This is a review
A couple of weeks ago Steve and I finally decided to take the boys on the Castlemaine to Maldon steam train thanks to the Victorian Goldfields Railway. We were gifted the tickets a while ago, but with the moving to Ballarat and the settling in, it just didn’t quite happen.
It seemed a perfect time now anyway, with Jeremy being much more mobile at 2 and a half and Tom being his ever energetic self.
When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was the smiles all around. Our ticket man made chit chat with the boys and gave them a business card for the VGR which Tom then dropped in a toilet (whoops!) Thankfully, there were plenty of spare cards in the carriages! We got there early enough to get some photos and watch as the train pulled up to the platform. Very cool!
THE STEAM TRAIN
We were in the wrong carriage to start with and our super friendly volunteer conductor went out of his way to make sure we made it to first class. Honestly, I was glad he did, because the viewing platform was rather amazing and Tom loved going out there with me too. Check out the view!
WHAT WE LOVED
The carriages are awesome. If you don’t have first class tickets you can still enjoy the carriages, but we definitely loved scoring the one in first class with a table on our way home. We indulged in some afternoon tea, ordered from the bar and had it brought out to us.
I didn’t realise there’s something pretty special about sticking your head outside an old train. The scenery from Castlemaine to Maldon is just beautiful, particularly in winter.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IN MALDON
After indulging in a leisurely steam train ride we took the 10 minute walk into the town of Maldon. I suggest taking a pram for this if you have little ones. There was a courtesy bus but we didn’t take it, leaving it for the elderly instead. There’s an old gold mine you can investigate along the way too. We ran out of time to do that one.
We went the Maldon Hotel for lunch and the meal was delicious. It didn’t give us a lot of time afterwards to explore though, especially with waiting for the boys to finish their meals. I think next time we’d choose a cafe, local bakery or pack ourselves a picnic lunch. The meal was yummy though and dining out isn’t something we do often.
Maldon has an array of unique shops. As I wondered through I told Steve I was coming back here to buy Christmas presents. Speaking of Christmas, there’s an amazing shop called Vanilla Spice that is ALL about Christmas. With a firm chat not to touch anything we took the boys inside. Surprisingly, not once did the shop owner warn us about the boys touching things and there wasn’t a sign to be seen about it. That’s good old country love! We chose a special Christmas ornament as a reminder of our trip.
The boys found a shop that sold some windmills and chose one each. We had a look at some book stores and looked in a lot of windows. If I had more time I would have split from the kids and entered those stores!
We made it back to Maldon station in time to get some photos out the front and then we headed back to Castlemaine. We were welcomed into Castlemaine with a whole bunch of people waving to us from outside their homes. So lovely!
Castlemaine to Maldon Steam Train Tips
- If you can afford the extra for first class, get those tickets – it gives you close access to the bar and restaurant AND you can step out onto the viewing platform
- Take a pram if you have a little one – it’s a decent walk from Maldon station into the town centre
- Pack a lunch or go somewhere that can serve ready meals pretty quickly. It will give you more chance to explore Maldon.
- Consider an overnight stay in Castlemaine or Maldon (we wish we did!) it will give you the chance to take in what that beautiful side of our state has to offer.
- Stick your head out the window. You won’t regret it.
Want to book?
Have you been on a steam train before? What was it like? Would you consider going on this one?