Loved by generations of Australians and thousands of tourists, this preserved train illustrates the past lifestyle and history of the area. The Puffing Billy is an iconic train heritage railway within the Dandenong Ranges. This train has been running for the past 100 years, winding through the Dandenong ranges, spotting at various villages along the way. It is a beloved historic attraction, appealing to travellers of all ages.
It was constructed in the early 1900s and was one of the four low-cost lines built within Victoria. Built to promote visitation to outer areas of Victoria in the more leisurely days of Australia. The original line was closed in 1954 and did not reopen until 1962. Since then the train has evolved an enormous amount, to include activities such as live bands and fine dining offered today.
The journey offers the heritage railway experience, capturing the natural beauty of the area, such as the ancient trees and luscious ferns covering the floors. The staff’s costumes and manner, as well as the train’s decoration, illustrates the social history of the area. It is a great ride for any age, ranging from families with young children, to finally senior couples who are interested in a relaxing day out for some lunch and scenery. Start at either Belgrave or Lakeside Stations and ride the train for as long as you prefer, either doing a return journey or getting off at one of the villages along the way. The shortest trip is half an hour, were as the longest is 3-4 hours.
As the puffing billy stops at numerous attractions along the way, a great way to see the area is getting off and exploring the towns it visits. Winding through different locations such as Dandenong forest, Yarra Valley or Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. Stops at Menzies Creek to enjoy one of the most scenic valleys in the area. Get off at Emerald Lake in the summer to enjoy a plunge in the refreshing lake waters, or simply enjoy the picnic areas surrounding it. Or venture to stops such as Cockatoo Station and many more.
There are numerous upgrade experiences offered on the Puffing Billy as well as just the standard journey. Attractions for adults have improved over the years, involving music, food and shows for the audience to enjoy. Both dinners and lunches are offered as an upgrade on the train, such as the steam and cuisine luncheon. Offered in the heritage dining carriages, where you can relax in luxury during your ride through the forest.
For music lovers, puffing billy offers live music nights. Jazz nights are on Friday and Saturday evenings, which include wines from local wineries. An alternative experience for visitors involves Murder mystery dinner. This involves actors and visitors determining the murder mystery that occurred on the train. It is a great opportunity for groups to enjoy the historic feel of the train. Bringing patrons into the storyline and encouraging people to dress up in historic clothing.
Overall the Puffing Billy is more than just transportation, as it offers history, beauty and fun while winding through the Victorian forest land.