One day trip to Puffing Billy

One Day Trip to Puffing Billy from Melbourne (2024)

During my first days in Melbourne, I ventured beyond city limits to explore the surrounding areas. Exploring different parts of Victoria became a passion of mine, and it led me to discover the enchanting Puffing Billy steamtrain. A day trip to Puffing Billy from Melbourne is a fantastic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s like stepping back to an era when steam-powered locomotives ruled the railways.

Melbourne is surrounded by many stunning destinations like Yarra Valley, Philip Island, Mount Bishop and Mount Buller. From majestic mountains to charming coastal towns, the city boasts an array of fantastic weekend getaways.

PIN for later reference – One Day Trip to Puffing Billy from Melbourne

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PIN for later reference – One Day Trip to Puffing Billy from Melbourne

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About Puffing Billy

One of the best steam engines in the world is the Puffing Billy steam train. The Puffing Billy steam train is a narrow gauge heritage railway in the Dandenong ranges of Victoria state in Australia.

Running from Belgrave to Gembrook stations on the foothills of the Dandenong ranges, this train is a trendy touristy thing to do in Melbourne.

Puffing Billy Steam Engine Train

Belgrave is a town in the Dandenong ranges and part of the Wurundjeri First Nations people. The city is named after the chapel in Leeds, England. Dandenong ranges is home to many beautiful walks and hikes, such as the 1000 steps in the Kokoda Track Memorial.

In front of Puffing Billy
Just before the train was about to leave

The train runs every day except Christmas Day for up to six daily services. The train runs between Belgrave and Gembrook. However, the train does have stops at Emerald or Lakeside train stations. The tickets cost AUD 53 per adult for a journey from Belgrave to Gembrook, and the tickets can be purchased online or at the office at Belgrave. Note that the ticket cost is cheaper if the journey is short.

The best time to visit the Puffing Billy is on weekdays as it is very crowded over the weekends. When I visited Puffing Billy, we were allowed to sit by the carriage windows with our feet dangling outside. However, this is wholly banned now.

Inside the Puffing Billy Train

Every year, a Puffing Billy Running Festival is hosted on a Sunday in May. The Great Train Race, part of the festival, is a trail where runners run against the Puffing Billy steam train. The trail starts at Belgrave and has levels of 2 kilometres to 25 kilometres. It is an annual fundraiser for the Puffing Billy Preservation Society.

How to Get to Puffing Billy?

By Road

Belgrave is around 45 kilometres from Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) and takes only 45 minutes by road. The route is via M1 and has toll roads.

By Public Transport

Belgrave station (starting point) is one of the places in Victoria that is easily accessible by public transport. There are frequent trains between Southern Cross Station in Melbourne and Belgarve station. The train journey is around one hour and 10 minutes, and the cost for one way is around AUD 4.50 per adult. Refer to the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website for up-to-date information on train timings and fares.

One Day Trip to Puffing Billy from Melbourne

Even though a Puffing Billy trip can quickly be done with a registered tour provider, many tour agencies still run one-day tours to Puffing Billy from Melbourne. These tours are usually combined with some of the trails in Dandenong Ranges. I visited Puffing Billy on a bus tour from Melbourne. The tour provider was Tours to Go, and the cost of the one-day tour was around AUD 79 per adult.

The tour includes the pickup and drop-off at Federation Square in Melbourne and the ticket price for the train ride. Besides visiting the Puffing Billy steam train, the tour also stopped at places like Sherbrooke Forest and Sassafras.

Another exciting place that you can visit from Melbourne is the Sovereign Hill.

Other Places to See on Puffing Billy Day Trip

Menzies Creek Museum

The Menzies Creek Museum, opened in 2020, exhibits a collection of railway items, including rare operational steam and diesel locomotives. Entry into the museum is free for train ticket holders, and the museum is located at Menzies Creek station.

Sherbrooke Forest

The Sherbrooke forest is a rainforest containing a large population of Eucalyptus. The tallest tree recorded in the forest is around 92 metres. It is also famous for spotting the lyrebirds as the forest has a large number of them nesting. I did not see a lyrebird in the Sherbrooke forest, but I saw many cockatoos (one of Australia’s native birds).


Sassafras is part of Greater Melbourne, a township around 43 kilometres from Melbourne CBD.

The town is famous for buying souvenirs, antiques and crafts. It also retains its 19th-century charm. According to the 2016 Census, only a little over 1000 people are in the town.

Be sure to pick up a colourful souvenir in town.

Is Puffing Billy Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Australia is generally very safe for solo female travellers, and so is Victoria. I travelled alone to many places, including Belgrave, and had no issues whatsoever. However, like any other place, be cautious and know your surroundings, especially at night.

Are you new to solo travel or want to solo travel but have a lot of questions? Read frequently asked questions for solo travelling.

Closing Notes

Puffing Billy steam train is a fun thing to do when visiting Melbourne. It is one of a kind, and the vibes for the train journey are amazing. I highly recommend taking this journey and visiting the Sherbrooke forest and Sassafras.

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One Day Trip to Puffing Billy from Melbourne (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – One Day Trip to Puffing Billy from Melbourne

    PIN for later reference - One day trip to Puffing Billy
    PIN for later reference – One Day Trip to Puffing Billy from Melbourne