In the stunning Blue Mountains of Australia awaits a third-generation, family-built business that’s perfectly named: Scenic World.
The location about 100 kilometers west of Sydney in Katoomba, New South Wales, welcomes more than 1 million visitors each year who come to ride the “Scenic Railway” observation train, the “Scenic Skyway” aerial cable car, and the “Scenic Cableway” gondola, in addition to hiking the winding “Scenic Walkway” path through a rainforest.
“Scenic World provides the perfect introduction to the Blue Mountains with immersive nature-based rides that showcase the region’s stunning landscapes from a new perspective,” Scenic World Managing Director Anthea Hammon tells Funworld.
Her family-owned attraction dates back almost 75 years and continues to reinvent itself.
“Scenic Cableway”—one of the steepest and largest aerial cable cars in the Southern Hemisphere—underwent a $4 million upgrade in 2018 by adding a more spacious, reconfigured cabin to allow for streamlined boarding and improved accessibility with larger windows and free Wi-Fi.
In 2017, “Scenic Skyway”—Australia’s first cable car, which was constructed by Scenic World founder and Hammon’s father Harry Hammon in 1958—received what Scenic World calls the world’s only electrostatic glass floor. The surface upon which guests stand in the gondola turns from opaque to transparent during the journey, allowing riders to see breathtaking views beneath their feet. Other “Scenic Skyway” enhancements include the addition of Wi-Fi and an increased capacity from 65 to 84 passengers.
“Creating the unforgettable is one of our brand values, and we are always looking for new ways to evolve and improve our visitor experience,” Hammon says.
Scenic World first opened in 1945 when the Hammon family bought the lease of the Katoomba Colliery Limited, a coal mine that had for years supplemented its income by carrying passengers on its incline railway car. That railway, now carrying up to 84 passengers, remains in operation today under the name “Scenic Railway” and still holds the title as one of the world’s steepest passenger railways, sloping at 52 degrees.
But if that wasn’t steep enough, a 2013 redevelopment of the passenger carriages included a new feature allowing passengers to recline in their seats to experience the ride at a 64-degree angle.
“The new-look cabin is also fitted with glass-roofed carriages offering expansive views of the rainforest setting and the iconic Three Sisters [rock formation],” Hammon explains.
In addition to running Scenic World, Hammons Holdings Pty Ltd., was recently selected as the new concessionaire to operate BridgeClimb in Sydney Harbour. Following a competitive process with 13 applicants vying for the 20-year contract, the government in New South Wales chose the Hammons’ business. The world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge allows adventure-seekers the opportunity to climb over the landmark. Hammon says it’s easy to be passionate about running multiple attractions when creating unforgettable memories.
Long-popular with Australians, Scenic World is now being discovered by international visitors.
“Approximately 65% [of our visitors] are international and 35% domestic,” says Hammon. “China remains a key market for Scenic World, while emerging markets such as Korea, Indonesia, and Vietnam continue to gain momentum.”