If your children haven't been on puffing Billy yet, then I highly recommend you book some tickets, pack a picnic and spend a day exploring the Dandenong Ranges.
This is exactly what we did last weekend with our 4 children. We boarded Puffing Billy at Belgrave and travelled to Emerald Lake, which is about an hours ride through the stunning countryside. Despite the children having been on Puffing Billy several times, it's the one thing that they never tire of and is still one of the most anticipated day trips on our calendar despite the older two now being in double digits.
The excitement of being able to sit on the window box of the carriages has passed through the generations, and is as popular now as when the train first started tourists rides, way back in 1962. Since then 11 million passengers have boarded Puffing Billy and the annual figure just keeps on rising despite technology competing for children's attention. It's great to see that this iconic tourist railway delights children big and small from across the globe.
You can choose to board the train at any of the stations along the 25 kilometers of track between Belgrave and Gembrooke, but I highly recommend the trip between Belgrave and Emerald Lake. It's long enough for the kids to get a good ride on the train (approx 1 hour each way with two 15min stops at Menzies Creek) and the park at Emerald is a fantastic spot for a picnic or BBQ. From the Emerald Lake, we chose to walk through the park, along the path and into Emerald (approximately 2km). Although the train does stop at Emerald we enjoy strolling through the countryside with the kids. We then had a picnic at the Emerald train park and bordered the train from Emerald back to Belgrave.
Walk to Emerald
We all had another wonderful family day on Puffing Billy and I hope the kids will cherish the memories when they are older!
Need to know:
Only narrow (umbrella style) prams can be accommodated on the train as they need to fold down and fit underneath the seating.
Toilets are located at each main station.
Easy access toilets are located at Belgrave, Lakeside (Emerald Lake Park) and Gembrooke.
Wheelchairs can be accommodated on most trains, please phone ahead to check availability.
Cost: From Belgrave to Lakeside return, adults are $54, concession $43, child $28 and family (2 adults and up to 4 kids) $108.
Address: 1 Old Monbulk Rd, Belgrave Victoria
Phone: 03 97570700
Website:www.puffingbilly.com.au Operates: Daily except Christmas Day