We turned up at 11am on a weekday, to take 4 of our 'children' and two visiting families on the new Scenic Railway; as locals, we have visited and ridden the previous railway at least once a year, taking tourist friends. After waiting in the line for over an hour, at the counter we are informed that you can't just ride on one attraction, you must buy a 'Discovery pass', giving unlimited rides on everything. At a cost of $88 a family, and $32 concession (children 14-16, of which we had 2), we were looking at $152 for 2 x 2 minute rides, down and back.
Or you can walk to the bottom, down several hundred metres of steps on a bush track to the bottom, and catch the train back up, for $36 a family, and $14 per extra adult (sorry, no concession on this one for kids over 13), for 2 minutes of adventure; and no, sorry, that does not entitle you to walk on the walkway in the rainforest. Umm, we all only wanted to ride up and down the hill on the new train??
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you bring plenty of money, and arrive early! If you arrive after midday, especially on a weekday when the Scenic Railway closes at 3pm, after lining up for each attraction you will not get your money's worth.
Bring sunscreen, raincoat, umbrella etc, for the 1hour+ wait in the sun / rain / elements before the line moves into the building.
Be aware that you MUST pay for riding on everything, don't go along with the expectation of just going on one attraction, as you used to be able to do.
Do the walk to the bottom, then along to Katoomba falls, then back to the Scenic Railway or Cableway, paying the lesser amount - proportionally it is a rip-off, but it demonstrates a principle.
Bring your own food and drinks, so that you don't have to line up to get into the eatery, and then pay exorbitant prices for ordinary food.
Fun Alternatives: PLENTY of free lookouts with spectacular views in the mountains; Wentworth Falls has easy to access lookouts, bush land and great picnic areas. Wentworth Falls lake is great for littlies.
Visit Catalina lake / The Gully for a beautiful walk and learn about Blue Mountains Aboriginal culture.
Blackheath lookouts are particularly good, and the walks in the area are great, with different grades and timings.
Go across the Darling Causeway at Mt Victoria to the Bells Line of Road, turn left for the Zig Zag Railway (when it re-opens), turn right and visit some of the lookouts off to the right eg Pearces Pass - the views rival Katoomba's, if not even more grand and spectacular, then drive back to Sydney. Visit Mt Tomah botanical gardens on the way.
The walks around Katoomba and Echo Point are great, park a few streets back for free parking. Golden Staircase from Narrow Neck along Jamison Valley floor and bypassing the Scenic Railway at the bottom, walking back up Furbers Steps or the Giant Staircase is wonderful. Eat at local cafes that put dollars into the local economy.
A family pass for the scenic railway would be for two adults and 2 children under 13 years of age. We got on at the bottom and had to pay at the top. I'm pretty sure there was no mention of ticket pricing or ages on the signage at the bottom. Our two children are over 13, so a one way fare on the railway (ride lasts around 2 minutes) was $40.00 - there goes our lunch money.
Fun Alternatives: Walk
Do not take the Scenic Skyway cable car (http://www.scenicworld.com.au/). It's not worth the money.
Unique Suggestions: If you have the time, you can take the Skyway, do a walk, and come back with the Scenic Railway train.
Fun Alternatives: The Scenic Railway train is much more exciting.
Scenic World is essentially a tourist trap.
The weekends see thousands of tourists bus in and bus out. Ticket queues become long and walking tracks can become very congested.
Food prices are also aimed at cashing in on the tourist dollar.
Unique Suggestions: Go during the week, there will be far less people in the way than during weekends.
Take your own packed lunch, drinks and snacks if you want to save yourself from paying extorted prices.
A small apple will cost you AUD$1.50 at Scenic World. You can buy the same apple in a supermarket for AUD$0.20
Fun Alternatives: There are many bushwalks in the Blue Mountains where you might not see many tourists.
The Blue Mountains have really grown touristy over the years, its never too crowded. They've fixed the place up with more walks and better paths, of course people will now have to pay for parking. This was my final view before leaving.