Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
Altona miniature railway has been on our radar for some time now as our little boys favourite thing to do is to ride on railways big and small. Admittedly it's taken us over a year to get here, partly due to it being 1hr 20 min drive from home but also because it's only open to the public on the 3rd Sunday of the month between 12 and 4pm so unlike my usual style consisting of spur of the moment decisions it needs to be planned ahead.
The miniature railway is adjacent to the Weeribee train line between Newport and Altona so our son was very excited when he saw the 'big train' whilst he was on the miniature train but unfortunately for people wishing to take public transport (train) you will also need to catch the 432 bus from Newport.
On arrival it was easy to see we were on the right street as there were plenty of cars parked on the nature strip, yet still enough room to park 100 metres or so away from the entry gate. Birthday parties were plentiful with each of the picnic tables covered with tablecloths, bunting, cakes and so on.
An old carriage near the entry gate has been converted into the ticket box where tickets are sold at $2.50 per ride (under 12 months are free) an 11 pass ticket is available for $25. With tickets in hand we joined the queue. With several trains running we were on the train within 10 minutes.
The railway is a dual gauge 5 inch and 7 1/4 inch track to suit all miniature trains and runs for 1.2km in a clockwise direction. The main feature is the tunnel created by using several shipping containers joined together. The journey through is quite noisy which could potentially be an issue for noise sensitive children. As for the scenery I would best describe it as an open grassland with a few nice stone walls and mature gum trees.
As with most historic/miniature railways they are run entirely by volunteer train enthusiasts that maintain and build the tracks, service the engines, complete ongoing garden maintenance, help new members gain skills and most importantly they open the gates on the 3rd Sunday to let us in, sell us tickets and take us for a ride along the miniature railway line.
Overall I would say the Altona miniature railway is fun for young children and the young at heart but would I drive the 1hr 20min again just to visit the railway? I'm sorry to say I wouldn't as we have so much choice available nearer to us. With the likes of the Campbelltown miniature railway, Diamond Valley miniature railway and the Como gardens miniature railway it's difficult to go past these three, however, if you're in the area, passing by, or live near by then a visit to the Altona railway is well worth the visit. The kids will enjoy it and at a reasonable $2.50 per ride it's great value.