Freelance writer, mum of two who loves living in sunny Perth.
Published October 17th 2014
All aboard for a day of fun
One of the many great things about living in Perth is the sheer number of hidden gems snuck away in suburbia; the Stirling Miniature Railway being one of them.
Hidden away in the backstreets of Balcatta, this fantastic miniature railway hub opens up to the public on the last Sunday of the month between 10am and 2pm delighting train enthusiasts across Perth. Run by the lovely folk at the Northern Districts Model Engineering Society (Perth) Inc (NDMES) this is a simply great way to spend your Sunday with the family.
The railway area consists of two separate tracks, each going through the tunnel, which kids seem to adore. When we visited there were about 8 different trains operating, all of mixed shapes, sizes and engine types.
The popular trains were the mini steam trains, where kids felt like they were getting a ride on Thomas (or one of his friends).
[ADVERT]Aside from the trains, the railway consists of a large shaded picnic area, where you can also rent picnic tables for birthdays ($20) or the party gazebo.
The shaded grassed area is a perfect place to have a picnic lunch if you've come for the day and the trees provide some ready shelter on a bright sunny day. There are even free BBQ's you can use if you want to get your sausages sizzling.
The railway has toilets and a small canteen which offers basics including drinks, crisps and a few other items. If you're seeking some lunch, then make sure you pack your own.
One important thing to note is that you MUST be wearing enclosed shoes or you aren't allowed to board the trains.
If you're visiting on an overcast or rainy day, then be aware that there's not much shelter when queueing so make sure you've got your rain coat or umbrella packed so that you don't get too wet.
Ride the rails!
The admission price is $8 a person - but kids under 3 recieve free entry. For a family pass (up to 6 people) it's only $30 and this gives you unlimited rides on whichever trains you choose.
Having two keen train enthusiasts (Thomas fans) in our family, we were there at 10am when the railway opened. This is actually ideal timing, as at 10am queues are minimal, whereas past 11am you will spend at least 10 minutes (or more) queueing up for a ride on a variety of mini trains.
We rode on a number of trains before queues picked up and our little guys really enjoyed the variety of trains that they were able to go on. The big orange train was a popular one on our visit as was the large steam locomotive with its loud 'toot toot' that had many of the kids cheering.
This is a great day out for the family and perfect for small kids who've got an interest in trains or Thomas the Tank Engine. Train drivers and all of the NDMES volunteers were so friendly and if you've got any questions about their trains, they are happy to talk to you in detail.
This comes highly recommended for a fun day out with the family!