Art attack at Scenic World
Aleney de Winter takes her family to experience all the fun of Sculptures at Scenic World.
As we descend 545 metres down into the rainforest on Scenic World’s Scenic Cableway, the steepest and largest cableway in the Southern Hemisphere, the floor-to-ceiling windows reveal spectacular Jamison Valley and the rainforest below sandwiched between the sandstone cliff faces, the iconic Three Sisters, Orphan Rock and Katoomba Falls. At least they’re supposed to. Truth be told, all we can see is… nothing.
The valley is completely shrouded in a thick blanket of mist. But rather than leaving us disappointed, entering the ethereal unknown of the mist sparks the kid’s wild imaginations and they’re happily convinced that the mist is actually the smoke from a posse of friendly fire-breathing dragons who are waiting to greet them in the Jurassic depths of the Valley.
There are no dragons today, instead we’re here to enjoy a sneak peak at the amazing art installations that are transforming Scenic World’s 2.4 kilometre rainforest walk into an outdoor art gallery. My junior art critics enjoy spotting the amazing artworks dotted throughout the rainforest, from the colourful stretched styrofoam and stockings of Intervention Invading Network to the suspended white cube of Poriferous. They’re also intrigued by an army of plastic toy trucks and bulldozers crawling ant like up though the valley and into the trees in Colonised.
However, it is the flyscreen bats dangling from the vines in Post Colonial Colony that proves their favourite, not only because, much like people, each of the dozens of bats has its own individual characteristics. It’s because the lovely artists, Linelle Stepto and Catherine Lane of Laidbare Collaboration, who are preparing their installation as we walk through, allow my wannabe artists to hold a flyscreen bat.
Running until May 10, 2015, Sculpture at Scenic World is also offering an awesome public programme with some great opportunities for junior art lovers including free guided tours, artist talks and the hands-on Sculpture for Small People workshops where kids can unleash their creative side using clay, rainforest objects, recycled material, and even bones to create their own pieces.
We clamber aboard the Scenic Railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world. Travelling at a 52° incline the railway has been operating since 1945, thrilling more than 25,000,000 passengers over its 75 years. Make that 25,000,004. The kids decide to take it up a notch and go “cliffhanger” by tilting our seat to an even steeper 64°incline for the ride up through a cliff-side tunnel to Scenic World where a hearty lunch awaits.
Afterwards we board the Scenic Skyway, suspended 270 metres above the rainforest canopy. As we glide the 720 metres between the clifftops, we’re thrilled by our fortunate timing. The sun burns away by the last of the mist to reveal breathtaking views of that valley we’d heard so much about earlier, the 360 degree views and glass bottom floor of the Skyway revealing the iconic Three Sisters and Jamison Valley in all their stunning glory.
After we disembark we follow a pathway to Katoomba Cascades, hesitating when we see the deep puddles of mud from the previous night’s rain blocking our way. But a little mud never stopped a small boy and our seven-year-old bounds into it before we can stop him leaving us no choice but to follow, slip sliding all the way. The stunning falls are worth the muddy mission but we’ve quite a clean up ahead of us.
Luckily our hotel, the family-friendly Waldorf Leura Gardens B&B Resort is just a five-minute drive away. Set amid 4.5 acres of pretty landscaped gardens and overlooking the fairway of Leura Golf Course, for the moment we’re more interested in the hotel’s guest laundry facilities than its pretty surrounds.
After we’ve cleaned up we take advantage of the table tennis and billiards rooms and play the afternoon away. The outdoor solar-heated pool and spa also tempts us but the chill in the autumn air quells our enthusiasm. Instead we play a quick game of checkers in the lounge before heading to dinner at the resort’s excellent Jasmine Restaurant and bar.
Beyond the games, the hotel really is perfect for kids, with spacious family suites offering a king-size bed in a separate bedroom and two single beds in the living area, giving us all a little space to relax and unwind after a big day of art and the great outdoors.
Visit www.scenicworld.com.au and www.leuragardensresort.com.au for more information.
When she’s not treading on Lego and being forced to watch Frozen on loop, Aleney de Winter is a travel, food and parenting writer. She shares tales of travelling and eating along with the hilarious antics of her globetrotting six-year old foodie son and daredevil three-year old daughter on her blog, Boy Eats World