Victorian Goldfields Railways {Things to do near Ballarat}

June 15, 2015 · 16 comments

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writes leaning out the windowVictorian Goldfields Railways is a beautiful stretch of old-fashioned and steam-powered ‘rail adventure’ between Maldon and Castlemaine in Central Victoria.  At just over an hour away from Ballarat it doesn’t make it onto our Ballarat Bucket List (100 things for families to do in Ballarat) but it is a seriously good family day out and well worth the extra half hour drive.

The impressively restored steam trains travel between Maldon and Castlemaine, taking about 45 minutes to complete their journey.  You can buy a one way or return ticket.  If you choose the return journey, and get your timing right, you can spend a few hours exploring the opposite township.    Or you can simply wait for twenty minutes at the station while the steam engine refuels and turns around before climbing on board again and heading straight back.  (If you’re patient and willing to wait, the drivers might even let the kids climb up in the engine and see how it works before they head back.)   Check out the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s website for more information about running times and prices. 

The trains are beautifully restored and give you a first class idea of what steam travel would have been like back in the early 1900s.  There are first class and  economy tickets. As you will see in the photos below the first class carriages are seriously beautiful – but for my money economy is the way to go.  In economy you get a cabin that seats about eight and  the kids (read parents) can open the windows and feel the wind on their faces, hear the rhythmic sound of the wheels on track and see the train pushing on through the bush-land.  It’s really just a bit magical. 

The Victorian Goldfields Railway is volunteer run and you will find helpful and friendly volunteers on hand to collect tickets and share information about the trains.    Be warned though, these guys seriously like talking about their trains, once you get them started there is no stopping them.  We actually really enjoyed their knowledge and conversation so I would actually chalk that up as a good thing.    

The pictures below will give you a great idea of how our little adventure unfolded. 

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writers Muckleford (15)

Victorian Goldfields Railway Caz Filmer Writes

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writers Carriage)

 

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writes sign for ladies)

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writer Ladies carriage

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writers Muckleford (8)

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writers Muckleford (9)

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writers Muckleford (7)

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writes First class carriage

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writes steam train wheels

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writers Muckleford (17)

Victorian Gold Fields Railway Caz Filmer Writes cabbose

It really is a beautiful day out and just as much fun as it looks.   Well worth the drive to get there.  Both Maldon and Castlemaine are also lovely, historic and well-appointed towns to explore with kids.   There are loads of cafes, crafts stall, antique shops  and gardens in both.   If you get your timing right they both also run numerous markets and festivals.  A small shout of for the Fish-n-Chips at Maldon Fresh Takeaway and the fudge at The Maldon Lolly Shop  (both on Main street.)  Our lunch was close to perfection. 

Remember to check out the Victorian Goldfields Railway website for prices and train running times.  

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1 Karin June 24, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Wow! That looks like such a great train ride. The train itself is beautiful.
Thanks for linking up in The Ultimate Rabbit Hole.
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2 Lisa Wood June 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Oh I love old trains and riding them! Looks like so much fun, especially for young ones 🙂
Hanging out the window is so cool – our boys have done that on a Train down south, and got into trouble for it {that was so funny listening to the conductor go off at us parents for not being safe!! – we were there holding onto our boys!!}
Will have to add this one to our #bucketlist 🙂
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3 Caz Filmer June 22, 2015 at 1:51 pm

It’s seriously worth it Lisa. And no telling off either!! But on that note missmiddle did actually get something in her eye. Ended up having to take her to the ER the next day because we couldn’t find it or get it out. They had it out in a jiff and all was fine. Apart from that leaning out of the windows awesome – and great for photos too!!
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4 Shannon June 20, 2015 at 11:10 pm

These photos are stunning Caz! What a great idea for a family day out. We’re a little far (syd) but I’d love to do this one day if we ever pass by this neck of the woods. My little Mr would be so into it! Thanks for sharing and for linking up to The Ultimate Rabbit Hole! Xx
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5 Caz Filmer June 21, 2015 at 9:29 am

Thanks Shannon. I have only just found the Rabbit Hole. But will be coming back. Lovely Linky 🙂
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6 Ellen June 20, 2015 at 8:32 pm

Hey Caz,

We did one of the steam trains last year. I think it was to Maldon. I loved it. I love a train. My dad is working his way around the great train journeys of the world so maybe it’s in the blood. The kids have been slightly less enthused but I’m going to keep working on them. You’ve inspired me!
Such a great story about one of the many fab things to do in our local area 🙂 E x
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7 Caz Filmer June 21, 2015 at 9:31 am

I would have thought your little guys would love trains! Even my big girl (11) loved it. She didn’t think she would – so it surprised even her. It was such a great day – we will absolutely be doing it again.
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8 Carly W June 17, 2015 at 4:54 am

wow that does look like a truly gorgeous adventure!
I’m putting that on my list!
Gorgeous photos.

Thank you so much for sharing.

9 Caz Filmer June 17, 2015 at 6:48 am

Thanks Carly. I am sure you little lady would love it. My youngest (7) thought it was THE BEST DAY EVER. If you watch/use scoupons they have really good deals for it too. We paid $29 all up 🙂
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10 Mandy Morrison June 16, 2015 at 11:01 am

Such great photos. I can imagine how much fun you all had. Might be worth a trip up country coz I am sure my boys would love this sick.

11 Caz June 16, 2015 at 11:15 am

Do it Mandy – you won’t regret it. 🙂
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12 Jac June 15, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Looks and sounds like you had an awesome time!
We took the kids a few years ago now, when Levi was little and obsessed with Thomas. He adored it but the bigger kids were totally wrapt because they thought they were on Harry Potter’s train to Hogwarts!! Ahhhh we had so much fun that day. I think it’s time to do it again!
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13 Caz June 15, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Mine all loved it too. Ms 11 was hesitant but ended up loving it as much as ms 7.

14 Sharon June 15, 2015 at 2:34 pm

I’m so glad you’re writing about these things, Caz. I’m planning on working through most of them so I can get to know my adopted home.

15 Caz June 15, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Thanks Sharon 🙂 There is so much to see and do. I love your attitude to getting to know your new home. Hash take your photos #ballaratforfamilies so we can all share in your adventures 🙂
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