Tuesday 22 Jul 2014

High and wild and high speed thrills in the Blue Mountains.

The awesome new shiny red Scenic Railway.

Today we got to explore a couple of the Blue Mountains valleys. Some of us took the abseiling, trekking and wading route, some of us took the rather more comfortable Scenic Railway.

Another day of parting ways – this happens when you have five kids, so we’re used to it. The big kids (and Simon) get to go canyoning. I take the littlies to Scenic World.

Into the valley on the world's steepest railway!

Into the valley on the world’s steepest railway!

High ‘n Wild Mountain Adventures now has an office in the lobby of the Blue Mountains YHA – it’s a perfect match for the clientele here, including us.

They run abseiling, canyoning, rock climbing and mountain biking tours in the surrounding bushland and canyons.

It’s a great way to get an introduction to these types of extreme activities in a safe, controlled environment, with qualified instructors.

You can find out all about it in this video…

My day was slightly different and involved double-decker buses and the world’s steepest railway.

The cool kids get to sit at the back of the (Hop-on Hop-off) bus.

The cool kids get to sit at the back of the (Hop-on Hop-off) bus.

The Hop-on Hop-off bus service does a loop around Katoomba and Leura, passing through all the scenic spots and popular walking tracks along the way.

The kids head straight upstairs to the back seat (of course) as we head for Scenic World.

...and VIP kids get the front seat of the Scenic Railway!

…and VIP kids get the front seat of the Scenic Railway!

At Scenic World we’re treated like VIPs, with a guide to show us around, help us get in the front seat of the train and tell us a bit about the history of the place.

You can now choose your angle on the Scenic Railway - from 52 to 64 degrees.

You can now choose your angle on the Scenic Railway – from 52 to 64 degrees.

The newly refurbished railway is our first port of call. It’s shiny racing-car-red and the seats have optional tilts so you adjust your ride from 52 to 64 degrees.

A beautiful lyrebird spotted on the Scenic Walkway.

A beautiful lyrebird spotted on the Scenic Walkway.

A wander around the Scenic Walkway comes next, where we’re lucky enough to spot a lyrebird scratching away in the leaves below our path.

We ride back up in the Scenic Cableway and head over to the Scenic Skyway, which now has the added thrill of see-through-floor.

Scenic Skyway - now with added see-through floor.

Scenic Skyway – now with added see-through floor.

I love the view from the Skyway, taking you past Katoomba Falls and the Three Sisters.

Katoomba Falls, seen from the Scenic Skyway.

Katoomba Falls, seen from the Scenic Skyway.

I remember coming on this when I was younger than the two kids with me today. It didn’t have a see-through floor then but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have windows either – rather more open to the elements.

The rest of the afternoon is spent going up and down the Railway a few more times (six I think) before heading back to Katoomba via double-decker bus.

We make a pit-stop at the Yellow Deli for banana bread and smoothies, and a pot of Maté for me.

The Yellow Deli, Katoomba.

The Yellow Deli, Katoomba.

The kids call this place Harry Potter café – it’s a little labyrinth of little dining booths made from twisted branches and vines, with stained glass windows whole meal waiters.

The food is made from home grown organic ingredients – large portions, very reasonably priced.

We meet up with the canyoners back at the YHA for another evening of pool, foosball and Pacman.

Where to stay

If you have a large family like ours, I highly recommend the Blue Mountains YHA. We stayed in a double room with an adjacent family room which sleeps five.

The Family Room was extremely spacious, so even with five kids’ possessions strewn all over the floor I could still see the carpet. The building itself is historical – the enormous communal lounge an old music hall, with stage and chandeliers still intact.

Each evening the kids had plenty to entertain them here, with a pool table, vintage arcade games and Foosball. They didn’t even venture down to the TV Room.

About the author

Deborah's first trip with her first child (at 4 months old) involved a 26 hour flight with no sleep, which is about when she realised travelling with kids wasn’t quite the same as without. Deborah has lived in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Edinburgh, London and now resides in Sydney’s northern beaches with her Brady Bunch-style family of seven – all seasoned travellers. Twitter // @deborahzoe42 Google Plus // +Deborah Dickson-Smith

Comments5 Comments

  1. Hi there, how great to see the lyrebird. I’d love to do the on-off bus too, love the Scenic Railway and all the other rides there, a lot of fun for the kids and for their old mum too.

  2. The adventure side in me says the abseiling and canyoning looks a blast!!
    But excellent that there really is something for all age groups here – Its not just for the tourists taking a peek at the Three Sisters :)

  3. The lyrebird really was a treat – and it’s funny how much the kids enjoyed the double decker bus! Such a novelty for them :)

  4. Johanna says:

    Wow, this looks like a lot of adventure. The sky way with the glass floor would have my tummy lurching, but I’d love the train. Abseiling looks fun too :) I visited the Blue Mountain in 1983, when I was backpacking and friends had a house up there – ohh which makes me sooo ancient! I bet Katoomba has changed since then.

  5. Oh we missed that cafe and the scenic railway when we were there. All the more reason to go back. Love the Blue Mountains

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