Big views, small footprint: the Scenic World way

Scenic World staff

Over the past 72 years, local family-owned business Scenic World has evolved as a business focused on environmental preservation, partnerships and local investment.

Scenic World is Australia’s privately-owned and most-frequently visited tourist attraction, with over 1 million visitors a year. It runs the world’s steepest incline railway into the lush Jamison Valley, as well as the Skyway, Walkway and Cableway.

The business is accredited by Ecotourism Australia as a Green Travel Leader and regularly monitored by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Scenic World also has a silver rating as a member of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute (BMWHI) Low Carbon Living program.

Scenic World is serious about improving its energy efficiency and reducing its environmental impact. Electricity generated by the railway during its descent is fed back into the grid, offsetting the electricity used in its ascent. Lanolin instead of petroleum is used to grease the railway tracks and minimise friction. The current Skyway upgrade will increase capacity without additional energy use, while the Cableway will be upgraded next year to minimise peak energy usage.

Anthea Hammon is Scenic World’s joint managing director. She is also an engineer and the third generation of her family to run the business. “Scenic World offers the visitor an opportunity to experience an all-senses tour of this unique environment without damaging, eroding or degrading the surroundings,” she says.

In 2000, Scenic World constructed a walkway above the valley floor, replacing the old walking tracks that caused erosion. The walkway enables visitors to minimise their footprint but still connect with the environment and learn about the flora and fauna.

Through a partnership with the BMWHI, Scenic World has lent its support to projects including the Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Program, a PHD study on lyrebirds, an archaeological survey of a mining village survey, and an environmental education program for staff and visitors.

The business has also considered its waste management and food miles. Scenic World uses solar-powered waste compactors to reduce rubbish overflow and collection frequency by up to 80%. Its restaurant and café uses BioPak to save 22 tonnes of CO2 annually. Restaurant and café visitors are offered compostable cutlery and crockery. Fair trade coffee is provided by local outfit The Little Coffee Co. and Katoomba’s Whisk & Pin products are also available. Other local produce is sourced from Katoomba, while free-range eggs are supplied by a farm in Windsor.

The use of a Pulpmaster to manage organic waste was inspired by other local businesses such as the Escarpment Group. A cardboard baler is used onsite to compact waste, reducing costs associated with storage and disposal, and Scenic World has contracted a waste management company to redistribute 100 tonnes of organic waste each year.

There are water-efficient fixtures and timers are in the bathrooms, and water waste management procedures in place in the kitchens. Lighting is 80% LED; non-LEDs will be phased out when they expire.

Scenic World’s most recent low carbon initiative is a 100KW solar panel system, installed by the end of this year. Over the longer term, the business expects to fully realise the benefits of its investments in energy reduction, waste management and renewables. Scenic World is minimising its carbon footprint, one step at a time, and doing so with pride.

–  Story by Caroline Payne.

Keeping Special Places Special – Planning & Adaptive Management for Protected Areas

Registrations are open for a five-day Open Standards / Healthy Country Planning workshop in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Using a well-proven adult learning approach, this intensive live-in course will give people a good understanding of how these tools can be directly used in their own work.

The course is delivered under the Protected Areas Learning and Research Collaboration jointly by the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute and Conservation Management.

When and where: June 26-30, 2017 in Katoomba, Australia.

For further information and registration, see the attached flyer  BlueMts_Flyer_A4_2017

Scholarships are available and details can be found at this link. Scholarship applications must be submitted by Friday 28 April 2017.

Corridors and Connectivity in the Great Eastern Ranges

On 10 December, the Institute’s Programme Director Rosalie Chapple presented at the Great Eastern Ranges’ Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala partnership (K2W)’s Annual Forum at Jenolan Caves.

The K2W partnership brings together landholders and community groups to protect and restore natural connections for native plants and animals in the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala Link landscape corridor.This corridor connects the western edge of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area with protected areas located in the upper reaches of the Lachlan River catchment.

Read more about the forum


Over 43 people attended the forum, including local landholders, researchers, government agencies, and conservationists

Rosalie’s presentation outlined the Institute’s work in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, and how this links with the Kanangra to Wyangla piece of the connectivity jigsaw.

View Rosalie’s presentation

Rosalie presenting at the Forum

Rosalie presenting at the Forum

‘Fire stories – a lesson in time.’, evaluation report

The documentary film, Fire Stories—A Lesson in Time (see, was locally produced as a community engagement tool to raise awareness about the risk of fire, through presenting the narrative of a devastating bushfire event in Blue Mountains townships in 1957. The film was released in 2013 just months before similarly devastating fires again struck the region. We later evaluated, via online survey, the impact of viewing the film on fire preparedness and response in relation to the 2013 fires. From this evaluation, Fire Stories was found to be an effective form of communication that enhanced community resilience, namely fire preparedness and response.

Click here to download a copy of the evaluation summary report

The full report (including data) is available here:
‘Now I Get It’ – 2015 Impact Evaluation of Fire Stories-A Lesson In Time

For more information contact Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute.


Invitation: Report on evaluation of ‘Fire Stories’.

‘Fire Stories – a lesson in time.’

How effective was this film in bushfire risk communication?

Invitation to report on Fire Stories evaluation (1)


Zoology on the table: the science, sustainability and politics of eating animals

Royal Zoological Society NSW Annual Forum –  Australian Museum, William Street, Sydney (enter via top William St entrance)

Blue Mountains Local Environmental Plan – consequences for the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

Current Blue Mountains Local Environment Planning controls are critical to ensuring development does not impinge negatively on the surrounding World Heritage Area; that human use is harmonised as far as possible with the World Heritage values of the area.  BMWHI LEP Report FV 17.5.13

In March 2006 NSW Local Councils were directed by the NSW Government to prepare new LEPs consistent with a standard template with standardised provisions and a landuse zoning system.  The intent of the standardised system is to assist in simplifying and streamlining planning across all Local Government Areas in the State.

In 2013 the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute was commissioned by Blue Mountains City Council to review the implications of aligning the Council’s existing Blue Mountains Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) to the NSW Government’s proposed Standard Instrument LEP template.

The Institute’s mandate revolves around ensuring good conservation outcomes for the GBMWHA, and that its’ World Heritage values are not jeopardised.

This is particularly important in the case of the Blue Mountains where ribbon like ridge-top development has the potential to affect downstream systems.

The visual and cultural character of the Blue Mountains is also shaped through the local LEP, as is an adaptive management capacity to deal with dynamic threats such as climate change.  The GBMWHA is somewhat unusual as it does not have a formal buffer zone as many other World Heritage sites do.

The debate about the future of the BMCC LEP is ongoing and more information can be found on Council’s website:

Additional information can be found on the Blue Mountains Conservation Society’s website at  or find the LEP link from the home page

The Institute’s role is to generate the knowledge that can contribute to good decision-making within the GBMWHA.  We were thus pleased to prepare the review that can be downloaded at BMWHI LEP Report FV 17.5.13.  For more information please contact John Merson

Premier screening of wildlife documentaries exploring the role of our top predators

Daniel pic

Photo by Ed Slone

100 people turned up to the screening of two fascinating and unique wildlife documentaries that the Institute screened at the Fairmont Resort in Leura on 13 June 2015.

A year in the making, “Battle of the Bush”, by multi-award winning filmmaker Daniel Hunter, explores the role of top order predators in the forests of the Blue Mountains region.

Daniel’s research is carried out at the University of New South Wales Centre for Ecosystem Science and is partly sponsored by the Institute.

Photo by Brad Nesbitt

Photo by Brad Nesbitt

“My research is echoing findings from similar studies that suggests the dingo performs a vital function in Australia’s ecosystems as a top order predator and yet it’s widely considered as an enemy of the farmer.”

“Where Do Eagles Dare?” follows Simon Cherriman, a young West-Australian ornithologist, as he embarks on a quest to fulfill a boyhood dream to satellite track Wedge-tailed Eagles in the remote wilderness.

The importance of science communication

These films are testimony to the crucial role of film as a vehicle for raising awareness of – and empathy for – nature and wildlife. Both Daniel and Simon combine their skill in film-making with their wildlife projects.

“Interpreting science is crucially important. As scientists we often fail to effectively communicate our messages about the environmental crisis. The places where wildlife can roam free on this planet are getting smaller and smaller. Effective communication that engages people’s hearts as well as their minds is urgently needed”. Rosalie Chapple

For more information,  view the event media release.  Any inquiries to

View the trailer for Battle for the Bush:

Demystifying Sustainability – Haydn Washington

Environmental scientist and author Haydn Washington just published a book calledDemystifying Sustainability. Much has been said about sustainability, but what does it all mean? Haydn Washington aims to demystify sustainability, so that the lay person can understand what the issues are.