Discover the intwined history of Puffing Billy Railway and the Dandenong Ranges inside the Lakeside Hall; home to a collection of expertly curated steam artifact displays, including a replica of Puffing Billy Railway’s first ever locomotive, 3A.
Original parts from 3A can be found on many of today’s NA locomotives, which would not be in operation if these parts had not been made available for restoration and maintenance projects. However, apart from the chimney and the wooden axle boxes, every part of this beautiful engine is an authentic remnant of 3A from its days as a pioneer of steam travel at the beginning of the 20th century!
Glimpse into days gone by with rarely seen images and historic steam artifacts, while meeting and hearing from some of our life-long volunteers.
TRACKSIDE TRAIN SPOTTING!
With tall expansive windows that bathe the Lakeside Visitor Centre in daylight, why not take up the local tradition of waving good morning as Puffing Billy steams past? There are various viewing areas throughout the building, including outdoors on the Railway Café alfresco.
JUMP ON BOARD FROM LAKESIDE
Travel on the train from Lakeside and travel 50 minutes to the hidden gem township of Gembrook!
The journey will take you through Wright Forest and over three historic trestle bridges before the landscape opens up to rolling hills and farmland. Once there, take your picnic pack to J.A.C Russell Park, peruse the local op shop and Pandora’s Box Antiques and Collectibles, or visit the museum for vintage cars. Their book café is also well worth a look!
PICNIC IN THE PARK
Pick up some take away from the Railway Café and roll out a rug in front of Lake Treganowan for a picture perfect picnic with family or friends.
There are plenty of green patches to spread out on, including spots in the open sun (don't forget your sunscreen!) or under one of the many towering trees of the surrounding Dandenong Ranges forest.
Visit the Lakeside Visitor Centre's dedicated gift and souvenir shop, with locally designed gifts, handcrafted produce from the hills and railway related memorabilia to take home and treasure.
Or, if online shopping is more your thing, visit our online store below!
Emerald Lake Park activities
Emerald Lake Park is home to both native and exotic plants, with fern gullies and open eucalypt forests. The ornamental trees are spectacular, and some significant trees are listed with the National Trust of Australia. It covers an area of roughly 52 hectares and features Lake Treganowan and Lake Nobelius, ornamental exotic trees and natural bushland.
The park is home to a wide range of walking trails, paddleboats, a playground, a model railway display and a wading pool.
EMERALD LAKE MODEL RAILWAY
The Emerald Lake Model Railway is the largest model railway in the Southern Hemisphere and the size of a 17-square house! This fascinating and interactive miniature world with trains, towns, cities, countryside, snow-capped mountains and animated figures, including pop-up viewing points along the track is fun for all ages.
Puffing Billy Railway is proud to partner with Cog Bikes Australia to offer bike hire at the Lakeside Visitor Centre. Access the entire Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail or explore the Emerald Lake Precinct if you are after a shorter ride!
Cog Bikes Australia offers a range of bikes and E-bikes for hire. With each bike hire, helmets are included and you can also request additional accessories such as kid trailers and bike seats, so everyone can enjoy the trails.