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March 19, 2004
It's "traditional" to ride sitting in the windows with your feet sticking out. People along the short route come out to wave as the train passes by. I'm not speaking of only the people who happen to be stopped by the train as it crosses the roadway. I mean there are folks who set out chairs and wait for it so they can wave as the train passes by. It's a short, scenic ride and lots of fun.
From journal Australia 2004 - Melbourne
August 2, 2003
We booked this day tour through the tour desk of our hostel (Queensbury Hill YHA), which we found as a great way of booking day tours. The tour fee included: pick-up and return from/to accomodation; breakfast/morning tea, train ride, lunch, and entrance fee to the animal sanctuary.
The tour began with a drive from the city to the Dandenongs. Then, there was an Aussie-style breakfast/morning tea at a small picnic area at the Dandenongs (with billy tea, biscuits, vegemite, and lamingtons). There was even a 'bonus' attraction of hand-feeding the birds(rosellas and lorikeets) that dropped by on our picnic.
Then, we were off to the Puffing Billy. This 100-year-old working steam train is a sight to behold, even if you're not a trainspotter. Anyway, we boarded the train from Belgrave station and went through wooden tracks, residential areas, and forest areas to the next station (Menze's Creek) where we got off and meet our bus tour guide cum driver. Kids in particular seemed to enjoy this activity.
After the train ride, the tour bus went through the vineyards at Yarra Valley. Then, the tour stopped at Ferguson's Winery for lunch. After lunch, you can even buy some local wines and souvenirs at the shop adjacent to the restaurant.
After lunch, it was off to Healesville Sanctuary, the last stop. Here, we feasted our eyes on Australian wildlife like kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, echidnas, platypuses, tasmanian devils, and koalas. It was great, as we've never seen them in real life before.
So yes, it's definitely a day tour you won't want to miss.
From journal Oz Journeys: Magnificent Melbourne and Beyond