A Steamy Weekend in the Dandenongs
Photograph (c) 1996 Ali Kayn
|Your intrepid reporter has braved many inconveniences to bring you, gentle reader, the best and prettiest that Melbourne and Victoria have to offer.|
Typical Aussie backyard, honest!
|And so it was, on an inclement Sunday morning, Ali and fellow reporter Richard H---z, grabbed a couple of willing testers and headed, once again, for the Dandenongs.|
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|Now if you have been paying attention, you will know that the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road is a favourite haunt of mine. It is pretty, filled with great feeding places, craft places, and good views.
Pauline and Catriona went with me to visit Pirianda, and they make a great test team. Catriona is 18 months old, and if we can take her and all the necessary accoutrement a baby requires on a trip, it's pretty accessible to families.
|Puffing Billy runs on its own track which meets the Belgrave railway station.||
|To get there by public transport, one just takes a train, walks off the platform, along a path, and there you are -- ready to run the gauntlet of souvenirs and board the train.
If you drive, there's plenty of parking -- but be warned: the path down to the Puffing Billy station is steep and winding, and according to Pauline, it's worth taking the stroller just for that part of the trip.
The train, and all its history has its own site, so shunt off thataway if you want more information on the train, track, related historical societies and the like.
|Of course, the railway is a photographer's delight, whether its the view, the train, or the family.|
|For us, the train was a welcome, if chilly trip through some of Melbourne's backyards. All right, I promised not to imply that these are typical backyards. There are some great views along the way, and the train carriages on our run were open -- great for photographers, but a bit cold.
Catriona loved the rhythm of the train, she learnt what a choo choo is, and if you think a ride in the car is great for putting kids to sleep, you should try a slow-moving train.
At the end of the track there is a water slide, obviously closed in the winter weather. I recommend you give the food at the final stop a big, big, major miss. The Dandenongs are the Devonshire Tea centre of Melbourne, so taking an old-time train ride to be greeted by typical kiosk food was a let-down. I think last time I did the trip we got off at a previous stop where the teas were fine.
We had a car, so we headed off to Olinda for a belated lunch.
Puffing Billy is a fun, family day. The staff are pleasant and get into the spirit of the event. The scenery is great. Definitely worth getting up early on a Sunday.
A special thanks to the Puffing Billy people.
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|Photographs taken by Ali Kayn using AGFA film, scanned using a Logitech PageScan Color scanner.|
Click here for the Puffing Billy Wallpaper
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