It is such a thrill travelling by train to an undiscovered place and the journey is half the fun.

We’re challenging you to take your next trip by rail, so keep calm and carriage on.

Daylesford Spa Country Railway

On any given Sunday, ride with Daylesford Spa Country Railway. Their restored heritage diesel train takes you from Daylesford through the beautiful scenic countryside and forest of the Central Highlands. Start your day with breakfast at Cliffy’s Emporium before heading to the historic Daylesford Railway Station, which will be surrounded by the busyness of the weekly Sunday market.

You have a few options before you jump on board. If you’re a hiking, adventurous type, you can meet Brendan from Secret Forest Walks to grab your Spade to Blade picnic supplies and activate a GPS walking guide, which you use at the final stop, Bullarto station. You will be guided through the lush Wombat forest to a hidden reservoir picnic spot. Alternatively, if you’re a drink and food loving type, you can ride to Musk and jump off at Passing Clouds winery to enjoy a tasting at their cellar door, followed by a charcoal fire pit feast.

After a day full of adventure, return and warm your weary body with a beverage from The Daylesford Hot Chocolate Company or fill your belly at the oldest pub in Daylesford, the Farmers Arms, both are within a five-minute walk.

HOT TIP: Grab your tickets online. It’s the best way to ensure a seat without the wait –

V/Line family adventure from Melbourne to Woodend

Before moving to Kyneton with my young family, friends with kids would tell me how great Woodend was for an outing. I was a bit dubious, but they were right. If we still lived in Melbourne, I would jump on the train in a heartbeat, with littlies in tow.

Our outing would start with the Woodend Farmers’ Market, followed by lunch at Bourkies. Their drool-worthy bakery treats are sure to satisfy every demanding ankle-biter. 

With food sorted, you have many options for things to do. You could head to the Woodend Children’s Park for hours of play, discover the New Leaves Bookshop with books for young and old, grab some toys at Karismatic Kids and even shop for your kids’ clothes at Woodend General. 

For a sweet diversion, pop into the Woodend Ice Cream Co for one scoop or two and seek out Blackbird Cakes to supply a one-of-a-kind birthday cake for your next celebration. Having had a full day of fun, make sure everyone is satisfied with dinner at The Victoria Hotel. They serve pub favourites like chicken parma, fish and chips and pizza. Your busy day may mean that you could sit in the ‘quiet’ carriage all the way home. 

HOT TIPS: The Woodend Farmers’ Market is on the first Saturday of every month.

Woodend is on the Bendigo regional train line. It is one hour from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station –

Victorian Goldfields Railway

Further north, you will find the Victorian Goldfields Railway operating along the formerly disused line between Castlemaine and Maldon. Their elegant carriages provide you with a glimpse of what it was like to travel during the golden age of rail. The best way to do it, in my opinion, is to spend the day in Maldon, departing Castlemaine at midday and returning at 2:45pm that afternoon. 

When you arrive, it is an easy and pretty five-minute stroll into Maldon. It’s the best way to absorb the heritage streetscape and along the way to Main Street, you can admire the Beehive Gold Mine chimney and ruins. Maldon is much like the mine and has been a hive of activity in recent years. You’ll find newly formed galleries and exhibitions with acclaimed artists. If you love all expressions of art, make sure you seek out the unique perspectives of Cascade Gallery, Edge Gallery and Catherine Abel. Fit in a spot of shopping, Tansley & Co. have a fantastic array of vintage items and you will find homewares, local foods and even a gin tasting class at Much Ado. By this stage a cup of tea or coffee at the new 50s inspired Maldon Rose café, with its award-winning scones, cakes and pies, will be a lovely place to pause.

Now back to busy bees, you can’t get back on the train to Castlemaine without visiting Warral Maldon. Since 1896, across five generations, their family have collected honey from the bees in the area. They claim to have the world’s highest quality honey. Find out what all the buzz is about at the gift shop, where you can buy honey, honeycomb, candles, beeswax and more.

HOT TIPS: Prepare for your trip by grabbing a coffee at Das Kaffeehaus, found at The Mill.

Rides run every Wednesday and Sunday. Look out for Ales on Rails and school holidays program –

About the author

Narenna Bloomfield
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Narenna is a country girl at heart, growing up on a dairy farm north of Bendigo. Now living in Kyneton, (her husband’s hometown) she is a busy mum of three littlies. She loves gardening, baking, photography and getting out and about in the area. A favourite day in the region would be a weekly shop at a farmers’ market, meandering through an open garden and finishing with a dinner in one of the acclaimed restaurants along Piper Street, Kyneton.