The Puffing Billy is Australia’s favourite steam train that transports you into a timeless world of wonder. It’s located in the heart of the Dandenong Ranges and is only one hour east of Melbourne. First built in 1900, it served the local communities living in the hills and carried anything from livestock, potatoes, timber, and plants to passengers.
Nowadays, it’s a major tourist attraction. Puffing Billy tours invite visitors to come and experience a century-old tradition. When visiting this attraction, you can take in the magic of steam train travel as soon as you arrive. The smell of the steam billowing from the vessel’s chimney, the view of the historical trains preparing for departure, and the evocative sound of the whistling train are only a few of the amazing attractions Puffing Billy has to offer.
What Does Puffing Billy Have to Offer?
The ride aboard Puffing Billy takes you through the breathtaking Dandenong Ranges, which are situated an hour east of Melbourne. The area’s lush fern gullies and the Mountain Ash trees make for an exceptional opportunity to relax and take in the fresh air while travelling through the temperature rainforest.
One of the most spectacular things about Puffing Billy is that it continues to travel on its original mountain track between Gembrook and Belgrave. Here are some of the attractions you can explore when setting aboard the Puffing Billy:
- Belgrave Station
This is the first station on the Puffing Billy train line and is where all Puffing Billy vessels commerce their trips from when travelling to either Gembrook or Lakeside. When embarking on this journey, you can choose to either begin your trip from this station or Lakeside.
Belgrave Station operates as the headquarters of the railway with administrative and operating facilities. You can visit the refreshment store for beverages, food, and souvenirs. Additionally, you can take advantage of the beautiful picnic facilities or use the restrooms. You’re also not far from the Belgrave Township where you can a wide array of dining and shopping options.
- Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge
When starting your journey at Belgrave Station, you get the chance to experience Puffing Billy’s most popular landmark, which is the famous Monbulk Creek trestle bridge. This popular timber bridge consists of 15 spans and carries the main Gembrook Road and the Railway over Monbulk Creek. The car park located below this bridge is well-known for photographing and viewing the train.
- Menzies Creek Station
On a bright and clear day, you can easily take in the extensive views of Port Phillip Bay, which can be seen on the right of the train, as you’re approaching Menzies Creek Station. This station is a short 30-minute trip away from Belgrave Station and is ideal for tour groups seeking a short journey time.
- Menzies Creek Museum
Menzies Creek Museum was the much-anticipated exhibition of Puffing Billy’s Railway for quite some time before it was opened in 2020. After more than 10 years of researching, collecting, and building, the process was finally completed with many items from the Railway.
This new historic museum covers more than 1160 square meters of space and houses 80 displays, including rare operational diesel and steam locomotives, a rail tractor, and carriages. The exhibition also includes an operational boiler house that services steam engines, 500 brake horsepower generators, and fluid pumps.
- Little Toot Café
The Menzies Creek Museum only adds to this atmosphere by including a themed children’s play area and café with many different cold drinks and hot beverages to choose from. You also have a wide array of savoury and sweet food items to enjoy. The Little Toot Café is the perfect spot to refill your engine and help you remain refreshed while you continue exploring the Dandenong Ranges.
- Taking in the Spectacular Views
Right from the train, you can view the spectacular sights of Arthur’s Seat, Port Phillip Bay, and Westernport when seated on the right side of the vessel. You can also witness the Cardinia Reservoir providing water to Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.
Once you’ve crossed the Main Road, the vessel enters Paradise Valley. This is widely known for its pleasant farmland views. Moreover, kiwi fruit is grown on the vine at the plantation located to the train’s left close to Clematis Station.
- Lakeside Station
Lakeside Station is the best destination if you’re travelling as a family. It’s located in Emerald Lake Park and is halfway between Gembrook and Belgrave Station. Some visitors might decide to begin their journey here.
Picnic tables and BBQ facilities make this area the ideal location to relax next to the lake. You may wish to purchase a lunch from the station’s kiosk or pack your own. Whatever you decide, you can expect your food to taste a little bit better when sitting by the lake and taking in the fresh air. That’s not all! Lakeside Station also comes with amazing playground facilities, paddle boats, a wading pool, and many other activities to help keep your children entertained.
- Wright Forest
Between Cockatoo Creek and Wright, the Puffing Billy Railway travels through the northern border of the Wright State Forest’s un-spoilt landscapes. One of the most well-liked features of this breathtaking forest is its large stands of Stringy Bark that can be viewed from the train, as well as other eucalyptus trees.
- Timber Bridges
Along with passing the Wright Forest, this train also crosses through three timber bridges. The first of these bridges is more than 80 feet and can be seen over a small creek. Travelling further down the valley, you’re likely to see the second bridge, which is larger and carries the line over a deep gully. Finally, the third bridge is found further down the valley and carries the railway across Cockatoo Creek.
- Gembrook Station
The last stop on the Puffing Billy line is Gembrook Station. When arriving at this station, you can choose to stroll through the signposted walls in the town and the Avenue of Honour used to commemorate the local soldier’s sacrificed during WWII. You also have BBQ and picnic facilities provided in the adjacent park and at the station.
Talk to one of our friendly consultants now to learn how they can assist you with your Puffing Billy Railway tour today!
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