Scenic World

My primary school trip to scenic world recalls some arcade games and the train ride to the bottom, a rock strewn landscape area where we walked around and I was snapped running up the side of the mountain. As a pre-teen, I was not concerned with issues such as paying tickets or where the toilets and eating were located. I distinctly remember trying to sneak away from the group to play the new machine gun game before getting back in line to catch that train ride. It was so disappointing they only had 3 machines.

Today’s scenic world is a really awesome day out for my family. Zero arcade games just shows how much more interesting they’ve made the rest of the place. The ticket price was well worth the day’s surroundings/activities.

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Picture: Seen from Echo Point, the main facilities for Scenic World sits a top of cliff edge.

We got there early, because we refused the kids request to do the Echo Point to 3 Sisters Walk (another story for another day.) During these school holidays they offered a discount for the early birds which made a good value activity a little cheaper.

Cable Way

Of course, the first thing you do when you get in is try to get on the the rail ride. Unfortunately, everyone had the same thought so we quick detoured to the Cable Way. Down on the Cable Way we dropped into the valley. Of course the priority at this point was to get to the front of the cab to ride it down.

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Our tour guide was explaining about the different rock structures, 3 sisters while we were awestruck by the height we were up and dropping from. Breathe in, don’t look down, stay away from the window. The temperature dropped noticeably as we went and down the bottom the air was ‘different.’

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It wasn’t until we were half-way down, when the captain of the boat directed us to views to the back (up side.) It was a pleasant surprise to realise that from any seat (not that anyone was sitting) on the ride there were great views (something immediately obvious to anyone obervant enough to notice there was glass all around? duhhh duhhh.

Walk Way

What can you find at the bottom of a steep ride, but .. a lot of walk. Wow, lush vegitation all over the place, I definitely don’t recall any of this from those hazey days as a primary schooler. Even better, they have elevated timber walkways all around so for all the extra traffic around, we’re not contributing any further to damaging the place.

Love the little signs explaining different aspects of the forest. Unfortunately, walking around with a 4 and 6 year isn’t conducive to long moments of contemplation. What’s this, let’s go over here, what’s that, tip your in…

There’s a fair bit of conservation work of what the property was previously used for, which includes retention of some of the things that we used to do down here that destroyed the place. Old mine shafts have been preserved and exposed highlighting the difficulties of early workers (no chocolate cakes for supper) and their hazards (ventilation into those mines looked real dodgy.)

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We ended up with 3 trips down here.

Toilet Runs

One constant about going places with kids, it’s not water that is a priority. You need to be perenially aware of the closest toilets. Unfortunately, everyone lacked the foresight to trash the forest any further by putting toilets down here.

Three times we went down, twice the time was cut short for the toilet run.

Be not surprised. The ticket staff clearly tell us before we’re given our tickets (wrist bands) that there are no toilets down in the valley. Repeat that, there are no toilets down in the valley.

Rail Way

The key benefit of so may trips into the valley? We get dizzy with all the rides, which includes 3 trips on the rail. And each of those runs had to be the front row seats.

Seating designed for 3, the kids squeeze it so they can all fit in the front row. Because there’s nothing like hanging out for an 800m free fall drop (should the rail fail.) We rush back up for the toilet run, and the first we they want to do afterwards is to queue back down. Guess what? Everyone wants to ride too, so instead of taking seats back at the back, we wait for the next run so we can go down on the front row.

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In my primary school days they had chicken wire type caging to keep the chooks in the nook as the train went down. Before then, one of our church members went down those original seatings, they did it with less safety. There was only one setting for the seats and it’s a weird ride. The ride is still weird, but this time the ride just seems way too safe.

The metal caging looks so ‘superior’ and safe it’s hard to feel in any danger. They play some sort of Star War’ish theme music which is cool. Definitely way too safe, good for those with a faint heart for heights.

Now, those early riders can definitely say you had to be seriously daring to get into a box car that dropped over the edge of a slide/cliff. And they wore their Sunday best when they were doing it too.

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Sesilia and Sisitoutai on a replica of the 1st Rail. Think about going down on that one, only for the cruelly brave.

Where else can you go?

Echo Point and the 3 Sisters

To tide us over and allow a more relaxing, enjoyable trip to the Blue Mountains, we booked 2 x Double Rooms at the Echo Point Inn. The joint is classified as a 3 star and … it didn’t disappoint. Yes, the décor is working class, a little rough, just like us and more than adequate for a warm cozy night’s sleep.

Location is awesome.

The Inn/motel is a very short walk from the Echo Point lookout where we got to take some great photos of the 3 sisters. The kids have already booked us in to come back so we can do the walk to the 3 sisters.

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There’s outdoor space at the motel for relaxing if you just wanted to do something close.

Facilities are good

The motel has seen better days, but for us the major items were, connected rooms, clean linen, clean place, and working ‘stuff’

The carpeting is industrial, wears well and one of the rooms looked like it had been recently recarpetted. The furniture is weary but solid and sheened. Clean, that goes a long way in our books. Good enough to recommend coming back.

The TVs worked, no cable, but enough channels we had something for the kids to watch and wind down from the day’s hiking. Of course, it was also a great excuse for getting up early, get some breakfast out of the way to watch more TV..

Missing bits?

With 6 bodies in 2 rooms, we’re bound to be short a few things, so if you’ve got our numbers a few things we had to supply.

  • Additional wash cloths
  • Cereal bowls

Service ?

The two trips to the counter was a good experience with the two different attendants both very pleasant and willing to give us local knowledge to help us enjoy our stay.

We arrived a little later than expected, no worries, and let me show you where your rooms are. If you need anything the desk is open till 8:00pm, please call.

After check-out, we wanted to walk down to the look-out, no worries leave it parked out there, how ever long you need.

Wentworth Falls

Our first family trip to the Blue Mountains began at the Visitor Information Centre at Glenbrook. Strange how that co-incided with hunger and food flowed from the van onto the table (must be an Islander thing.) We wandered around at the Visitor Centre, playing catch at the park then taking a directed walk to see the ‘little country church’ Uniting Church Glenbrook.

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The day’s magic broke through at the unplanned stop of Wentworth Falls.

We’d never been there, and although we’ve done some decent walks with the kids at the Homebush Centenary Park, we had no expectations of what this journey would be like.

Meandering down the drive we found a tight squeeze for parking and then spent the next five minutes trying to find where we pay for parking (you know, like most everywhere else we go these days.) No, we didn’t find the parking meter vending machine and eventually left the combi hoping we don’t come back to a nice fine.

Lookout

Jenson’s Lookout gave a beautiful view of the mountains, but it didn’t seem like there was much else. We mess around for a little while then decide that OK we’ll walk to the next thing (lookout point)

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The waterfall sure looks tiny from here

We get to the next lookout point, and wonder of wonders, we get to see a view of … the Blue Mountains. Wow, not. We’re enjoying each other’s company when we decide to get off the main track and follow one of 20 minute track going down.

We pass a few people coming up and the track is pretty straight forward and we find another lookout. Wow!! Another view of Blue Mountains, but this one looks more daring/dangerous being ‘hidden’ away and having been forced to ‘trek’ over uneven paths, rocks to get here. The danger is more implicit with regular 2” pipes as handrails instead of the nice secure security fencing at the earlier look out points. In truth, this look out point requires a certain level of maturity, common sense. You can feel that you need to watch the kids because some stupid playing can send someone to their death.

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Hey, the waterfall is a lot easier to see from this angle

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nice view guys, but that ride to the valley floor looks very close?

Sione Halasika dives under the hand rails digging into the rock ledge so he can peak through the water/vent hole.

The waterfall looks gorgeous from here. Actually looks like a post card picture at this point. Water cascades down the side of the mountain and various points it just looks like spray and somewhere below it pools together.

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Things are getting exciting.

We walk back up the track, and the kids are still hyped so at the next junction we take the track less travelled (there’s signs up so hopefully someone knows where these tracks go.)

Now, this track is more daring (and the kids don’t really care much) you wind through a path with no safety railings and ledges with a 10 meter drop down the side. Each of us grab one of the younger ones and do the odd dance down a track built for one trying not to fall over a ledge, whilst trying not to walk over the kids.

You’d think we can trust the older two to be a little more mature? Stop!!! don’t run too far ahead. Actually, don’t run at all.

We walk under a lot of hanging rock, dripping things. I think that was part of the attraction of this route. Some of the track is re-enforced with wood pailings. Wow, never knew that was a good idea (a lot more stable than that earth stuff.) The place is kinda neanderthal. Which we’re told later, is about right.

Another cross-track, hmmm back up and out or down to that Waterfall spot we saw from that danger zone, up somewhere. There’s a lot of nature here to enjoy, but the kids are just enjoying the whole experience (i.e. it’s great to walk outside) and we’re not spending much time looking at anything in particular, just brushing through the bush as easily as possible.

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Hold this boy. He’s going to fall over.

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In a cave, on a ledge, multipurpose

These kids are crazy, we walk down and ‘Ofa decides she’s joined the crazy kids and they climb down to the beginnings of the waterfall (now why do I think that slipping in the water isn’t a good idea?) They all sample the cold water, and want to trudge across it. Noooo!!!!!

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Don’t worry about that, you’all come down and in the water.

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Woohoo, we’re at the beginnings of the waterfall!!!

We make it to the “main” waterfall spot, and with a sigh I notice a nice big fence to catch idiots (oops the adventurous) who must wade in the water. Of course, all of our party have to ‘wade in the water.’ And the water is bloody freezing. How often do we get to walk on a waterfall? Exciting times.

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Postcard moments.

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All  I have to say … it’s cold in here.

We spend a little time and get to talk with some of the other adventurers young and old. It’s time to make the trek up and we realise that to every down hike, there’s a seriously horrible up hike.

Things are going fine until Miss Jnr decides she has to complain about being hungry, stomach problems, toe problems, ear infection problems. Mum expounds on the beauty and virtues of everything around us, the fresh air, beautiful flowering plants, the path, the we’re almost there.

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Sesi – I’m going this way. Stop, we have to get up to get out!

No good.

We survived and made it back to the top, and magically all the aches and pains disappeared and we were rushing around looking down again at where we’d been.

Wentworth Falls? It was a magical afternoon, and definitely booked for future school holidays. We were sold on the shopping up here, but we’ll have to look at that another day.