The journey aboard Puffing Billy takes you through the magnificent Dandenong Ranges, located only one hour east of Melbourne.
The historic train chugs 25 kilometres from Belgrave to Emerald Lake and on to Gembrook.
With lush fern gullies brushing past and Mountain Ash trees towering overhead, Puffing Billy makes for a wonderful opportunity to relax and breathe in the fresh air whilst the train makes its way through the temperate rainforest.
Step back in time as you enjoy this authentic experience. Parents and grandparents can relive their own childhood memories whilst introducing the next generation to this unforgettable part of Victorian history.
Don’t forget to capture some amazing photos whilst the train travels over the historic Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge!
Passengers can enjoy a visit to Emerald Lake Park either before or after their Puffing Billy journey. This park offers BBQ facilities and picnic tables, playground facilities, a wading pool and paddle boats for hire, and is the perfect spot for visitors with kids!
Visit the Official Puffing Billy website for more information and to view their Timetable.
Less than an hour from the city, the Dandenong Ranges is a haven of hidden delights with scenic winding roads to quaint hilltop villages. There is an abundance of artist studios, craft stores and renowned gardens to explore as well as walking and cycling trails through mountain ash forests and clean, refreshing air.
The charming village of Olinda – the highest in the Dandenong Ranges – has a busy shopping strip of fascinating stores to explore. The perfect village for a wander, a coffee or find a lovely spot to enjoy some lunch.
RJ Hamer Arborteum
One of the more notable and unique gardens within the Dandenongs is the R.J. Hamer Arboretem in Olinda. With views that stretch across to Silvan Dam and the Yarra Valley, the R.J. Hamer Arboretum provides visitors with 120 hectares of breathtaking scenery and tranquil beauty.
The garden grounds themselves include over 150 species of native and exotic trees, and unlike most typical arboretums, includes rows upon rows of varying species, representing mini-forests that stretch over the rolling hills. The overall effect creates the stunning ‘patchwork’ view that is synomous with the arbortetum itself.
The Arboretum is a perfect spot for a BBQ or picnic with the family whilst enjoying the stunning backdrop.
The Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden
The Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden in Olinda (formerly the National Rhododendron Garden) is host to brilliantly coloured blooms of over 15,000 rhododendrons, 12,000 azaleas, 3,000 camellias, 250,000 daffodils and countless cherries across the 103 acres of gardens.
The gardens are known to house some of the rarest and most popular Australian flora and fauna. You will come across a number of garden and fern gullies at this park, apart from its variety of seasonal blooms. Seasonal changes ensure the gardens are a delight all year around.
The garden is open 10.00am to 5.00pm daily (last entry 4.30pm). Entrance to the garden is free.
Sassafras is not only a great name to say over and over (and over) again, come and discover the village’s nineteenth century charm, stroll through lush English gardens, and savour an afternoon Devonshire tea.
Browse the antique, art, craft and specialty shops which sell hand-picked and hand-crafted quality items, from wooden toys to potted flowers and fragrant candles.
Tea-drinkers will be in their element in the village of Sassafras, with its popular tea rooms serving traditional Devonshire teas, as well as specialist tea shops that stock hundreds of varieties and flavours of tea.
Visit the Official Dandenong Ranges website for more ideas.