Since Barbara and I had visited this beautiful southern city on a previous cruise, we decided to book this excursion to the countryside. Click on the above link for more information than I can imagine here.
We could not have a had a nicer day in which to visit the Melbourne countryside. The sun followed us throughout the day as we motored east to the Dandemong Ranges (Mountains/Hills) for our half an hour ride on the Puffing Billy.
Upon arriving at Belgrave Station our group boarded the tail end of a seventeen open sided carriage tourist train. The railway was built in 1900 to serve the local communities that lived in the hills, carrying anything from passengers to timber, livestock, potatoes and plants.
Puffing Billy passes the southern reaches of the beautiful Sherbrooke Forest, a superb example of rainforest noted for its native ‘Mountain Ash’ trees, a form of eucalypt and the tallest flowering plant in the world. This forest is now a protected preserve, as early logging for the hard and straight grained wood was coveted for buildings and waterfront pilings.
The following picture is of Puffing Billy as it passes by some of these mature specimens :
We were fortunate to have an excellent and knowledgeable guide , Christine, as she shared so much history of Melbourne and the development of this thriving countryside. And our very capable driver; Henry safely navigated the highways and byways to this gem of a treasure.
Before returning to the Maasdam we stopped for a 45 minutes break at the ‘Grants on Sherbrooke’ for Devonshire Tea, Scones, whipped butter, and strawberry jam. Yum, Yum, good.
Before boarding our coach we were entertained by tourists feeding the cockatoos in a controlled enclosure.
We would definitely recommend this excursion either by private car or motor coach.
In closing I will end with two observations;
For an English speaking country with a diverse population of peoples and cultures from all over the world and speaking their native tongues, Australia has chosen to avoid bowing to pressure to become a multi-lingual country. All documents and signs are in English with the unwritten message that “you are welcome to immigrate under our rules and you will learn and speak the English language.” How refreshing!!
And, as I continue my exploration of the Maasdam, I am liking more and more of what I find. – for a 25 year old ship she is in fine shape
Next: A day at sea followed by Christmas in Tasmania.
Jack and Barbara Cummings
Retired US Navy, Retired Network Technician
View all posts by Jack and Barbara Cummings
2 thoughts on “Melbourne – Riding the Puffing Billy”
That looks like a fun trip.
Boy, that’s pretty cool! Landscape looks awesome!