Melbourne has made our travel list again this year, previous trips have been for the football (AFL, Australian Football) this trip was a mixture of business and a little RnR.
Our adventure began on the flight as our plane approached Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne. We could barely see the city from either a haze, smoke or common smog that plagues Melbourne from time to time.
Whatever it was had tripped the fire alarm in the air traffic control tower and they had to evacuate. We were in a holding pattern for a good 1/2 hour while the crew on the ground checked out the building, to determine if it was a fire or not.
Fortunately, it was a false alarm, however, it did lead me to think what if it were a REAL fire, how would we land!? After my flight into O’Hare International Airport last year, this small incident didn’t bother me in the least.
Travelling light with just a carry-on, we were able to breeze through the airport and into our hire car within 1/2 hour and went on our way to meet friends for lunch at Sky High in the Dandenong Ranges. I’d planned to review the restaurant where we thought we were booked, however, it was closed and we ate at the Cafe instead. I wouldn’t recommend the Cafe at all, suffice to say the meal was one of the worst I have been served for a very long time.
Due to the smog/smoke/haze any pics I took look like a grey smudge and not worth showing you. I did take this one of a totem pole carved from a huge tree trunk in the grounds of Sky High.
The following day we headed for the townships of Sassafras and Olinda to take in a little sightseeing and a stroll around the village’s many shops and attractions. That was the plan, but a wrong turn took us to the township of Belgrave, home to the Puffing Billy Steam Train.
Puffing Billy Steam Train
Only the month prior, when I was looking for things to see and do in Victoria, I came across the Puffing Billy site and the nearby Tree Adventure site and thought both would be a great way to spend a fun day. Funny how things work out 🙂
Puffing Billy is a restored steam train and train track built in the 1800’s and abandoned in 1953 due to a landslide. You can read all about its interesting history here.
I was as enthusiastic as a kid on Christmas Eve to ride the Puffing Billy, as I have fond memories of watching trains as a small child in Manchester, England where I grew up until I was 8 years old until we immigrated to Australia.
Tickets bought and then it was “All Aboard” the train to Lakeside, about an hours journey through some of the most beautiful scenery through the Dandenong Ranges.
The window of time you have at Lakeside is around one and a half hours while the train is shunted and the engine moved to the back of the train to head back to Belgrave. There are a few walking tracks and water bikes to fill in the time, there’s a Cafe, however, offer limited food. If we had been prepared I’d have packed a picnic as there are ample places to pull up a seat while you eat lunch.
If you are there at the right time of year you can help yourself to some delicious Blackberries that are growing wild in the car park just behind the station, we had a tasty afternoon treat!
There are plenty of things to see and do in Victoria, for a lots more ideas go here. What are some of the things to see and do in and around Melbourne you would recommend?
Next stop for us on this short break away Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.