Is an Australian Century old Steam Train ride through the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges
EXPLORE REGIONAL VICTORIA
“All aboard for a ride on Australia’s oldest steam railway”.
Puffing Billy is Australia’s favourite century-old steam train, that continues to run on it’s original mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook, taking in the majestic scenery of the Dandenong Ranges, whilst travelling along one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world.
The Puffing Billy Railway was created to allow more people to access the remote areas of Victoria. Built to serve at the turn of the century it is a genuine relic and the major survivor of four experimental lines used to develop rural areas in the early 1900s. People from Melbourne began taking the train for weekend getaways in the hills in the early 1900s due to the sheer beauty of the area. In the 1950s, the track was closed temporarily due to a landslide. The track reopened for present-day use from 1962 in stages and has now become an offbeat experience for tourists visiting Melbourne.
Now it is a major tourist attraction. It’s operation depends on hundreds of dedicated volunteers, who accommodate every day travel for the general public with the exception of Christmas Day.
Some of the Highlights along the Railway line include the historic Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge, the site of the 1953 Landslide and the Nobelius Packing Shed.
The open-sided carriages are the best way to see the stunning views. You can catch the train at any of the stations’ along the way, or simply watch the train go by from one of the stations’ refreshment rooms.
Puffing Billy offers various packages for all the family. Travel in the heritage enclosed dining carriages aboard the “Steam and Cuisine” Luncheon train, providing a three course lunch or simply graze over a “Natter Platter”.
Alternatively, you can choose from the following and heres what to expect along the way:-
This station is the headquarters of the Railway, with both operating and administrative facilities. Nearly all of the Puffing Billy trains commence their journeys here.
Here you can stop off for refreshments and souvenirs, food and beverages. The Locomotive Running Shed & Workshop is where storage, maintenance and restorations take place on the Puffing Billy family of locomotives. The Belgrave township is only a short walk away and has an abundance of shopping and dining options.
Offering a unique outdoor experience full of adventure, enjoy the privacy and comfort of your own exclusive carriage with family or friends.
Whether it’s reconnecting with loved ones on a multigenerational trip, catching up with friends, a surprise marriage proposal, birthday party or engagement celebrations, the exclusive carriage hire offers you and up to nine guests the opportunity to sit back and relax in their generously spaced open-side carriages.
With steam billowing out of the locomotive’s chimney and the evocative sound of the train’s whistle, this premium railway experience is the ultimate way to enjoy the proximity of your family or like-minded friends in private while making memories that last.
- LOCOMOTIVE DEPOT
On departure from Belgrave station, the locomotive running shed and workshops may be seen to the left of the train. Extensive servicing and repair facilities provide for continuous maintenance and restoration.
- SHERBROOKE FOREST
Sherbrooke Forest has many magnificent examples of the native ‘Mountain Ash’ trees, a form of eucalypt and the tallest flowering plant in the world.
- TRESTLE BRIDGE
This famous timber bridge of 15 spans, now classified by the National Trust of Victoria, carries the Railway over Monbulk Creek and the main Gembrook Road. It is 91.4m (300 feet) long, 12.8m (42 feet) high. The car park below is a popular place for viewing and photographing the train.
Opened in 1904, the station on the left served the nearby village, named after a local landowner.
In 1953, a landslide closed the Railway. A remnant of the old track may be seen to the left of the train. Before the line was closed, a water tank for the locomotives was located here. You will get an extensive view to Port Phillip Bay from here, seen on the right of the train as it approaches Menzies Creek.
7. MENZIES CREEK
Menzies Creek was named after an early miner who worked in the area. Menzies Creek is the first stop after Belgrave and a popular destination for many tour groups. Trains in opposite directions often ‘cross’ at this point. As Puffing Billy is a single rail line, it is only at stations such as Menzies Creek, where you can view trains pass by.
Puffing Billy Railway will bring even more rail history to life with the doors to its highly anticipated Menzies Creek Museum now open.
8. STEAM MUSEUM
Adjacent to Menzies Creek station, the Steam Museum contains a unique collection of locomotives, rolling stock, steam machinery and other rare items from the ‘steam era’ of bygone years.
The new historic Museum covers a space of 1160 square metres and houses over 80 exhibits, including rare operational steam and diesel locomotives, carriages and a rail tractor. Adding to the atmosphere, the Museum also features an operational boiler house that services steam engines, fluid pumps and 500 brake horsepower generators.
On a clear day, extensive views to Port Phillip Bay, Arthurs Seat and Westernport may be seen to the right of the train. Also on the right and below is the Cardinia Reservoir, which provides water to the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
After crossing the Main Road, the train enters Paradise Valley, with pleasant farmland views. Kiwi fruit are grown on the vine plantation here to the left of the train near Clematis station.
Originally named ‘Paradise’, this is a typical country wayside station. Above the station, on the right hand side, is the Paradise Hotel, a popular venue for dining and watching the trains pass by.
10. STEEP GRADE
This is one of the steepest grades on the line, rising one metre every 30 metres (one foot in 30 feet) for approximately 1.6 km (1 mile) to Emerald.
11. EMERALD (Township)
This is the highest station on the line. This is also the venue for the popular ‘Day Out With Thomas’ events.
Puffing Billy is pleased to welcome Thomas the Tank Engine to their Gembrook Station. Children and adults can enjoy a train ride with Thomas and Diesel from Gembrook Station and have the chance to meet the Fat Controller. There are many other child-friendly activities the whole family will love, including a silent disco, jumping castles, family photos with Thomas and Friends and an animal nursery.
The station building is the only original station building that remains intact along the line. Emerald offers shops, cafes and bakeries. On the third Sunday of every month, a trip aboard the train to Emerald can be combined with a visit to the Emerald Market.
Pleasant views over rolling farmland may be seen after leaving Emerald township.
12. NOBELIUS SIDING
The siding and Packing Shed on the left of the train formerly served the once-extensive Nobelius & Co. nursery. From here, seedlings and plants were dispatched by rail to all parts of Australia and the world. ‘The Packing Shed’ has been restored as a popular venue for ‘wine & dine’ functions such as weddings and the evening ‘Dinner & Dance Trains’.
Named after the former Nobelius estates, this small wayside station on the right of the train is almost half way between Belgrave and Gembrook.
13. LAKESIDE (Emerald Lake)
Lakeside located within Emerald Lake Park is one of the best locations for families to relax. Lakeside is the half-way point along the line to Gembrook. BBQ facilities and picnic tables make this an ideal place to relax alongside the lake. Passengers can pack a picnic or purchase lunch from the café. Playground facilities, a wading pool (summer only) and paddle boats (for hire) are available to keep the kids entertained. There is also a kiosk, for those wanting to purchase souvenirs.
Lakeside was the terminus of the line before reopening to Gembrook in 1998. Trains usually pause here for the crew to fill the locomotive water tanks. Toilets are provided at the station.
On the left of the train, this was formerly the station for the town of Avonsleigh.
15. TIMBER BRIDGES
Between Wright and Cockatoo, the Railway crosses three timber bridges. The first, shortly after passing Wright, over a small creek.
The second bridge is much larger, with 10 spans, carrying the line over a deep gully.
And further down the valley, the third bridge has 10 straight spans, over Cockatoo Creek. Cockatoo Creek is the lowest point on the line between Belgrave and Gembrook and marks the start of a steep (1 in 30) uphill climb for 5.2km (3.25 miles) to the highest point on the line near Gembrook.
16. WRIGHT FOREST
Between Wright and Cockatoo Creek, the Railway skirts the northern boundary of the un-spoilt Wright State Forest, with large stands of Stringy Bark and other eucalypt trees.
Originally named Cockatoo Creek, the station was an important loading point for timber from sawmills in the area.
Named after local land-owners, this is another typical wayside station on the left of the train.
As the train climbs towards Gembrook, the lineside bush gives way to extensive views of rolling cultivated farmlands, where potatoes are still grown, and distant mountain ranges.
19. TIMBER BRIDGE
The single-span bridge carries the Railway over an old farm access track, now disused. Shortly after the bridge, the train climbs one of the longest straight sections of the line.
Gembrook Station is located at the end of the Puffing Billy line. Stroll along one of the signposted walks in town, as well as the Avenue of Honour that commemorates local soldiers’ sacrifice during the Second World War. Several dining options are available within the township. Picnic facilities are provided at the station and in the adjacent park. Trains usually stop over for an hour or more for visitors to explore the historic town before the return trip.Our refreshment room can be visited for souvenirs, food and beverages. On the fourth Sunday of every month, a trip to Gembrook aboard the train can be easily combined with a visit to the Gembrook Market.
Gembrook was once a busy centre for the dispatch of timber and farm produce from the district.
WHAT THE CUSTOMERS SAY…
“A trip on Puffing Billy is possibly the closest thing to time-travel you can experience. It would be worth it just to experience a unique ride on a functional antique but the sights and sounds are exhilarating too! What makes this a really feel-good experience though is the way that everyone seems to love this classic little train – expect friendly waves and good vibes from almost everyone you see along the track – from residents who see it everyday to kids on bikes and motorists waiting at the crossings… Something about Puffing Billy just makes folks want to smile and wave!”
Melway Map Reference: 75 F10. The Puffing Billy is located 40 kilometres East of Melbourne. It is accessible via public transport. Go to the end of the Belgrave line, the Puffing Billy Steam Railway start is opposite Belgrave Station.
Address: 1 Old Monbulk Rd, Belgrave, Victoria 3160
Phone: 03 9757 0700 |
- Picnic Area
- Public Toilet
- Restaurant – Licensed
- Sheltered Area
- Train Ride
For daily timetable, please visit the website.
Daily 9:00am -5:00pm Closed Christmas Day
- Australian Tourism Export Council
- Inbound Tour Operators Association
- Tourism Alliance Victoria
Contact operator for further details.