I love visiting the tranquil Adelaide Hills with their charming small country towns, artisan food producers, and heritage buildings. There are so many things to see and do that I discover a new local attraction every time I visit.
Travelling the Onkaparinga Valley Road is one of my favourite routes, ending up at historic Mount Torrens or Birdwood. Today I took a detour to Littlehampton instead, visiting the Platform 1 Heritage Farm Railway with friends and their young children.
The Platform 1 Heritage Farm Railway is a very popular local attraction offering a wide variety of family entertainment and fun activities for kids. It's on a working farm just near Littlehampton that has been owned by the same family for seven generations now. The father of the present owner was a train enthusiast, and railway memorabilia are scattered all around the farm - the most obvious being the former Ghan railway carriage that sits prominently at the entrance to the farm.
Take a Train Ride on the Platform 1 Heritage Farm Railway
After being welcomed at the cafe and shop by friendly staff, visitors pass through to the railway where train rides around the property are available on the hour. The farm yard has several outdoor games and activities for kids, with the chance to get up close to the farm animals and some guinea pigs. There are cows and sheep, a horse and pig, and chooks to meet. Each of the animals has a sign at child height telling the animal's story and encouraging kids to interact with them.
Once children have seen enough of the animals there are other activities for kids including "knock 'em down", horse shoe throwing and the milk can toss. If your kids like dressing up they can even try out fashions on a couple of scarecrows. Train enthusiasts will love browsing the collection of railway memorabilia saved from scrap yards including old South Australian Railways signs and parts from steam engines.
There Are Lots of Things to See and Do at Platform 1
The railways theme continues indoors in the huge train barn, with lots of interactive displays and things to see and do. Pressing a button will change signals or activate displays - just the sort of hands on fun things to do that kids love. They can talk to friends on working telephones, sit inside a railway section car, and explore the shell of an old steam engine. My friend's kids were enraptured and spent quite some time exploring the barn displays.
We didn't have long to wait for a train ride, and friendly train driver Glenn has a wonderful way with kids. After boarding the train he gave a running commentary about the farm and its history, telling jokes and encouraging kids to ask questions and become part of the story. We stopped a couple of times, allowing children to get out and change the railway points and explore a smoke house tree that is hundreds of years old.
When we visited Platform 1 the weather was fine but cold - it is in the Adelaide Hills after all. Visitors in the cooler months are encourage to bring warm clothes, coats and even beanies so that they can enjoy the outdoors in comfort. There's are eating areas where you can enjoy your lunch both outside and indoors for when it is too cold.
Platform 1 Heritage Farm Railway sells morning and afternoon teas but not lunch, so it is best to bring something with you. If like me you love a good country bakery, there's a great little cafe in Littlehampton where you can get tasty fresh food to eat in or take away.
Make Here Your Next Birthday Party Venue With Great Family Entertainment
My friend's children were enchanted with the Platform 1 Heritage Farm Railway, and after breaking for lunch they continued exploring and playing. Another group of kids from the northern suburbs arrived to have a birthday party in the air conditioned Ghan carriage which is available for hire. It makes a thoroughly enjoyable day of unique family entertainment.
Platform 1 has a variety of school holiday activities and other things to see and do - check their website and the Facebook page for more information. It's a great way to entertain kids at any time, but with the school holidays coming up what better time to visit?