There is nothing more iconic of the East or brings back more childhood memories than going on a ride on Puffing Billy. The smell of the engines and the clunks and grinds of machinery as you enter the Belgrave platform is all part of the experience. Add in the volunteers dressed in traditional uniforms blowing whistles and waving flags - you feel like you are part of the Thomas the Tank Engine story.
The most popular return trip is the Belgrave to Lakeside and back. Along the way you will cross the historic Monbulk Creek trestle bridge, wave at the friendly locals from their backyards and spot the Cardinia Reservoir in the distance. For the best view, hang out - quite literally - on the platform side as you board at Belgrave.
A return trip to Emerald will make up a whole day activity - you will need to allow 3 hours at a minimum and the first trains of the day usually leave at 10:30. For the Little Ones - nap time might need to be on the train ride back to Belgrave or skipped altogether. So pack a picnic to devour by the lake and Mamma says all you have to do is enjoy the ride. TOOOOOT!
Special Event - The great train race!
The Great Train Race isn't simply a race amongst the competitors - it's an exciting challenge competing against the steam locomotive, Puffing Billy!
The race route extends 13.5 km's through the hills and fern gullies of the picturesque Dandenong Ranges from Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park. The continual popularity of this unique run makes the Great Train Race an event not to be missed.
The Great Train Race is organised by Puffing Billy Railway volunteers.
The Great Train Race is an annual fundraiser for the Puffing Billy Preservation Society – this years contribution will again go to Menzies Creek Museum redevelopment project.
Wanna know more? click here
Mamma's lil' tips:
- Snacks. Pack plenty of snacks and then some more. Snacks are a great distraction for those little ones who might needed to be stretched in the attention span department.
- Pack a picnic blanket that can be used in a number of different ways. 1. At the lake with your picnic. 2. To sit on the leather seat that can heat up 3. For warmth on the cooler days - it can get a bit breezy in the open carriages.
- Wear footwear that is securely fasted to your feet especially if you choose to sit on the side rails. No one wants a lost thong!
- Don't wear your best party clothes. There will be plenty of soot flying around and you will find some on railings and in the carriages (especially if your young ones insists on sitting on the floor). Don't be surprised to be shaking off your hair later.
- There is plenty to do at Emerald lakeside including the model railway, go for an explore of the walking trails or over the summer head to the wading pool.
- Of course if you don't think your kids aren't up for a full Puffing Billy experience - there is also Day Out With Thomas which is PERFECT for the little guys!
Trains depart from Belgrave, Menzies Creek, Emerald and Gembrook
Most popular depature spot is Belgrave
click here for more family experiences in the east