“Which one is the Blue Mountain?”, followed shortly by “ Why are they called the Blue Mountains?”.
Luckily I knew this question would pop up so got to pretend to be the all knowing mum after googling it the day before.
Just in case you want to know. The oil from the masses of Eucalyptus trees that populate the Blue Mountains create a blue haze. As droplets of oil combine with water vapour and dust particles in the air, they scatter short-wave length light rays…which just happen to be mostly blue in colour. Science, learning and adventure all in one. Why we love to travel as a family.
Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area
Over twice the size of America’s Grand Canyon, the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is not only one of the most stunning landscapes in Australia it is an important one too. From endangered and threatened wildlife such as the koala and the long- nosed potoroo to the Wollemi Pine. A tree that dates back to the time of the dinosaurs and believed to have been extinct millions of years ago.
All this is only two-hour day trip from Sydney. Making it a very popular tourist area. Living fairly close to the area we have enjoyed many solitary bush-walks, the magic of ancient crystal caverns at Jenolan Caves, and the great art and culture at towns like Leura and Katoomba on previous adventures.
Want your own Blue Mountains Adventure?
This trip we wanted to explore Scenic World Blue Mountains in Katoomba. We always try and beat the crowds for popular attractions so headed to Katoomba for open time. This also saved us money too as a family pass was cheaper before 10 am during the Easter weekend.
The family pass allows two adults and up to five children under 14 ( finally somewhere that knows there are families out there with more than two kids ) unlimited access to all the experiences at Scenic World. For prices check out their site.
The Scenic Skyway
The Scenic Skyway is one of the most popular rides so we decided to hop on here first. With 360° views, the Skyway is the highest cable car in the country and takes you on a journey 270 metres up over ancient wilderness. My boys jumped on the glass floor straight away and stared in wonder as they passed views of Katoomba Falls.
Once you get to the other side of the ravine it is a short walk to Echo Point lookout. While lots of visitors stop here and get the selfie sticks out to capture themselves with the Three Sisters in the background we took a small track and walked a little further. Here the ancient traditional land of the Gundungurra and Darug People opens out in front of you. Sharing the path with only a few others we got uninterrupted views over a landscape millions of years old. Although the stories vary from boys to bunyips on how, traditional Aboriginal legend tells of the Three Sisters, ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’ who were turned to stone for their own protection.
Further along, this path will take you to the Giant Stairway. With over 800 steel and stone steps we decided to try this one when the children’s legs are a little longer and stronger.
If you walk the other way from the Skyway you have views over Katoomba Falls. Dropping 150 meters in two parts, they are one of the most visited spots in the Blue Mountains.
As we gazed over the landscape it looks untouched by humans. With rock art in the area dating over 20,000 years, you discover that this is not the case. As well as being home to six different Aboriginal language groups, this area has a rich European settlers history. Dreaming of rich farming land, explorers crossed the seemly impassible Great Dividing Range in 1813. Towns such as Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson keeping names alive of the pioneers who made the first crossing. Staring at the dense rainforest and high mountains, imaginations set free with how they would make the journey themselves and what they would come across on their adventures.
The Scenic Railway
This was the ride the children were excited about the most. At a 52° incline, this is the steepest passenger railway in the world. Waiting in the queue we could see the signs that let you choose your own adventure ride down. Of course, we decided that the Cliffhanger was the only way to go. At the push of a button, your seat changes to a 64° incline for the 310-meter ride into the lush Jurassic rainforest of the Jamison Valley. Originally used as part of the mining trade in the late 1800’s this railway has undergone a variety of upgrades that you can see as you walk through to the train.
The Scenic Walkway
At the bottom of the railway, you disembark at the Scenic Walkway. Here there are over 2km of walkways through dense, and peaceful rainforest. As you walk through the dappled sunlight there are remnants of the area’s mining history and as well as fact boards sharing information about the local fauna and flora dotted along the walkways. There are walks of various lengths to choose from as well as a wheelchair accessible boardwalk.
During our visit, we were lucky enough to see the Sculpture at Scenic World. Listening to the amazing mimic of the lyre bird while exploring the outdoor gallery was a highlight of the journey.
The Scenic Cable Way
Jumping aboard the huge aerial cable car we ascended from the floor of the Jamison Valley back up to the Top Station. With more views to soak up of Orphan Rock and the Three Sisters. As with all the rides, the staff give a running commentary on the area and sites to look for.
At the Top Station snacks, gifts and food are available as well as bathrooms.
Scenic World Blue Mountains is a great way to experience the Blue Mountains. With opportunities for unrivalled views, easy access walkways or the chance to explore on bush trails, you can make the day fit your unique style of adventure.
Travel With Meraki – Explore more than just the most popular spots. Even in a busy location like Scenic World Blue Mountains you can walk just 10 minutes away from the tourist lookout and lose the crowds. We had an amazing view of the Three Sisters all to ourselves after walking along the path a little way.
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