kids

The weekend away all Aussie families should try.

Scenic World
Thanks to our brand partner, Scenic World

There’s something about school holidays no-one ever tells you – just when one finishes, another one comes along.

I don’t know about you, but it was Christmas five minutes ago and then it was Easter just last week and now it’s July and it’s winter and I haven’t bought a coat yet. Slow down, world, I want to get off.

Which is also what I said the day I took my kids on the World’s Steepest Railway.

See what I did there?

Last school holidays, we nailed it. We had a proper adventure. No, we didn’t pack off to Fiji, or Europe, or even the warm north. We just took the kids for a couple of days somewhere much, much closer to home – the Blue Mountains.

If you’re in Sydney, the Blue Mountains are practically in your back garden. And who wouldn’t want a back garden that’s heritage-listed, covered in blue-misted gum trees, multi-coloured birds and full of cosy pubs serving excellent pies? That’s right, no-one.

So a trip to the back garden it was, and the kids – Billy and Matilda, who are 4 and 7 – were whipped into a frenzy of excitement about going on such a distant and exotic trip with one simple promise: we’re going on the steepest railway in the world.

It was all part of an elaborate ploy to get them to do their first proper bush walk on our full day in the mountains and at Scenic World, just outside Katoomba, where you can easily find an Airbnb or stay at a character-filled hotel like the stunning art deco Carrington.

Plenty to see to keep the whole family entertained. Image: Supplied.

Scenic World, like most of the actual buildings in the Mountains, is perched on the edge of the canyon. You start all your trips in the Mountains at the top looking down, not the other way around. And Scenic World has been working on interesting ways to get you up and down that cliff face since 1945.

One of them - and the hit of my kids' trip - is the World's Steepest Railway. Built on the site of a long, long since abandoned coal mine, the scenic railway has been pulling people up and down that cliff face for a long, long time. These days the carriages are completely closed in and there is Raiders Of The Lost Ark music playing as you set off - you can just imagine how terrifying it would have been to be sliding down this cliff face back in the day, when OH&S wasn't quite so ship-shape.

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This is the excited face of a child heading down the world's steepest railway.

When we were visiting Scenic World, the sculpture exhibition that runs across each Easter school holiday was on, scattering all kinds of beautiful, distracting art across the forest floor. But even without the sculptures, the walk through the rainforest is beautiful.

And one of the best parts, especially when one of your party is a four-year-old with short legs and a shorter temper, is that you don't have to walk back up to the top - you can catch the Cableway which is, as you might have guessed, a cable car that tows you back up to base camp, with jaw-dropping views of the Three Sisters on the way.

But, that wasn't all. After lunch at the cafe, Scenic World has another big gun after the railway, and you might have seen it on one of our favourite guilty pleasures - The Bachelor.

Remember when Tim and Anna went on the Skyway? Image: The Bachelor Instagram.

The Skyway is a cable car that's strung between two cliffs. It's 270 metres up (that's high), has glass walls, a glass panel in the floor, and is made for the kind of nutters who don't mind heights and adore beautiful views. Nutters like my children. If they could have stayed on the Skyway all day, travelling back and forwards and gasping at the enormous ravine under their feet, they would have.

But mum was feeling queasy and anyway, we'd promised to take them on that 'proper' bush walk. So we made our small people get off the Skyway at the other side - the East Station - and then walk back to Scenic World. But not straight back. Nope. We walked to Katoomba Falls, and then all the way down Furber stairs - there are 996 of them - and then along the Jamison Valley and back to the Scenic Cableway to glide back to where we started.

It's 270 metres up! Image: Supplied.
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It was heaven. The kids were too excited by the steep climbdown to even complain. We all knew we wouldn't have to punish ourselves by having to walk back up 996 stairs, and we were a little family seemingly all alone with the call of the whip birds and the splash of the waterfall.

See? We nailed that holiday.

I think we peaked too early. These winter holidays are bound to be a washout.

Maybe it's time to do another trip to the back garden...

Have you taken your kids to the Blue Mountains yet? 

Scenic World's Early Bird family passes for the July school holidays are $88, covering two adults and up to five children. Only available during the school holidays for visitors arriving before 10am.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Scenic World.

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