Discover the intwined history of Puffing Billy Railway and the Dandenong Ranges inside the Great Hall; home to a collection of expertly curated steam artefact 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.
In partnership with award-winning photographic artist and Guys Hill local, Karen Alsop, Puffing Billy Railway is pleased to introduce Animal Tales to the Lakeside Visitor Centre; a three-part animal-focused photographic series that juxtaposes human characteristics, behaviours, or situations with the faces of real-life native animals.
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, a playground and a wading pool (open in summer only).
Picnic in the park
Pick up some takeaway 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.
COG BIKES AUSTRALIA BIKE HIRE
Discovering the Dandenong Ranges just got more fun on two wheels! In partnership with local family-owned and operated bike company, COG BIKES Australia, you can now hire a bike from Puffing Billy Railway's Lakeside Station bike hub!
Choose from a range of standard trail bikes, e-bikes, balance bikes or children's pedal bikes, and explore the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail that runs alongside Puffing Billy between Emerald and Gembrook.
Pre-bookings are highly recommended.
OPERATES FRIDAY - MONDAY + DAILY IN SCHOOL HOLIDAYS
Lakeside Paddleboats are located within the picturesque Emerald Lake Park and operate on the safe waters of Emerald Lake (also known as Lake Treganowan). The iconic vintage Paddleboats have been lovingly restored and cater for 1-2 riders (per boat).
MODEL RAILWAY & MINIATURE WORLD
Visit one of the biggest model railways in the southern hemisphere. With running model trains and miniature buildings, cars, planes and people to view, i spy's and highlight buttons to push, there is plenty to interest all ages.
Emerald Museum and Nobelius Heritage Park
Discover Emerald’s history at the Emerald and District Museum, home to a collection of household and farm items, personal effects, business documents and photos that tell the story of the development of the Emerald community from its gold rush days in the late 1850s.
The Museum is located on the grounds of the Nobelius Heritage Park which is a remnant of the once-great wholesale nursery business that operated in the district. The Park is a memorial to Carl Axel Nobelius who established the Gembrook Nurseries (also known as Nobelius Nurseries) in 1893.
DID YOU KNOW? The nearby Puffing Billy Nobelius Packing Shed formerly served the once-extensive Nobelius & Co. nursery. From here, seedlings and plants were dispatched onboard Puffing Billy's towards Melbourne and from there onto all parts of Australia and the world!
To get to the Museum and the Heritage Park from the Lakeside Visitor Centre, visitors can follow the sign-posted Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail. The gentle uphill walk will take about 25 minutes.
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!
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.