The full Puffing Billy train experience takes 3-5 hours from Belgrave to Gembrook and return (including stops). The train line (a dedicated line used by Puffing Billy trains) weaves in and out of forested areas of Mountain Ash, Myrtle beech and ferny glades and your road trip will make several road crossings sometimes at ground level and other times on heritage trestle bridges.
It is possible to drive through the same townships that Puffing Billy passes through and stop and wait for the train to go by.
- Puffing Billy Headquarters is Belgrave and this is a great place to start. The township has plenty to offer and easy access and parking for Puffing Billy.
- Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge – view from the car park below.
- Menzies Creek Station – a major train stop at the 30-minute mark, and a terrific place to stop and park to see the train take on passengers.
- Emerald township – another major station and the last original station on the line. Easy access and great facilities for you to drive, park and wave.
- Nobelius – this is a very small train stop with walk-in access from the roadside. The siding and Packing Shed are used for Puffing Billy functions and are excellent vantage points to see the train go by
- Lakeside Station – a major stop for Puffing Billy with lots of activities for families to enjoy including picnic and BBQ facilities. Take a walk or simply take in the surrounds. Plenty of parking. Stop and watch the crew refill the water tanks for the steam power needed to get to Gembrook Station.
- Cockatoo Station – is a delightful old timber town with as the name suggests, an abundance of cockatoos. Park and wander while waiting for the train to pass through.
- Gembrook – a historic township with the station located on the main street in the heart of the action. Park anywhere and see the train arrive and depart as it makes the return journey to Belgrave.
Stops (towns) along the way at: Belgrave, Menzies Creek, Emerald, Gembrook
Distance: approx. 24 km from Belgrave to Gembrook
Time: around a 26-minute drive without stops
Terrain: Sealed roads, easy drive, some bends
Note: May include sightings of steam trains!