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Ways to Experience Puffing Billy Railway
from USD 137.09
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from USD 227.76
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Reviews (1,824)
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Reviewed 29 August 2016

One thing that is totally beyond their control is when you have a bunch of rude, pushy tourists on the platform ignoring instructions and barging past you. I figured I may as well buy one of their postcards to get a much better picture than anything I could have taken (sans heads for starters). So the start wasn't that great but I was the one who got off at the wrong station because of being confused at seeing the Lakeside sign then the train taking off without me. The guy on the platform was quite rude about it when I mentioned it and I was hardly going to wait at the station for a couple of hours until the next choochoo - which I couldn't do even if I wanted to - so I went back to Belgrade. What I loved about the whole thing, though, was how you could see the enthusiasm these train buffs have for it. The dressing in the uniform of the day is always a good thing to see as it lends more credibility to the whole thing. At the end of the day, at least I got to finally ride on a steam train :-)

Date of experience: August 2016
1  Thank Robbie431
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 29 August 2016

I was staying in Melbourne in June and decided to go on the Puffing Billy Railway to while away a few hours while I was waiting for my Australian friends to finish work!
If you have children or like trains you will love this! We have lots of these little steam railways in England and I have a soft spot for them.

There are several tickets you can get but I got the longest trip I could get on the day which was a return to Lakeside. The train meanders through the beautiful Dandenongs, stops at one station to set down 'tour group passengers' (more of that later!) and then stops at Lakeside for about 45 mins. At Lakeside there is a very small cafe and loos, plus walks and a lake. In June it was actually REALLY cold up there (I'm English and I found it cold!!). If you go in summer take a picnic....if you go in winter take a jumper and a flask of something warm!

The whole trip is just a fun thing to do. Children, and those more agile than me have the added fun of dangling their legs out through the railings on the side of the train....no health and safety here!

The volunteer staff travel on the trains are cheerful and helpful and I enjoyed the lovely company of a very interesting lady volunteer on the way up. They very obviously absolutely love their 'job'.

SOME TIPS.......
. There is absolutely no need to do this as a day trip, it's easy to do yourself. Get a train from Melbourne to Belgrave and follow the blue painted line on the platform and pavement to the Puffing Billy ticket office...it couldn't be easier.
. Be aware that if you do this as a day trip you will only go one station up the line and then be collected again by your coach, you won't get a return trip to Lakeside, and will miss out on the most spectacular scenery at the top. The organised coach trips had all combined the train trip with wildlife/wineries/or chocolate shop etc....and the train bit was very short...just a taster really.
. There are 2 ticket lines at the station. The right hand lane was much shorter and said for tickets booked online only. A few people ignored that and got served with tickets any way thus jumping the queue....so maybe do likewise if the left hand queue is long! Typically British....I waited in the left hand queue!!!
. The station platform was a bit chaotic to put it mildly, although the staff were being very helpful. If you are going all the way to Lakeside you need to be in the front portion of the train because the back portion only goes half way and is then detached! Some people with children/buggies couldn't find room on the train and had to wait for the next one.
. SIT ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE! Most of the beautiful scenery, long drops down etc are on the right side. If you sit on the left side you will be turning your neck round or just staring at mounds of earth or occasional houses!
. Don't be tempted to go wandering round Belgrave in the hope of it being a quaint little town like I did....it's not! Sorry Belgrave! It looked a little sad to me....lots of thrift shops...and takeaway food....nothing to browse....nothing to buy!

All in all.....not cheap....but a lovely trip for children and enthusiasts....especially in warm weather!!

Date of experience: June 2016
10  Thank onhols4ever
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 29 August 2016

Some friends took us up to Belgrave for a ride back in time. What a great way to spend an afternoon. We took the train up the mountain to Emerald. We first spoke with the conductors who are very entertaining and knowledgeable, with facts and stories about the train line. They even told us what was the best side for viewing and when to take some photos. Once on our way you were given a great view climbing up the mountain looking out into the valleys below. It was a nice peaceful ride on this old steam locomotive.

Date of experience: August 2016
1  Thank bkpoud2
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 28 August 2016

You can enjoy the train by sitting on the wall, the experiences are unique. I will skip the other amazing things and believe you can find them on other review.

Here are some suggestion:
1. If possible, give yourself more time on the lake, it looks beautiful.
2. Pack your own lunch, otherwise you might be spending a long time on waiting the cafe.
3. Prepare rain coat, it is very likely to rain once a while.

Date of experience: September 2015
Thank Ding-Yi C
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 28 August 2016

We drove to Emerald and caught the train to Gembrook to have lunch. A 'different' experience to the usual Belgrave - Lakeside trip as there is more 'unspoilt countryside' to see. Gembrook is still a 'little rural town too'.

Date of experience: August 2016
Thank Adpo01
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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