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ellie1145

Come sail with me on a virtual cruise on Majestic Princess to Fiji!

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Ellie, thank you very much for the photos. Looks very nice, I expect some nice cruising when this whole thing ends. If I am lucky, I would like to travel with it, otherwise I will be looking for some similar options. Seriously, it feels like cruising in the forest in the sea 

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So are you lovely cruising adventurers ready to go? 

Did you enjoy Echo Point and did you pick up a few chocolate snacks along the way? 

 

Well, off we go again then, this time it’s Scenic World.

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10 minutes ago, Roger88 said:

Ellie, thank you very much for the photos. Looks very nice, I expect some nice cruising when this whole thing ends. If I am lucky, I would like to travel with it, otherwise I will be looking for some similar options. Seriously, it feels like cruising in the forest in the sea 

 

 

Not long now and we will be cruising on Majestic Princess - virtually of course,  but that’s better than nothing! 😃

 

I think we will need a crystal ball to see what cruising is going to be like in the future, but I can’t imagine life without cruising so I really hope that, eventually, things will get back to some sort of normality..

 

 

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Scenic World

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Scenic World is a family-owned tourist attraction. We are going to experience everything it has to offer. The first ride is on the Scenic Skyway, which is a cable driven cabin which glides across the gorge above Katoomba Falls. The ride travels 270 metres (886ft) above the valley floor.

 

Next we will experience the Scenic Railway, which is advertised as being at a 52 degree incline, and it claims to be the steepest passenger train in the world. However, for all you science buffs, it apparently uses a winch system, and is therefore an inclined lift, rather than a funicular. But that is splitting hairs, as it’s a pretty steep ride and great fun. We will leave the experts to argue over the minutiae and just sit back and enjoy it.

 

One of the bonuses of this ride is that you can choose how inclined your seat is going to be. For the adventurous there is the Cliffhanger at a steep 64 degree incline, or for the less brave there is the Original at 52 degrees, or if you are a wimp there is the Laidback. It was originally built to haul coal and shale up from the valley, but the coal mine was closed in 1945, so it became purely a tourist attraction.

 

Our third attraction is the Scenic Cableway, which is Australia’s highest cable car, at 270 metres. It carries 84 people and it ascends 545 metres from the Jameson Valley to the station at the top of the escarpment.

 

Our fourth attraction is the wonderful Scenic Walkway, an elevated boardwalk which will take us through the ancient temperate rainforest, and is the longest elevated boardwalk in Australia.

 

Scenic World is a brilliant attraction and you could easily spend all day here, exploring the forest, learning about its history, and visiting Katoomba Falls. There is a cafeteria should you feel hungry, and of course, a gift shop. It is 100 km from Sydney and can be reached by 2 hour train journey. From the station at Katoomba there is the Blue Mountain Explorer or the Trolley Tours Bus, which will drop you at the door of Scenic World.

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The Scenic Skyway 

‘We’re Walking in the Air..’

 

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Everything is brilliantly organised. Kat has already sorted out our tickets so there is no queuing.

 

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Waiting for our gondola to arrive. We can see right across the valley.

 

Our first ride is on the Scenic Skyway, which travels across the gorge above the Katoomba Falls. It has a cabin with a raised section in the middle where you can look down through a glass floor as the ride progresses. It’s an amazing panoramic view as we gently glide between the cliff tops, over the forest canopy. It really is like floating on air, especially when you look down through the glass floor. There are 360 degree views through the large glass windows and you can move around. All too soon our 720m ride is over and we exit and make our way to the next attraction.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Our gondola is on its way!

 

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I can see the station on the other side of the valley, perched on a cliff.

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We are going to have great views from the gondola across the lush Jamison Valley

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Off we go!

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Extraordinary rock formations, almost close enough to touch!

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Edited by ellie1145

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The Scenic Railway

                  ’I’m holding very tight.’  The Snowman

 

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Next we walk to the Scenic Railway which is a very steep ride down an almost vertical track which at times has an incline of 52 degrees.

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We wait for it to arrive and we have a choice to make as the seats can be positioned in 3 different ways.

 

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The Original has a 52 degree recline for a scary ride, the Laidback, for wimps,  is 44 degrees and gently reclined, whilst reclined even further back at a 64 degree incline is the Cliffhanger ride, for those NOT of a nervous disposition.

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We plump for Laidback as we are wimps, well DH is anyway....This railway, which technically is really an inclined lift, was originally used to move coal and shale from the valley floor up the escarpment.

 

It’s absolutely brilliant, as it has a glass roof, and we pass close to the rock face, through a dark section and emerge into the light. It’s a precipitous ride but not really scary unless you are a mega wimp, and the views are incredible.

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Posted (edited)

‘Far across the world

The villages go by like dreams

The rivers and the hills

The forests and the streams.....

 

The train has a glass roof through which we can see a canopy of trees..

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The train passes down a sandstone cliff and into a rock tunnel next to Orphan Rock. It’s dark for a few seconds......

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and then it re-emerges to incredible views

 

 

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The ride is well organised, and there are people guiding passengers into the train.

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View from the bottom, it’s a precipitous route.

 

 

 

 

Edited by ellie1145

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Hi Ellie,

So sorry you had a migraine and glad you are now well enough for this adventure. And what an adventure this is. The views were outstanding even before we reached Echo Point. Now with the added excitement of the rides surrounded by the this gorgeous scenery, this is a day that will be hard to top! I am loving it!!

 Of course, I did stop to pick up some chocolate snacks before we headed to the Scenic Skyway -- (after all chocolate is the 5th food group😁 ).

Gail

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Those Blue Mountains are incredible.  I should hope to see them one day in person.  Until then, thanks for the awesome views!!

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How long was the laidback ride down the mountain?  Did you have to take it back up or just one way?

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WOW scenic world was  amazing!  As I joined you,  I was wondering why we cant have this kind of well organised tourist trips here in UK? 

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5 hours ago, cnd crsr said:

Hi Ellie,

So sorry you had a migraine and glad you are now well enough for this adventure. And what an adventure this is. The views were outstanding even before we reached Echo Point. Now with the added excitement of the rides surrounded by the this gorgeous scenery, this is a day that will be hard to top! I am loving it!!

 Of course, I did stop to pick up some chocolate snacks before we headed to the Scenic Skyway -- (after all chocolate is the 5th food group😁 ).

Gail


There’s more to come, Gail, the day is yet young...😏

 

So glad you picked up the chocolate snacks, you will need your energy for the next part of the adventure.

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4 hours ago, USCcruisecrazy said:

Those Blue Mountains are incredible.  I should hope to see them one day in person.  Until then, thanks for the awesome views!!


I hope you will get to see the views for yourself, too.

 

Glad you  are enjoying the trip.👍

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2 hours ago, AF-1 said:

How long was the laidback ride down the mountain?  Did you have to take it back up or just one way?


Patience, patience, AF-1, all will be revealed in due course.....😏 

 

But the ride was just a very short one, a couple of minutes, no more, on the Railway. It’s 545 metres in length.

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2 hours ago, winifred said:

WOW scenic world was  amazing!  As I joined you,  I was wondering why we cant have this kind of well organised tourist trips here in UK? 


It certainly is a spectacular place to visit, Winifred, and the tour was so well organised,  it was seamless. That made it even more enjoyable.

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Posted (edited)

The Scenic Walkway

'Take my breath away....'

 

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We exit the railway and find ourselves at the start of the Scenic Walkway, which takes us into the heart of the 2.4 km Jurassic rain forest, although we only have time to explore part of it. 

 

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This is the original railway, built in the 1880s, which was used for transporting coal and shale to the top of the escarpment. It later became a tourist attraction when the coal mine shut down in 1945.

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A group of Chinese tourists have fun taking selfies sitting in the train....

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Kat is going to accompany us and, en route, she regales us with tales of the past, and a vast amount of information about the flora and fauna of the rain forest. It's cooler here as it’s shady under the canopy of the trees. We meander as a group along the walkway and stop here and there for Kat to give us some historical background, or to point out trees of interest. 

 

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Originally this was a mining area, and we pass a beautiful bronze statue of a pit pony by the local sculptor, Terrance Plowright.

 

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Behind the pony is a statue of a miner walking beside a loaded wagon. Pit ponies were highly regarded by the miners and well treated. Each pony had a name, and if they were injured or died they were mourned.

 

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The pit ponies were an important part of the mining process and they provided the means to transport the shale from deep in the mines up to the railway. 

 

Young boys of 14 began working in the coal mines, accompanying their fathers in the first instance, collecting their water bottles and meal tins. Often they would have to walk three or four miles out of the mine, and then they had to walk a few more miles to their homes. 

 

There was a pecking order for employment in the mines, and these young lads would progress from job to job, until they were able to work as miners at the coal face. 

 

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They would start as token boys, collecting the leather tokens from the men, which had an identifying number stamped on them, and which they would hang up on hooks. These tokens were vital, as should there be an accident in the mine they would know instantly who was left down the mine. 

 

Life was tough for these young boys. As they gained more experience they might be allowed to open and shut the ventilation doors, before being able to clip on the full or empty skips. Some of the jobs they had to do were very dangerous, and many ended up losing fingers in the process. It then took three years for them to become fully fledged miners, working alongside experienced miners.

 

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There are buttons which you can push to hear about the history of the mines, but we don’t have time for that, I’m afraid.

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Edited by ellie1145

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Thank you for this wonderful adventure so far!  Singapore now calls me, and it had not been on my radar before reading of all the fun you had there.  

We are booked on the Majestic Princess for January 24, 2021, but I fear this is wishful thinking as I read more and more discouraging things for tourism opening to International travel.  

I am so happy to see it virtually through your eyes as we have not been to this area!  We plan on doing four more days after the cruise in Sydney, and you are so far hitting the things I have on my "To Do" list.  

Fingers crossed we will get to experience it ourselves in January or some day farther in the future!  

Excited to see what more is coming!   

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8 hours ago, ROWSE said:

Thank you for this wonderful adventure so far!  Singapore now calls me, and it had not been on my radar before reading of all the fun you had there.  

We are booked on the Majestic Princess for January 24, 2021, but I fear this is wishful thinking as I read more and more discouraging things for tourism opening to International travel.  

I am so happy to see it virtually through your eyes as we have not been to this area!  We plan on doing four more days after the cruise in Sydney, and you are so far hitting the things I have on my "To Do" list.  

Fingers crossed we will get to experience it ourselves in January or some day farther in the future!  

Excited to see what more is coming!   

 

Good morning, Rowse, how lovely to hear from you!

 

Great to have you along. So pleased to hear that you are enjoying our adventure.

 

I am glad that our visit to Singapore has inspired you to put it on your bucket list. We have now visited three times and each time we like it more. 

 

There is a saying, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ but for us, familiarity has opened our eyes to this lovely city. We still feel there is lots for us to do and see, and we very much hope that we will return one day when it is safe to do so.

 

I do hope that you do get to go on Majestic Princess In January, Unfortunately, things seem to be still very much up in the air. But in the meantime you will be able to enjoy some of the delights of Majestic when we embark on the ship in a couple of day’s time.

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The Scenic Walkway

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We peer into the darkness and can see the entrance to the Katoomba mine shafts. In 1892 there were 150 miners working here, extracting 22,000 tons of oil shale a year.

 

We walk past a display of mining equipment which is fascinating. It is incredible to think of these men using such primitive tools to extract the coal and shale.

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We walk further along into the heavily forested trail, with trees forming a canopy over our heads.

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We see huge sandstone blocks which fell from the cliffs approximately 10,000 years ago. 

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These huge rocks are scattered everywhere.

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Huge tree trunks lie on the ground.

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Posted (edited)

We walk further along into the heavily forested trail, with trees forming a canopy over our heads.

 

Kat points out some beautiful ferns, and tells us about the possums who live in the forest, and the spotted tail marsupials called quolls, but sadly we don’t see either.

 

Neither do we hear the native Lyre birds. 

 

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These beautiful ferns grow really tall. Their delicate fronds form umbrellas over our heads.

 

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There are interesting notices explaining what we are seeing, and these supplement what Kat has to tell us. 

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Edited by ellie1145

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This tree fern has fallen over and grown along the ground before regrowing vertically. The trunk is covered in adventitious roots,

and if they come in contact with the soil they will grow.

 

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We listen out in case we can hear any Lyrebirds. These birds are great mimics, but they also serve an important function in this ecosystem. Lyrebirds constantly scratch about with their feet in the leaf litter. This results in them moving kilos of soil and rocks downhill. Over an adult Lyrebird’s lifetime they can actually move many tonnes of soil and rock. How amazing is that?

 

Little birds like the scrub wrens or yellow robins follow these birds around and pick up any insects which the Lyrebirds have missed. Easy way to get a good meal I guess. 

 

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The sun shines through the canopy, lighting up the beautiful tree ferns as we meander along the walkway, stopping every now and again for Kat to give us some information.

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Posted (edited)

We look up and glimpse the huge sandstone cliffs.

 

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The huge rocks that we can see lying around are actually full of life. At first they are colonised by algae, which shows up as red or yellow staining. These are then followed by lichens, which are greenish and grey.

 

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Acids are produced in the roots of these lichens, and these produce acids which break up the sandstone. Dust and soil are caught by the lichens and when this gets wet it enables mosses to grow.

 

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In turn, the mosses collect more soil, and when this gets wet it breaks up the rock. Plants also grow in this soil, and the roots produced by grasses and small shrubs expand the cracks. 

 

This leads to other plants, such as ferns and orchids, to grow.

 

There are little seating areas where you can rest and enjoy the beauty all around you.

 

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Edited by ellie1145

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It's been a lovely relaxing walk through this primitive and beautiful forest. 

 

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But through the trees we catch a glimpse of our next adventure, the Scenic Cableway.

 

I hope you are not too exhausted, as we have much more in store.

 

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Posted (edited)

The Scenic Cableway

 

We reach the Cableway, our final means of transport.

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We enter the fully enclosed cabin which holds 84 passengers and is wheelchair accessible, as it slowly ascends to the top of the escarpment. It’s a stunning view and well worth doing.

 

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Edited by ellie1145

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