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