As clearly as if it were only yesterday, I can remember our school trip to the Blue Mountains and my ride on the Scenic Railway.
OK, so maybe as clearly as if it were yesterday is perhaps slightly ambitious … let’s just settle with; there is a very definite (but somewhat blurry) memory of that trip sitting somewhere among the cobwebs and archives in my dusty old mind.
Whilst I can’t remember all the small details, like whom I sat next to on the coach trip there, what I bought from the gift shop or who I was sitting with in the railway carriage, I sure as hell remember the thrill of heading down that steep incline and screaming my head off with childish enthusiasm.
It was the same kind of ear piercing girlish squeal I burst everyone's ear drums with last weekend when I sat with my own kids as they experienced the Scenic Railway for the first time for themselves, a chalkboard scraping kind of immature squeal that was bursting to the brim with fear, excitement and wild abandonment.
Alright you adrenaline junkies - so it’s not exactly on par with the Pirate ship ride or the Green Lantern Rollercoaster, and you are probably thinking I am somewhat lame for squealing the way I did, but I tell you - it’s a bloody steep drop down that mountain side and I’m not twelve anymore so getting me on anything that is not firmly bolted to the ground is no easy feat these days.
Last weekend my family and I were guests at Scenic World and all three boys of mine were completely enthralled with the history of the area and the mines, the wildlife and the landscape. Honestly, us ‘oldies’ were just as into as the kids and I loved the opportunity to spend some time with the boys exploring somewhere I have been for donkey's years.
The 310 metre Railway that caused me to behave like I was ten, was originally named The Mountain Devil and has a 52 degree incline and is the steepest passenger railway in the world.
Whilst in the beginning it was used by the miners to transport coal up and down the steep cliff side, these days, thousands of people ride the railway as a fun way to explore one of Australia’s most beautiful area.
Just an FYI - the seats do have an adjustable position, so you can descend the hill in the original 52 degree position, or you adjust your seat for a less adventurous ride if you are feeling a little wussy!
No prizes for guessing which option my boys took!
The Scenic Railway is just one of the three rides at ScenicWorld in the iconic Blue Mountains, a family owned business that has been operating since 1945 when the Hammon Family took over the lease of the former coal and shale mine, and the other two rides at Scenic world are by no means lacking what it takes to get the blood pumping.
The Cableway is the steepest and largest Aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere that takes you on a 545 metre journey down into the Jamieson Valley where you can explore the breathtakingly lush rainforest before getting lift on the cable car or the Railway back up to the top.
The Skyway is a glass bottomed cabin that is suspended 270 metres above the ravines and waterfalls and is something you just HAVE to experience. Don’t worry if you don't think your stomach can handle the glass bottom, there are seats and areas with solid non see through floors in the cabin where you can take in the spectacular views in a less adventurous way.
The Blue Mountains truly are spectacular, but if you are only going to stand at the lookout at Echo Point along with a zillion other tourists and stare at the three Sisters, then you really aren't going to do the area justice.
You need to get down there and into it, under the lush canopy and wandering through the bush to appreciate the beauty of this area.
That being said - it is very easy to wander off track and get lost in the huge expanse of bush land that surrounds the mountains, so exploring from the comfort and safety of the 2.4 kilometre walkways and clearly marked tracks within the Scenic World boundaries is the perfect way to experience the mountains in all their glory.
There are tracks to suit everyone including disabled access, and whether you choose the easier walks or the more challenging trek up to the three sisters, you are guaranteed to walk away with a true appreciation and respect for the incredibly beautiful landscape.
Scenic world is open 365 days a year and it is totally worth exploring the mountain seasonally or during the Scenic World Summer nights. With an Annual Pass you can do just that and go on the railway and the Cableway and the Skyway as many times as you like which your kids will LOVE. Of course your pass entitles you to freely roam the paths and tracks and when you are done and the kids are knackered- there are two dining options EATS270 and the Terrace Café -with arguably the best view around, where you can grab a bite to eat and something to quench your thirst.
Scenic World Annual Passes are a fabulous idea for an experiential gift for your family this Christmas. With free entry on any day of the tear, unlimited rides all day, every day, 15% of all additional tickets, retail purchase and food and beverage as well as special offers and events throughout the year - the family pass is awesome value for money.
Since an Annual Pass allows you to visit as many times as you like, you get to take advantage of the special events like the Scenic World Summer Nights where you can experience the Blue Mountains after dark in all of its star-lit glory.
Can you just imagine how cool it would be to ride the Scenic Railway or the Skyway and Cableway in the dark, or eat dinner at twilight with that magnificent view in front of you?!
You should also schedule in a visit to see the Sculpture at Scenic World as it celebrates its fifth exhibition in 2016. It is Australia’s only rain forest exhibition held over 30 days between April 8 – May 8 2016.
Grab an annual pass for yourself or your family here, or alternatively, if you are day trippers or visiting from interstate, arrive before 10am during the Summer school holidays and you can receive an early bird discount on a day pass for your family.
What’s something you did as a child that you would love to experience again with your kids?
Have you ever ridden the Scenic Railway?
Have you ever ridden the Scenic Railway?
Are you any good with Heights?