like waiting in lines, it is wise to pre-purchase your tickets online to wait in the shorter queue. At the counter, a friendly employee will talk you through options for your self-guided tour and help you map out your day. Itinerary suggestions are as follows; family fun, nature lover, great round walk, photography fiend, waterfall walk, couples escape, or adventure.
You can take the trams as often as you want, but the crowds can add hours to the queues, so plan accordingly.
Opening in 1958, the Scenic Skyway glides between two cliffs of the Blue Mountains, over Jamison Valley. You will get spectacular views of Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, and Mount Solitary. Journey for about a half mile, 886 feet above the valley floor. It is the largest aerial cable car in the southern hemisphere.
If heights are a thrill, there is an electro-glass floor in the center of the cable car. The rainforest canopy is revealed under your feet once the car is in motion. You will get dramatic glimpses from every direction while taking this journey.
This Swiss made, 2017 Skyway cable car, carries around 84 passengers every 10 minutes.
Once you cross over on the Skyway, you can take a path down to view two portions of Katoomba Falls
Take a walk on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. These paths take you from Skyway’s East Station to Echo Point and the Three Sisters. Enjoy sounds of the nearby trickling freshwater streams and birds singing their songs from the trees. This walk stretches between Katoomba Cascades all the way to Gordon Falls and is considered one of the best scenic walks in NSW. Taking 3-4 hours to complete this walk, stick to the lookouts close to Scenic World.
Originally built to serve the Katoomba coal mines, this railway has been operating for tourists since 1945.
Plunge over 1000 feet, with a 128% incline, all while taking in the views through a cliff tunnel from the Scenic Railway. This is the steepest passenger railway in the world.
Choose your level of adventure by adjusting your seated position up to 20°. Choose the “original” at 52°, cliffhanger’s” 64° incline, or “laidback” for a more relaxed journey.
Our family loves to experience unique and original adventures. As soon as we found out this is the “steepest” track, we were game to take a ride. Inside the car, we had to adjust our long legs and head height by crunching down. Be prepared. Once the railway is in motion, it starts descending quickly. There is a padded bar in front of your knees. Make sure you place your knees against this bar in order to stabilize yourself so you don’t fall forward.
Speakers projecting the theme song from Indiana Jones added an extra touch to our thrilling ride. Once properly positioned with my knees against the padded bar, I was able to greatly enjoy the experience. If you are tall, make sure you pick a seat that has a clear window above and behind your head. Once descending and the incline changes, so does your view. Our sons had a metal beam right in front of their faces and had to lean over even more to catch a glimpse.
Adventure through this boardwalk under the canopies of a lush rainforest. This 1.5 mile, planked walkway is elevated along the cliffs to the Jamison Valley floor. Expect different pathways and stairs to climb up and down. Wear good walking shoes. Signs are posted to direct your adventure. If you choose to skip the Scenic Walkway, it is a short 10 minute walk between the Railway and Cableway Stations.
Picnic tables are located along the route if you need to rest or eat a snack.
The native birdlife can be heard chirping all throughout the rainforest walkway. These colorful birds add beauty to the natural surroundings.
From the bottom of the valley floor you can take the Scenic Cableway back up to the Top Station. This 1/3 of a mile cable ride is pretty smooth until you crossed over a tower with a slight bump. We had the best views of Orphan Rock from the car.
The Cableway ride was our least favorite at Scenic World. Next time, we will take the Railway back up to top. At the Top Station, you can enjoy restaurants, shopping, or use refreshment rooms. Free parking is located near the Scenic World Top Station. Public access vehicles are also available there.
- Purchase tickets in advance online.
- Arrive early to get ahead of the large bus tours.
- Bring sunblock, wear good walking shoes and be prepared for walking boardwalks and climbing stairs.
- Bring a high quality digital camera to capture breathtaking views of the Blue Mountains.
- If you are nervous about heights, ask the employees questions to calm your worries. They were willing to help me and were very patient.