There are so many things in the Dandenong Ranges that make it unique and special.  One of those things is Puffing Billy which is a steam railway that runs daily between Belgrave and Gembrook.  We went on Puffing Billy from Belgrave to Emerald Lake (Lakeside) last month for Lil’ E’s 3rd birthday.  Lil’ E & his 20-month-old cousin had the most amazing time, as did the adults who came along to share the experience.

Puffing Billy is only possible due to the generous nature of their 900+ volunteers.  According to our carriage’s porter, the servicing of each of their four engines costs in excess of six figures each year.  With that in mind, the ticket prices seemed extremely reasonable and we all felt very fortunate to be able to ride on such a historic gem.

From Belgrave, we traveled through the Sherbrooke Forest, over the incredible Trestle Bridge which leads Puffing Billy over Monbulk Creek, and past the location of the 1953 landslide (between Selby & Menzies Creek) which resulted in the closure of the Railway from 1953-1955.  We saw the train crossing at Menzies Creek and finished off at Lakeside where we had a fabulous picnic lunch at picturesque Emerald Lake.

Although you can do a return journey on Puffing Billy, we opted for a one-way ticket.  Most of us traveled on the train, but some of the men drove cars to take photos on the way and to ensure that we would have ample refreshments when we reached our destination – not to mention a mode of transport to get back home again!

Puffing Billy is an absolute treasure and definitely worth taking children and tourists alike on.  So a big thank you to all the wonderful Puffing Billy volunteers who made Lil’ E’s birthday so memorable!  He had one of the happiest days of his life…

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