Melbourne for Kids-Puffing Billy

Ever since I saw Madeline shared about her Puffing Billy experience with her kids, I made a mental note of it because it looked like such a fun family activity for the family in Melbourne.

The Puffing Billy is a century-old steam train which still runs on its original mountain track. And the highlight of the train ride is where we get to dangle our legs out of the open sided carriage as it chugs through the forest and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges.

Getting to the Puffing Billy 
The journey there however was far from exciting as we had to take a long train ride on the metro from the Parliament station to Belgrave, that’s a whole 70 minutes of train ride just for 30 minutes on the Pufffing Billy. Yipe, that’s taking train to take the train.
Puffing Billy 01

Can’t wait to take the Puffing Billy

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Puffing Billy 04

Belgrave Station

There are several options that you can choose, from a 30 minutes train ride to the next stop, Menzies Creek or to Emerald or to Lakeside which will take 3 hours. But after reading some reviews on Trip Advisor that one train ride to Menzies Creek will suffice for the experience we did that. Plus the cold wet weather in winter would also mean that a picnic is out of the question for us.

We were advised to arrive at the ticketing counter at least an hour in advance to get tickets as online sales  to Menzies Creek is not available. Thankfully, we got there half an hour before the second train departed at 11:10am and it was a lot less crowded than the third train.


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Puffing Billy 06

Getting our tickets punched

Instagram Tips

It’s all free seating on a first come, first serve basis. But for some IG worthy photos, my suggestion is to secure your seats at the right as it departs from Belgrave station so that you’ll be able to get a shot of the rest of the train as it makes a turn.

Don”t forget to get a photo at the head of the train like what we did too.

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At the head of the Puffing Billy

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The best seat to be on the Puffing Billy

Sophie was apprehensive about sitting with her legs out of the open window and she’s a bit of a stickler for rules too. So she was there for a whole 5 minutes before she decided that she’s lived on the edge enough and got daddy to take her down. But admittedly it was getting chilly when it started to rain.

She was still in good spirits nevertheless did want to get left out when we took our selfie and had her own selfie moment too.

The train puffed through the forest, fern gullies and farmlands of the Dandenon Ranges and it such a fun experience watching the cloud of steam rise to the top of the forest each time the train puffed. But do be warned that you may get some soot on your clothes if you sit too close to the front. 

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Puffing away on the rustic Monbulk Trestle Bridge

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Hanging out on the Puffing Billy

After half an hour, we arrived to the second station at Menzies Creek and hopped off to snap a few photos. We initially bought a one way ticket but we were clueless on how we were going to make it back to the city so with some quick thinking, we asked a volunteer if we could hop on the train that was returning to Belgrave and made it by the skin of our teeth!

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Arrived at Menzies Creek after half an hour

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Photo with one of the volunteers at the Puffing Billy

 So in all, we spent about 4 hours for this little train adventure of ours; close to 2.5 hours for our journey there and 30 minutes both ways plus factoring in waiting time in between.

Alexis didn’t seem to think the long journey justified the experience of the Puffing Billy. But  where can you still take a century old steam train in this day and age? The beauty of which is that it’s all maintained by a dedicated and tireless group of more than 850 volunteers everyday except Christmas.

Puffing Billy Thomas

Day Out with Thomas at Puffing Billy

And for little Thomas the Tank Engine fans, you’ll be pleased to know that come every spring and autumn, they have Day Out with Thomas where you’ll see Thomas in action! You’ve got to check out the adorable photos of the blue tank engine on their website here.


You can check out their ticketing details for Puffing Billy at their website here or visit their FaceBook page for more updates.

Hit the links below for the rest of our Melbourne trip 🙂

Day 1- Queen Victoria Market and Wedding Anniversary Dinner at Rare Steakhouse Uptown

Day 3- Melbourne Street Art and Laneways

Day 4- Weekend at St Kilda and Luna Park

I’ll be sharing more about the rest of our free and easy itinerary on the blog soon.


Don’t miss our Gold Coast adventures in Australia too. You can read more about where we went here.

Enjoyed reading this Post? Do like my Facebook page to get travelling updates. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Susankoh) or Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for more travel and parenting posts.

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Comments: 28

  1. Honey June 28, 2016 at 9:07 am Reply

    I got a relative in Melbourne. I didnt know they have this Puffing Billy Train Ride. My elder son would love this. He love choo-choo train… Thanks for the instagram tips hehe

    • Susan June 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm Reply

      Oh I’m sure your son will enjoy it especially when there’s Day Out with Thomas. Is he a fan of the blue tank engine?

  2. Madeline June 28, 2016 at 9:22 am Reply

    Wah you took the train there! That’s impressive enough haha. We were initially reluctant to sit on the ledge too until we decided we only live once lol. Thanks for linking up! =)

    • Susan June 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm Reply

      Yes we only drove on the 4th day so we had to take a train. We had the whole cabin to ourselves as we set off early at 7:30 and had our noses in a book, so time passed really quickly. Where did you park and ouch about that fine.

  3. mmlittlee June 28, 2016 at 9:47 am Reply

    I SAW THIS when I was researching for our Perth trip and was SOOOOOOO disappointed to know it is in Melbourne. My heart was crushed. Beautiful train and what a great post! I must do this once this lifetime!

    • Susan June 28, 2016 at 2:25 pm Reply

      Yes you must! It will be such an experience especially for the kids 🙂 But go during spring, the weather will be lovely for a picnic at Lakeside station.

  4. poojakawatra June 28, 2016 at 10:34 am Reply

    Beautiful photos especially that Puffing Billy Train Ride looks so lovely. Surely will keep this in mind for our trip to melbourne.

    • Susan June 28, 2016 at 11:19 pm Reply

      Hope you will enjoy it as much as we did 🙂

  5. Adesays June 28, 2016 at 2:21 pm Reply

    Whoop! This looks soooo fun! We just came back from Perth and is already thinking of planning another trip to Melb. I’m so going to check it out!

    • Susan June 28, 2016 at 11:18 pm Reply

      Your Perth holiday sounds fun too. I should plan that for next year 🙂

  6. Ling June 28, 2016 at 5:24 pm Reply

    A must to visit when I’m planning for Melbourne trip next time!

    • Susan June 28, 2016 at 11:18 pm Reply

      Yes, and a drive there should take you there faster 🙂

  7. pc June 28, 2016 at 6:18 pm Reply

    Right side of the Puffing Billy, right side! Lucky me, catch your Instagram tip!

    So very nice of the old train and the spirit of up keeping it till today, thumb up!

    • Susan June 28, 2016 at 10:58 pm Reply

      Kudos to all the dedicated volunteers and we certainly saw the passion that they have in sharing this experience with the tourists. Must remember right side ah 🙂

  8. Ju Ann June 29, 2016 at 9:33 am Reply

    Keep sharing your travel itineraries!! I always love reading it.

    And yes melbourne for kids is great! Wish i read this sooner, before i went melb late last yr!

    Ju Ann

    • Susan June 30, 2016 at 12:59 am Reply

      Australia is so family friendly. Can also go back again with your family in a few years time 🙂

  9. Bumble Bee Mum June 29, 2016 at 10:08 am Reply

    I visited Melbourne like 5 times and was saying I want to sit the Puffing Billy since the first visit but somehow I never got there. But now that I have two boys, I think I have more than enough reason to go for a steam train ride. Omg, the Thomas!!

    • Susan June 30, 2016 at 1:00 am Reply

      Yes, my daughter was asking if we can come back for it too. But maybe by the time we make it back for her second trip, she may outgrow Thomas 😛

  10. Jacqualine June 29, 2016 at 11:54 pm Reply

    So cute!! I visited Melbourne a couple of years back, shame that I didn’t read about this Puffing Billy. Next time must go!

    • Susan June 30, 2016 at 1:01 am Reply

      Can go when your kids are slightly older to appreciate too 🙂

  11. Ai Sakura June 30, 2016 at 10:32 am Reply

    What an experience!! Making a mental note too but I’m sure to forget so I’ve to engage you as my travel advisor when we next make a trip down to Melb hahahah

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  12. […] Armed with this street art map, we headed to Degraves Street, after our half day Puffing Billy Adventure. Now that’s a more suitable family friendly attraction and if you missed it earlier, you can read here. […]

  13. […] Day 2- Puffing Billy Steam Train at Belgrave […]

  14. Daniel July 22, 2016 at 1:27 am Reply

    Was searching on my upcoming Melbourne trip with my gal and family. Looks like it is a must go for Puffing Billy adventure. May I know how long do you spend your day at this location?

    • Susan July 24, 2016 at 8:43 am Reply

      Hi Daniel, thanks for dropping by. We spent 2 hours there but it really depends on how many stops you are taking. We took one stop to Menzies Creek where the journey is 30 mins to and another 30 mins back.If you choose to go up to Lakeside, you can choose to have a picnic there and it should take you around 3 hours for the round trip.

      • Daniel July 24, 2016 at 8:47 am Reply

        Hi Susan, thanks for the information. Cheers~

  15. […] Day 2- On board the Puffing Billy steam train […]

  16. […] Day 2- On board the Puffing Billy steam train […]

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