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A Journey of Ales on Rails

Home > Melbourne > Breweries | Craft Beer | Day Trips | Escape the City | Trains | July
by Mon's Adventure (subscribe)
Documenting roadtrip adventures and foodie outings. See more at!
I love finding out about unique things to do in Melbourne, and just when you think you've heard of everything, something new pops up.

This year I experienced something new - "Ales on Rails", a ride on an old steam train with 1920's era carriages complete with beer tasting. I love the idea as it encourages you to explore an area of Victoria's Goldfields that you may have not necessarily decided to explore otherwise.

castlemaine cafe
Cute display at The Local

The journey begins at Castlemaine Railway Station. We arrived early so grabbed a coffee from a cute cafe called "The Local" down the road.

the local castlemaine
Rustic decor in the cafe

When we arrived at the platform to see the old train we were also delighted to see a working golden retriever, complete with a vest.

The working golden retriever

After snapping a few photos of the historic train, we settled onto a carriage reserved for the beer tasting. We were given some tasting notes and some small nibbles to pair with the beers, which started off light.

steam train
The iconic steam train

We sampled the beers below on the way there - the Holgate 'Pale Ale' was a favourite:

goldfields ale on rails
The tasting notes on the way to Maldon

pale lager
Castlemaine Lager

mt macedon holgate
Holgate Mt Macedon Pale Ale

We then hopped off at Maldon for lunch (included in the ticket) at the Kangaroo Hotel. The town is a five-minute walk from the station but as we arrived we saw the roads blocked off and the main street lined with motorcycles and bikies.

maldon bikes
A big bike show

Turns out there just happened to be a big bikie event that day, which made the trip all that much more amusing. As we strolled down the street, we also took a look at the bikes ranging from well-maintained olden day bikes to the newer, shinier versions.

The Kangaroo Hotel, now a pub, has served the Maldon community for over 150 years, so we ate amidst the local crowd. The food is filling and you also get another drink with the meal.

Once we finished, we still had some time to go exploring. Although the town is small, the time allowed us to leisurely stroll through all the shops with numerous tempting antiques and garden accessories.

antique shops
Intriguing antique shops and giftware

For our last stop, we dropped by the Maldon Fudge and Ice Creamery. We got a crème brûlée fudge for the train ride back and scoops of butterscotch and espresso for the walk back to the train station. A decadent end to our exploration of the quaint, rural town.

maldon fudge
The crème brûlée fudge was super sweet but delicious

On the train ride back many of us were "beer'ed out" especially as the selection had progressed to the stronger, darker malts of the region.

They offered alternatives such as wine or cider. We decided to just have sips of the darker beers so we could taste everything but went back to water for the remainder of the ride. Take a look at the 1920's music and a relaxing view of the steam train ride on the video below.

Click here for a video of the train ride

If you're a big beer fan and you like a little adventure, this is a fun and unique experience. Book now for the next dates as there are only 60 spots for each date: 29th July, 12th August (sold out), 7th November.

The experience is also available for private hire/functions. Find out more here.

*Mon's Adventure attended as a guest of Weekendnotes Melbourne.
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Why? To explore the towns of Goldfields via a unique experience
When: 11.30am July 29th, August 12th, November 7th
Where: Castlemaine Railway Station to Maldon
Cost: $110 pp, discounts for groups of 10 or Victorian Goldfields Railway members
Your Comment
Love to spend more time poking around Maldon. We adored the train ride it it left Maldon far too early! If we had not had lunch at Kangaroo Hotel, we would have seen much more. Maybe one day the dear little vintage train will start earlier and return a bit later - THAT is a trip we definitely want to be on! (We don't do Country driving).
by fluffynut (score: 2|867) 467 days ago
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