Angela Saurine and her son explore Scenic World’s Dinosaur Valley on a family road trip through the Blue Mountains
As we make our way through the rainforest below the soaring cliffs of the Jamison Valley, my two-year-old son Oliver literally roars in anticipation. “C’mon!” he cries excitedly, obviously frustrated with the slow pace of our tour group, and starts running along the boardwalk. We’d been looking forward to our road trip to the NSW Blue Mountains for weeks, with my dinosaur-loving toddler eager to check out Scenic World’s latest attraction.
After descending into the ancient Jurassic jungle onboard the Scenic Cableway, we encounter some dinosaur fossils before spotting our first replica dinosaur in Dinosaur Valley. Oliver excitedly climbs up onto the railing to get a better look. There are dozens of life-sized dinosaurs to discover, including a Mummy diligently guarding her recently hatched offspring, and a migrating family of triceratops. We are accompanied on the journey by a dinosaur ranger, who enthrals the group with fascinating facts about the prehistoric creatures.
After passing the entrance to an old mine entrance, a replica miners’ hut and a bronze sculpture of a miner and his pit pony, it’s time to make our way back via the Scenic Railway. I find riding the world’s steepest railway a nerve-wracking experience, as it ascends at what feels like an almost vertical angle. But Oliver absolutely loves it – grinning from ear to ear the whole time. I hold him tightly, as I had been warned moments before departure, to prevent him sliding off my lap.
The original railway was built in the late 19th century to serve the Katoomba coal mine. Acquired by entrepreneur Harry Hammon after its closure in 1945, it has now been operated for tourists for over 70 years. Even more remarkably, Scenic World is still owned and operated by the same family.
If you are looking for a great day out during the summer school holidays, Dinosaur Valley runs until January 31. It’s just a 1.5-hour drive from Sydney, with prices for Dinosaur Valley and Scenic World (sold separately) from $49.90 for adults and $27.90 for children under 14 years. Children under four are free. Both experiences include travel in a pre-approved circuit which takes around 1.5 hours.
The entry fee also includes a Kids Trail Guide, and you can also buy ranger packs filled with goodies that kiddies love, such as binoculars, a bandana and a re-usable Dinosaur Valley water bottle.
Passes are only available online, with timed-ticket entry to ensure the experience is COVIDsafe and capacity is limited.
For more information visit Dinosaur Valley
The writer was a guest of Scenic World.