Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published June 16th 2012
Fancy a day out by the sea-side? That in itself is a good lark, but if you have little kids, the attraction of being able to ride on a miniature train may well seal the deal.
Point Richards is a quiet little location just before you reach Portarlington on the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula, only 80 minutes drive from Melbourne. Run on a voluntary basis by the local Rotary Club, the miniature railway is a firm favourite with kids in school holidays and also a terrific venue for a birthday party. The track is one kilometre long and there are often two trains running. Children (and adults) sit on top of the carriages which are pulled behind the engines. There is often a fun atmosphere on the weekends, with a little cafe and a local community radio station broadcasting from the back of a van. All proceeds from the railway go to support local community projects.
After a few spins around the railway track, you can head off to the Portarlington Flora and Fauna Reserve, which is directly behind the Railway complex, for a walk through the remnant coastal sandy heathlands and wetlands, go fishing off the jetties on the beach opposite, or head into Portarlington itself to buy some fresh mussels straight off the boat, down at the pier.
Opening hours are Wed-Sun (11am to 3pm) in January and Sundays only February-Easter. Adults and children over 3 years of age $3 per ride or 4 rides for $10. Under 3's $1 per ride. The venue and trains can also be hired for birthday parties.