Scenic World Blue Mountains is an iconic experience that lays out the vast and captivating beauty of this World Heritage site in dramatic style.
From a disused coal mine to a fixture of fun, Scenic World has been highlighting the natural assets of the Blue Mountains for more than 70 years. Swooping back and forth over sweeping valleys, across escarpments and up and down steep mountainsides on innovative modes and transport, Scenic World takes guests deep into the magnificent landscape. But how, exactly? Read on for a Scenic World explainer and how to make the most of this world-class tourist attraction, one of the best things to do in the Blue Mountains.
What is Scenic World?
A veritable theme park where nature is given star billing, Scenic World showcases the beauty of the Blue Mountains to day-trippers in fun and thrilling ways. Since its inception in 1945, when Harry Hammon actioned his entrepreneurial idea to transform a former coal mine into a tourist attraction, Scenic World has grown to encompass three more exciting options for traversing the verdant bush terrain, as well as other original ways to interact with the natural mountains environment.
While Hammon’s original plan was simply to repurpose coal skips and tracks from the Katoomba Colliery to create a passenger train, today, visitors can also ride the cable car and skyway, absorb their lush surroundings on ground-level pathways and take in the view with a cup of coffee at the Terrace.
An accredited Ecotourism Australia business, Scenic World remains a Hammon family affair some 70 years after the first tourists rattled up the mountain in Harry’s converted coal train. And while the experience is, thankfully, far more polished and modern than it once was, this iconic Blue Mountains business is still a carriage-load of fun for a family day out.
Scenic World attractions
With bush-cloaked cliffs and rainforested ravines, the Blue Mountains does drama in a large format. While bushwalking is one way to uncover the region’s beauty, to really appreciate the enormity of scale here, a little bit of elevation goes a long way. As well as offering lofty viewing opportunities, the company also provides other attractions to excite everyone from kids to adrenaline junkies.
Pint-size palaeontologists will love Scenic World’s Dinosaur Valley, where more than 50 dinos are positioned under the green canopy like large-scale toys. Descend the Scenic Railway to start the hunt along elevated boardwalks, where you might spot tyrannosaurus Rex, stegosaurus and many big names of the prehistoric era, as well as learn fascinating facts from the Dinosaur Ranger team. Then, make your way out of the valley by aerial cable before the meat-eating predators pick up your scent. You can also purchase a Junior Rangers Kit, which includes binoculars, drink bottle and hat. The Dinosaur Valley adult pass starts at $50.
Scenic World Cableway
Glide gently into the Jamison Valley and return to the 510-metre-high escarpment on the Scenic Cableway. The steepest cable car in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll be fully enclosed with 83 other passengers in the Swiss-made car that takes eight minutes to complete its journey. If you find yourself a little jelly-legged as you begin your descent, remember, both of the two cables are made to support 350 tonnes each, so you’re in safe hands as you journey on at five metres per second.
Originally built in the 19th century to transport coal as part of the Katoomba mine, the Scenic Railway has become the steepest passenger railway in the world and is now in its fifth incarnation, having been redeveloped in 2013.
Once steam-powered, the train is now on an electric winch system and carries 84 thrilled passengers in four cars. The 310-metre route takes a pulse-quickening 52-degree incline from the Jamison Valley and returns in four minutes. Passengers are invited to recline their seats to a 64-degree incline to really dial up the excitement factor.
If you’re not done with high vantage points yet, hop aboard the Scenic Skyway to be suspended between two cliffs 270 metres above ground.
Laying out views of Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, Mt Solitary and Jamison Valley, on a 72-metre-long cable, the Swiss-made cabin dangles over ravines as you watch the canopy glide below through the electro-glass floor (if that’s a little too intense, there’s also the option to stand on solid flooring or take a seat).
When the cable car opened in 1958, it was Australia’s first, and now the current cabin, which can carry 84 passengers every 10 minutes, is touted as the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
If travelling in an enclosed, glass-bottomed cabin 270 metres above the ground is a little mundane for you, you’ll be pleased to learn you can now travel on top of the Scenic Skyway. Yes, you’ll be securely harnessed to the roof of the cable car as it makes its crossing on this 20-minute experience as you absorb the 360-degree views across the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. Beyond Skyway tickets start at $340 per person.
Scenic World tickets and entry fees
If you’re spending the day at Scenic World, your best option is to choose the Unlimited Discovery Pass for $50 per adult (there are family options for this pass, too), which includes a passage on the Scenic Skyway, Railway, Walkway and Cableway, and access to Dinosaur Valley (when in season) as often as you can manage in one day.
However, if you expect to visit more than three times in the year, you’re better off opting in for the annual pass for $99 for adults and $54 for children up to 15 years, which entitles you to unlimited visits in 12 months. Kids three years and under are free on both passes.
Getting to Scenic World and parking
Located less than two hours drive from Sydney, Scenic World is a relatively easy day trip. Free parking is conveniently available at Scenic World’s multi-storey car park and there are also charging points for electric vehicles. If you’re coming via public transport, Sydney Trains stops at Katoomba Station, which is three kilometres from Scenic World. Once at Katoomba Station, you can take the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus or the public bus (686 and 686G) to arrive at Scenic World.
Scenic World recommends visitors with special needs to contact them ahead of their visit, but while the Scenic Railway is not wheelchair accessible or suitable for those with neck or back injuries, the main building, Walkway, Cableway and Skyway are all wheelchair-friendly.
Scenic World opening hours
Scenic World is open longer during the summer months, so be sure to check the website before planning your trip. Bookings are also essential and ticket entry is timed.
During school holiday periods, get along for your visit any day from 9am–5pm. Regular hours are 9am–5pm on weekends and 10am–4pm on weekdays.