If you're looking for a family activity to do this weekend, look no further than the delightful festival known as The Hurstbridge Wattle Festival. It is a cultural event celebrating heritage, environment and community with a strong focus on early rail history.
Hurstbridge is an historic rural township, located approximately 26km north-east from Melbourne's CBD district. It is a forty minute drive from the city and is the last stop on the Hurstbridge train line. It is known for its orchards and nurseries and is home to a diverse mix of people, from farmers through to artists.
On any given day it is a lovely part of the world as there are wineries and walking tracks to explore and local stores, cafes and markets to enjoy. However, The Hurstbridge Wattle Festival really sees the township come alive as the whole community comes together to celebrate each year.
Festival activities will be broad and varied. Music will feature strongly on the day: members from the Aboriginal community will be demonstrating the didgeridoo, dance and traditional storytelling; the Tongan culture will be celebrated through dancing, singing and a special feast; and there will be African drumming, jazz and 50's rock 'n' roll. Definitely something for everyone's music tastes!
The festival also serves as a platform for youth development: see students from the local schools perform music and song, and upcoming rock stars will be hitting the stage in a battle of the bands contest.
Other activities include free double-decker bus rides, free Cobb & Co coach rides, free pony rides, face painting, a vintage vehicle display, market stalls, an art exhibition, a treasure hunt, an animal nursery and colonial themed heritage games. For a full program listing and map, check out the Festival Program.
If you really want to embrace the spirit of the event, there are three opportunities to travel by steam train:
1.Travel to the festival from Flinders St Station. The train will depart at 9:00am and arrive at the Hurstbridge township at 10:30am.
2.Jump on board one of the shuttle trips between Hurstbridge and Eltham during the day.
3.Catch the night steam train from Hurstbridge to Flinders St Station at the conclusion of the festival.
For further information about times and ticket prices, please click here.