Owns 'FoodLit'. Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food language.www.foodlit.com.au
Published November 23rd 2010
For lovers of murder mysteries – and for those who love an exciting night out with a difference – Murder on the Puffing Billy Express is a spine tingling adventure that will have you trying to work out whodunit aboard our much-loved, century-old Puffing Billy, one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world.
Toss in plenty of suspense and drama, and an excellent three-course meal, and you've got yourself a magical night of mysterious proportions.
Departing Puffing Billy's Belgrave station in the scenic Dandenongs monthly on either a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night once a month, Murder on the Puffing Billy Express is so popular, next available 'murders' aren't until next year, so I recommend booking soon to secure a spot.
So, how does it work? Enjoy appetisers in a classic, nostalgic carriage that takes you back to bygone days and chug along to Nobelius Packing Shed, a charming, rustic venue at Emerald. Tuck into a very good three-course meal including home-made soup, a selection of roast meats and accompaniments from the buffet and, of course, something sweet.
Throughout the journey, lookout for clues and watch the mystery unfold through drama performed by the Gemco Players Community Theatre. There's also a prize for the first person to solve the mystery. On the trip back to Belgrave, enjoy cheese, port, chocolates and tea or coffee.
If you can't wait for an available spot on Murder on the Puffing Billy Express, hop aboard (but book first) the Steam and Cuisine Luncheon Train, which dishes up an excellent three-course meal and travels daily on a three-hour return trip from Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park, with a 40-minute stop at the latter for stretching the legs and admiring the splendid lake and scenery.
I had the pleasure of doing it recently. Chugging along on this world-famous steam train through the picturesque mountains with lovely food, a wine or beer, great service and splendid views was one of the most memorable Sunday afternoons I've had in a long time. It's $95 per person and well worth the experience.
There are many ways to enjoy Puffing Billy. You might like some jazz, while the kids will absolutely love Thomas the Tank. Check out these, and other events, as well as some very tempting special services, like the Devonshire Tea Journey or the opportunity to drive a steam train!