Puffing Billy is Australia’s finest preserved, a century-old Steam Railways in the world. This century-old steam railway was originally one of the five Narrow Guage lines of the Victorian Railways which started from the beginning of 20th century. Let’s go for an Amazing Puffing Billy Tours from Melbourne.
Why you should go for Amazing Puffing Billy Tours from Melbourne –
This beautiful, serene Rail journey takes you through splendid and magnificent Dandenong Ranges located on the outskirts of East Melbourne(Australia). Passing through lush Fern gullies, Mountain ash trees, and beautiful forests, this 24km mountain track from Belgrave region to Gembrook station is mostly recommended a Day trip from Melbourne. The spectacular views and pristine pollution free atmosphere of Yarra Valley would surely captivate your mind and heart. Victorian styled interiors, open styled carriages, gushing steam from the engine are the unique features of this specialized Rail Journey. These special carriages are having the special feature of sitting down on windows, through which you can hang your legs outside and enjoy the forest air.
Things to know about Amazing Puffing Billy Tours from Melbourne –
- It starts at Belgrave station in the Dandenong Ranges which is about 40 km from East Melbourne.
- How to reach Belgrave from Melbourne- There are three options to reach this ancient styled steam railway station. You can drive down till here. The second option is to use Public transport from Melbourne CBD area. From Flinders Station(main station of Melbourne) catch the direct train to Belgrave (Belgrave Line). It would take 70 minutes to reach here. For using Melbourne’s public transport, You need an MYKI card – an official public transport card of Melbourne. MYKI cardholders get some small discount for Puffing Billy to (* check it before) From Belgrave station, you have to take a small walk for Puffing Billy Railway station. (Check Google Map or take maps from Belgrave station). The third option is to book a local Day Tours from Melbourne.
- This rail journey from Puffing Billy station onwards is 25 km in total and takes around 1 hr. 50min till Gembrook station(last destination of this trip). The train passes very slowly with chugging and whistling sounds.
- Puffing Billy Train passes over an iconic wooden bridge – Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge and stops at Menzies Creek, Emerald Lakeside, Cockatoo and Gembrook(last point). Passing over the wooden bridge is the main attraction of this rail ride as whole train curves around which can be captured through cameras. A perfect place to capture many photos of the moving engine with steam rushing out from it.
- Make your first or lunch stop at Lakeside which is a perfect picnic place. You can lie down, unwind yourself with chirping birds, take a boat ride in the lake or play with your kids on the swings.
- Many local and International Tour operator offers Puffing Billy Train ride as a Day Tour from Melbourne which covers Healesville Sanctuary, Penguin Parade on Phillip Island and Wine Tasting at Yarra Valley.
- The Puffing Billy Train runs around four times daily with morning and afternoon departures from Belgrave.
- You can also book for specialized rides on this steam engine based on many unique themes which run on special days and times. These rides are DAY OUT WITH THOMAS – Thomas inspired Train ride. MURDER MYSTERY DINNER – Solve Murder Mystery with the darkness of Dandenong Forest ranges with all characters dressed up in Victorian styled are traveling with you. This is a late evening specialized train option. RHYTHM & BLUES TRAIN – Jazz Music and Entertainment by Melbourne Blues Band, Black & Blue while on the train and also on the stops in between of the ride. DRIVE THE STEAM ENGINE – Get an opportunity to drive down this steam locomotive for the day and learn how to oil the brakes and refilling water in the engine. (Must be 18 years older to avail this train ride). STEAM & CUISINE Luncheon (Dining carriage on the whole ride). These all rides have to be booked in advance through Puffing Billy official site.
- Listen to sounds of birds and you may be lucky enough to spot the exotic and famous Australian Bird species.
- You can actually get the glimpse of ancient styled railway stations, guards waving at you, bells ringing which signifies departure or arrival of the train. The whole area transports you to many generations back.
HISTORY OF PUFFING BILLY | Amazing Puffing Billy Tours from Melbourne
This train started in the early 1900’s with an aim to connect and develop rural areas of Dandenong Forest regions. It was launched on 18th December 1900. Earlier it was used for transporting good, forest sources and by local villagers. But in the modern world, after the development of roads, this is now a tourist attraction which also serves a purpose to understand the past of Railways when steam Engines were the first type of Engines to drive the train. A heavy landslide in 1953, blocked railway track and because of many losses, it was closed. Reopened in 1962 till Menzies Creek(1st station after Puffing Billy) and in 1988 till Gembrook Station(Last station), this railway track is well known ancient railway track in Australia.
Tips to be considered for Amazing Puffing Billy Tours from Melbourne –
- Tickets sell out very fast in Summers (peak tourist season of Australia), so book ahead from their online site or start early from your home to catch the first train so that crowd can be avoided.
- All stations across this narrow gauge railway line have Restrooms, Parking, and a small, Basic Café/Restaurant.
- Don’t carry heavy or big luggage with you as there is limited space in the wooden carriages of this train. Carry a small bag pack with essentials and a foldable stroller(if traveling with kids).
- When there is a risk of Forest Fires, then these steam engines are replaced by Diesel Engines.
- Wheelchairs accessible upon request.
- Spent some time besides the Emerald Lake. A perfect picnic spot.
- Don’t wear loose-hanging clothes or footwear if you want to sit hanging out from the train.
- It runs all the year round except the Christmas Day.
- There are not many Big eateries, so it is better to bring snacks or packed lunch with you.
- Don’t miss the chance to take pictures with the guard, cutouts of steam engines, Thomas the Engine and steam from the engine.
- If you are going on a family trip with children then you can buy a special Family ticket with concessions. But you should be 2 Adults+Children (not more than 4).
Go for a chugging ride across the rugged bushlands, fern gullies and temperate forests of Dandenong Ranges. This trip is not only famous among the children, but adults would surely enjoy it. Not many International travelers know about this place, though it is very famous in Australia. But I recommend it to add in your itinerary while doing Day trips from Melbourne.
There are many other famous Day trips from Melbourne – Scenic Drive across Great Ocean Road. Click here to read more on it.
Read about things you need to know before you visit Australia. Check this Melbourne official tourist website for more information.
I did this trip when I was living in Melbourne and I used public transport for this trip. Using Melbourne Public Transport is quite easy and cost-effective. This trip takes a half day if you don’t stop much on all stations and can quickly cover all things.
So, until then KEEP TRAVELING……………… KEEP EXPLORING……………………………………………………
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