If you are into steam trains, this post is for you!
Last month, my friends and I went to Belgrave to take the Puffing Billy. It was my third time there (once in 2006 and once last year), but I still feel eager to go again whenever I think about it.
We drove there this time, and it only took around half an hour from our place.
We had breakfast at The Left Handed Chef, I had The Big Grand Slam, and I was really surprised by how nice the poached eggs and cheese were.
We then drove to Belgrave, it’s a nice suburb with some interesting little shops. Too bad we were in a rush to catch the train and couldn’t stop by.
The ticket booth is just down a hill with trees lining the trail, we had to rush because we took too long to find a parking space, but I still enjoyed the little jog down the hill.
We got student tickets for A$43, which gave us access to pretty much every carriage, seat-hunting was something of a free-for-all.
I was surprised to be encouraged to sit on the side with my arms and legs dangling out of the train instead of sitting in the seats the first time I went, and it was cute to see everyone do the same thing.
The view from the train was lovely, but I caught a few specks of coal in my eyes. I was thinking that my friends would’ve been fine, since they wore glasses, but they were screaming when it happened as well.
We got tickets to Lakeside, the train actually goes further but our plan was to have lunch by the lake. The train stopped halfway for us to go take pictures of the steam engine, and it was quite a treat to see it up close.
We found an exhibition of some model trains just outside of lakeside station, they had a huge display of an island with several model trains going around it on tracks and through mini tunnels and over bridges. We got student tickets for A$5 dollars, and it was five dollars well spent!
Lakeside was beautiful, we seemed to have gone there at the perfect time, when the maple leaves were red and the weather was nice and breezy.
We found a bench beside the lake and had some snacks, there were some ducks (I could be wrong but they looked like ducks) nearby and we fed them some bread.
“We call them water-chickens back home,” a friend said. I referred to them as such for the rest of the trip and whenever I showed photos of them to people.
We went across the bridge and found ourselves surrounded by trees. We could look across the lake and see the different colors of the leaves of various trees. It was a mixture of red, yellow, and many shades of green.
Eventually, we sat at a well-shaded table and unpacked our lunch. We had juice and some sandwiches, and some geese-like birds joined us. They walked around and squawked until we fed them. We ended up giving more of our sandwiches than actually eating them.
We got to the other side of the lake and the view was stunning, I took a panorama and was pleased by the result.
We were having fun feeding the water chickens on this side of the lake as well, but we had to leave to catch the final train back. We had to run (yes, again).
The trip back was as enjoyable as the trip to Lakeside, but it was a lot colder since we were getting less sunlight. My knuckles were getting a bit frozen, and it was hard for me to type on my phone. I’d recommend bringing a warm jacket for the trip, regardless of the weather. I found it rather chilly in the mountains with wind blowing constantly.
It was a very nice experience overall, it was lively and fun on the train, yet tranquil and relaxing near the lake. We were one of only two groups to walk down there that day (the water chickens should really thank us for visiting), and it felt as if we had the whole place to ourselves that afternoon.
It was a nice mix of old-fashioned fun and the joy of being close to nature, and I would recommend giving it a try to fans of either one!