Sunday, November 18, 2012

Scenic World, Blue Mountains, Australia

Day 71 of our round-the-world trip.

It was obviously a Thursday. The empty parking lot says so.

We swiftly hopped out of our beat up, borrowed car and unbuckled the bub from the infant seat. Closing time was fast approaching. We spent too long at Three Sisters, but that's because nearby Scenic World wasn't part of our initial itinerary. The fancy name, to me, sounded like a description for an overrated park with a pricey admission ticket. And well, we didn't intend to shell out more dibs.

The Skyway. Visitors get a bird's eye view of the rainforest canopy through the electro-glass cabin floor.
Hubby and I gave in to our curiosity, however, after seeing all those directional signs along the road. We reckon all that hype must be worth something. So instead of driving back to Katoomba Mountain Lodge Guesthouse, we followed the signs from Echo Point (view point for the famous Three Sisters rock formation) to Scenic World. It was a leisurely two-kilometer drive, and it was only when we pulled up to a parking slot that we realized the time. 

Scenic World entrance.
Our hustle to the entrance paid off. We were amongst the last batch of people who got in. Out of the four ticket options offered, we chose Valley Return which includes a ride on the Scenic Railway and the Scenic Cableway. The damage? $21 per arse.

Oh that innocent-looking ride. 

Scenic Railway is the steepest cable-driven funicular railway in the world. To be honest, we didn't take its label seriously. Originally, it was set up in the 1880s for the sole purpose of transporting mined coal. But due to the growing demand from tourists and bushwalkers, Katoomba Coal Mine eventually built the Mountain Devil scenic railway car to replace the coal skip on weekends (the carriage currently in use is a much newer model).

It seemed like just another railway. Or so we thought.

Entering the tunnel felt like plunging into a blackhole.

If I were to name that railway, I certainly wouldn't attach "scenic" to it. I'll prolly throw in the word "plunge". Unbeknownst to us, the railway is on a 52° incline, which may seem tame only when you're buckled to your seat. I prepped my cam to shoot Jamison Valley from another angle. Instead, I captured blurry snapshots of nothingness, accompanied by shrieks of terror.

"Bubba, hold Luna tiiiiggghttt!", I reminded the hubby over and over. Like some broken record.

A family of four (the only other passengers on the 84-seater carriage) seated a couple of rows behind us, didn't expect the roller coasteresque ride either. It was apparent by the way their screams drowned ours.

  I may describe it as terrifying, but this video portrays nothing but fun.
 Light and sound show. AVP too.

As soon as our ride came to a halt, we scrambled out of our seats. I gotta admit, that was an exhilarating ride. And we would have enjoyed it more had we known what to expect. With a newly developed fear of unknown rides, we strolled along the elevated boardwalk in silence. This boardwalk, which stretches to 2.4 kilometers, cuts through an ancient rainforest. And folks, this is why it's appropriately called Scenic Walkway.

Bronze statue of a miner and his pit pony.

The walkway doesn't just offer a tranquil refuge, it also introduces visitors to the valley's flora. Here and there are bits and pieces of info about the old Katoomba Coal Mine that shut down in 1945. From small boards to life-size dioramas to light and sound shows. I must say, that's one educational stroll.

The Scenic Cableway.
A signpost directed us to the Scenic Cableway, our ride back up the enscarpment. This ride holds a title too, "the steepest aerial cable car in the southern hemisphere". But even with the word "steepest" in its title, this one's way more chillax than the Scenic Railway.

It's the perfect lift for a last glimpse of the Blue Mountains' top attractions. The perfect way to cap off that beautiful autumn arvo. 
That last glimpse.


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Synz | From Sea to Summit said...
November 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM

I love to try that Scenic Railway. :)

Marky Ramone Go said...
November 19, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Great shot inside the tunnel. Psychedelic groovy Austin Powers-like. Seems like everywhere you turn your head, its scenic everything there in Australia, no wonder you dig the country a lot.

joan | the backpack chronicles said...
November 19, 2012 at 8:22 PM

The ride looked pretty tame on the video. LOL! Buti hindi umiyak si Luna? Hehehe

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Marky, love the bush. Am yet to see the Outback.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 19, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Joan, I knerrr! It looks so fun on the video. Didn't get to see the view from the carriage, was busy screaming.

Mel said...
November 20, 2012 at 1:31 AM

Grrr! Kung saken nangyari yan, I might've marched straight to the admin desk and raised hell! Aba'y di sinabing rollercoaster ride pala! Haha!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 20, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Mel, hahaha! Prolly our fault for not knowing what we're getting into.

soloflightEd said...
November 21, 2012 at 1:44 PM

natakot para kay Luna. hahahaha. sus, wala namang pasabi na parang roller coaster pala dun. haha.
would love to try this!!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 21, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Hahaha! Thank goodness Sherv's holding onto Luna tight.

Traveling Morion said...
November 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

ganda ng view:) pero katakot naman yung ride nyo:)

Elal Jane Lasola said...
December 3, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Kalurky naman yung railway!

Sana di ako masuka pag natry ko to. Haha

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