I count myself lucky to be born in Australia's coffee capital of Melbourne and love to write about what's on in my home town.
Published May 13th 2012
Thomas fans need not travel all the way to Emerald to get up close to a real steam train.
Nestled in leafy parklands, just off the Elgar Road exit of the Eastern freeway on the corner Belmore Road, the Box Hill Miniature Steam Railway is a hidden gem for families with toddlers.
Operating on the third Sunday of each month from 11am to 4pm (weather permitting), this charming historic railway is lovingly maintained by the enthusiastic Box Hill Miniature Steam Railway Society, with the generous support of the Rotary Club of Balwyn.
Climb aboard at the station and hold on tight as the formally dressed station master waves his flag and the train driver sounds his whistle, then you're off! The dual guage steam engine clickety-clacks along an impressive and robust track that wends its way through the scenic native bushland surrounding Elgar Park.
Each journey includes two laps of the track, which contains enough bends, bridges, tunnels and whistle blowing to delight any toddler, and lasts approximately 5 minutes.
The fee for each ride is a very reasonable $3.00.
Once you are finished your ride (or rides), there are plenty of options for extended entertainment, including a lovely playground, complete with wooden train, swings and slide, and the nearby the Bushy Creek/Koonung Creek bike and walking track. Meandering past the Elgar sporting ground before settling in alongside the Eastern freeway, and eventually meeting up with the Yarra Trail, the track is paved with bitumen, however unsteady riders, be warned: there are a few gravel sections.