Melbourne’s first steam train railway was opened in 1854. The short track of only 2.5 miles (about 4 kms) ran between Flinders Street Station and Sandridge (Port Melbourne). Melbourne now has an extensive electric railway network but for train enthusiasts, there are plenty of picturesque opportunities to travel by steam train around Victoria.
The Dandenong Ranges Tour includes a ride on the beloved Puffing Billy. Generations of Victoria children have ridden this steam train, legs swinging out of the carriages as they rumble and puff through the lush temperate rainforest environment. This two hour journey from Belgrave Station to Gembrook Station is a relaxing trip through the green forests of the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Immerse yourself in nature afterwards and tackle one the many hiking trails on the mountain.
For special occasions Puffing Billy offers a range of experiences which can include lunch or morning tea. Evening events are held at the Packing Shed and carriages can be hired for weddings and functions. They also have regular Dog Express journeys where people bring their canine friends for a day out in the Dandenongs.
If your kids like Thomas the Tank Engine they will love an adventure out to Queenscliff and the Bellarine Railway where they can have a ride on Thomas himself. Throughout the year, there are many special events for the kids on the Bellarine Railway calendar. If your family likes to dress up there are themed journeys you won’t want to miss; Halloween, magic shows, Easter specials, teddy bear trips and heritage train rides for everyone to enjoy.
The Blues Train events occur every year in the spring and summer season. Hear your favourite blues musicians, and see performances from a few unknowns who are breaking into the music scene, as you enjoy an evening of fun, dancing and tunes. The Q Train is home to a restaurant which showcases produce from the local food scene; walnuts from the Otway, tomatoes from Lara, Wattle Grove honey and butter from the Lard Ass Dairy in Ocean Grove.
You won’t regret adding one of these journies onto your Around and About Bellarine adventure.
Castlemaine and Maldon
A train journey on the Goldfields Railway will be the icing on the cake when you are planning your day out in the Macedon Ranges. The heritage steam train runs between the historic gold mining towns of Castlemaine and Maldon. Take the Excursion class carriage and have fun with the whole family, or dress up and step back in time in the First Class carriage (kids 3+).
If you’ve ever wanted to experience the joy of being in control of a steam engine yourself, the Victorian Goldfields Drive a Steam Train experience gives you the chance to tick that item off your bucket list.
Newport railway museum
Train enthusiasts should build in a visit to the Newport Railway Museum when they are planning their Around and About Travel weekend tour of Melbourne. The extensive collection of locomotives on-site gives visitors the chance to see the fascinating steam trains, as well as diesel and electric trains, which show how the railway system has developed in Victoria over time. There are even a number of steam cranes which were in use back in the days before mobile cranes. For the little ones who really love trains, there are birthday party facilities too.
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