One of the main attractions in the Blue Mountains is Scenic World which couples a number of rides with World-Heritage-listed, pristine rainforest. Really, it’s a combination that’s a winner for both the nature-lover or thrill-seeker.

Leaving Sydney, we drove up to the Blue Mountains and asked Jess and Delcie to accompany us on our big day out at Katoomba. It’s a pleasure to spend a day in their company and more so because Jess is so knowledgeable about local flora.

We opted to buy a full family package that included all the rides. It’s possible to mix and match the rides and walk part of the way down or back up the valley, but today was not the day for another marathon walk with our combined seven small children.

Jamison Valley, February 2012
The view from Scenic World looks over Jamison Valley and towards three pillars of sandstone known locally as the "Three Sisters". I remember last visiting this point in 1988 with my parents and two sisters. I was eleven years old.

The Three Sisters, February 2012
In an Aboriginal legend, the Three Sisters are given names — Meehni (922 metres tall), Wimlah (918 metres tall) and Gunnedoo (906 metres tall). The stories say they were young girls who were turned to stone for their bad behaviour.

Scenic Railway, February 2012
The Scenic Railway descends 178 metres into the valley at a maximum incline of 52 degrees — the steepest in the world.

Scenic Railway, February 2012
First built in 1882, the railway was used to haul coal from a mine in the valley.

Before we got onto the Scenic Railway, we found ourselves being reimbursed for the cost of our tickets. Jess had worked closely with one of the current staff at Scenic World and he offered to let us take the rides for free!

Coal mine relics in the Jamison Valley, February 2012
Mine shafts provide a modern glimpse of what life was like in the valley one hundred years ago.

Mining relics in the Jamison Valley, February 2012
A coal mine exhibition is on permanent display at the bottom of the Scenic Railway — at the start of the Scenic Walkway.

Coal mine relics in the Jamison Valley, February 2012
This valley would have been a very different place when it was a working coal mine. Now it's a haven of natural tranquility.

Jamison Valley, February 2012
At the start of the Scenic Walkway, the trees occasionally part to allow glimpses of the cliffs on the far side of the Jamison Valley. The eucalyptus oil in the air creates a blue haze across the distance, which is how the "Blue Mountains" got their name.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
Closer to the walkway, sandstone cliffs loom above.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
When the Scenic Walkway was constructed in 2000, not a single tree was damaged along its 2.4-kilometre length.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
This large coachwood is probably five hundred years old. On the side of it, another tree has taken root in a crack and grows healthily.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
Benches are provided at regular intervals so we can stop and enjoy our surroundings.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
Large chunks of rock have fallen down the incline and rest more permanently, covered with vines, moss, algae and lichen.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
The natural shapes of the rainforest environment create beautiful sculptures.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
Vines twist and turn as they grow, influenced by unknown factors.

Jess with Ayla and Jay, February 2012
It's a pleasure to share this walk with one as knowledgeable as Jess. She has been involved in bush regeneration in this area and can share fascinating insights into many different plants we see along the walk.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
Some sections of the walkway are partially covered with carpet to provide a non-slip surface in the wet environment.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
A large termite mound is the only evidence we see of other creatures in this valley.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
Along the walkway, well-written signs provide information and context for the plants, formations and relics that are visible off the track.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
Storm shelters are built at regular intervals, and this miner's hut is left accessible for tourists who need to shelter out of the rain.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
So much care has been taken to not disturb any plants that I assume that as these vines grow thicker, someone will come along and pare back the timber walkway around their circumferences so the vines can grow uninhibited.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
The walkway meanders in a large loop through the natural rainforest.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
I love seeing tree ferns growing in their natural habitat.

Coal mine relics in the Jamison Valley, February 2012
Even along the walkway, bits and pieces of metal remind us that we are in what used to be a working coal mine.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
The undergrowth is pretty sparse because the trees grow thickly, preventing smaller plants from accessing light and nutrients.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
Truly this is one of the most magnificent walks we have taken our family on!

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
We're thankful that during the time we're walking around the bottom of the valley, it hasn't rained.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
This tree appears to grow straight out of the rock.

Scenic Walkway, February 2012
Close to the end of the walkway, David stopped to retrieve one of Jay's gumboots that had fallen off while he walked up the stairs.

Jess with Ayla and Jay, February 2012
Although most of the Scenic Walkway is flat, there are several flights of stairs along the way, but these are still manageable with a pram.

Scenic Cableway, February 2012
We decide to ride in the Cableway to return to the top of the mountain. There is the option of walking up a steep path, but with all these small children, it's nice to take a ride.

Scenic Cableway, February 2012
Riding in the cable car is a casual affair. We hang on in the gentle, swaying motion.

Orphan Rock, February 2012
As we rise out of the valley, the Cableway passes by Orphan Rock and provides a good view of Katoomba Falls.

Scenic Skyway, February 2012
The Skyway is a cable car that travels across one edge of the Jamison Valley. It's the highest cable car in Australia.

Brioni and Delcie on the Scenic Skyway, February 2012
As well as looking out the periphery of the cable car, a glass bottom provides hazy glimpses of the rainforest floor.

Jess, Ayla and David, February 2012
Riding in the cable car is a novelty for all of us.

Katoomba Falls, February 2012
Normally just a pinstripe of white against the rocks, Katoomba Falls is roaring on the day we visit — thanks to heavy thunderstorms in the morning.

Scenic Skyway, February 2012
The kids enjoy the freedom of moving around the cable car and don't exhibit any signs of fear of heights.

Brioni and David walking, February 2012
As the cable car pauses at the other side of the cliff, David and Brioni take a quick walk.

Our outing to Scenic World was a resounding success — the weather remained fine for us and yet the morning’s storms kept the hordes of other tourists away! We’re glad to have created this memory in our children’s minds and look forward to returning someday.