PUFFING BILLY & HEALESVILLE TOUR
“The service vehicle is a 11-seated Mercedes-Benz, it was very comfortable and the tour guide and driver Antonio was very professional and caring throughout the trip. We had so much fun on the day, took so many nice pictures and my relatives can’t wait to come back to visit and explore Melbourne again next time. I highly recommend Apetite and thank you for your excellent customer service!.” – Jessie Fung
Morning ride on the 100-year-old steam train traversing through lush Victorian rainforest, be delighted by the beautiful fern forest and local flora. Enjoy a delicious lunch in the tranquil town of Emerald or Healesville. Visit native Australian animals at Healesville Sanctuary, followed by some flavourful chocolates and gelato from Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. In summer, pick cherries and strawberries in nearby berry farms and orchards, enjoy fun outdoors activities at Mt. Dandenong & Yarra Valley.
- Puffing Billy Steam Railway
- Healesville Sanctuary
- Healesville or Emerald for lunch
- Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
- Orchard Fruit Picking or Yarra Valley Dairy
- Berries Picking in summer
Transport Hotel Transfers
Friendly Guide Bottled Water
Heaps of Fun Child Safety Chair (if required)
Car Parking Toll Fees
On the morning of your tour, we would pick up from your hotel. Upon return, we can drop you to either your hotel or your chosen restaurant in Melbourne CBD
For a group booking of more than 11 people, please contact us for a quote.
Have more questions? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions.
Let’s Go To Mt. Dandenong!
Mt Dandenong, Here we come!
In the morning, our friendly driver will pick you up from your hotel.
Travel easterly from Melbourne, Mt Dandenong Ranges is approx. an hour’s drive from Melbourne CBD, adjacent to Yarra Valley. Renowned for its verdant fern forests and hilly landscape, it’s well-liked by day-trippers from Melbourne.
Puffing Billy Steam Railway
Puffing Billy steam railway traverses through the lush rainforest of Dandenong Ranges. The steam train first operated in 1900, mainly for the transportation of local agriculture and logging products. The original starting point, Upper Ferntree Gully, has now become Belgrave. The railway has five platforms, namely Belgrave, Menzies Creek, Emrald, Lakeside and Gembrook. A complete journey would take about 2 hours, and 25 minutes apart between each two stations. Due to severe landslide, the steam train operation had been suspended from 1953 and it wasn’t fully operational until 1998. Since then, Puffing Billy steam train has become hugely popular with both local and international tourists. In recent years, annual customer flow has exceeded over 400,000. Puffing Billy has proudly maintained the original steam engines which feed on large consumption of coal. The steam trains traverse slowly through the lush Dandenong Ranges fern forest, visitors can choose to sit by the sides of the trains and dangle your feet outside the carriage. coupled with the fragrant scent from the local flora and fern trees, re-explore this historic trail wholeheartedly.
Puffing Billy Steam Train Tickets:
One hour from Belgrave to Lakeside: AUD $ 35 adult / AUD $18 child (4-15 years old).
Have Some Brunch
Slept through your breakfast? Then you can’t miss Emerald and Healesville. Emerald is located next to Puffing Billy Lakeside station, whereas Healesville is on the edge of Yarra Valley. Both towns offer a selection of mouth-watering brunch options. Grab a banana smoothie to pamper the fruit lovers and kids, the restaurants here change their menus regularly to serve brunch made with fresh in season products. It’s also a good opportunity to binge more on aromatic Melbourne coffee.
Healesville Sanctuary is a wildlife zoo located in Healesville, right on the edge of Yarra Valley. It is home to many native and endangered Australian animals, ranging from mammals, reptiles, birds and nocturnal living creatures. At Healesville Sanctuary, get up and close to cute wallabies and kangaroos, watch adorable koalas nibbling away at eucalyptus tree leaves; observe echidnas (also known as Spiny Anteater) crawling on the topsoil and sluggishly finding its mid-day snack; learn about the world’s 2nd largest bird behind ostrich – Emu and spot platypus swimming swiftly across the water. The footpaths within the zoo are shaded by dense gum trees and vegetations, it’s ideal for a good afternoon walk.
Healesville Sanctuary Tickets:
Adult AUD $37 / Children (4-15 years old) AUD$ 18.50.
Free entry for all children under the age of 16 on weekends & public holidays.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery makes a wide variety of chocolates, from exquisite handmade chocolates of different flavours to meter-long gigantic chocolate bars, if you like Easter chocolate eggs, you can find them here year round, the premium range includes chocolates made from imported cocoa all around the world, chocolate truffles and etc; Behind the massive glass panel, you get to watch workers delightfully making flavoursome chocolates, Best of all, every now and then the chocolaterie introduces their new chocolates, with many of them available for tasting before purchase. The ice-creamery serves quality gelato as an alternative, with an additional stall set up around the carpark during summer. The terrance outside of the cafe is a good place for families to munch on some tasty desert while having some aromatic coffee.
The chocolaterie features a gorgeous lawn that is great for relaxation and outdoors activities, kids love to run around and kick the soccer balls. Look afar, you will be delighted by the beautiful scenery of endless green pasture and moderate hills in the distance.
Yarra Valley Dairy or Orchard
There are many cattle farms in Yarra Valley, its green pasture produces some of the best dairy products in Australia. At Yarra Valley Dairy, you can sample locally produced cheeses while sipping on your favourite wine from the valley. There is a wide selection of cheeses to choose from, e.g. Gouda, Brie, Blue Cheese, Cheddar, marinated cheese etc. The dairy shop also sells fresh local farm products, such as: olive oil and jams.
Furthermore, there are a number of orchards and berry farms scattered around Yarra Valley. Especially in December and January, the juicy and sweet Victorian cherries, blueberries and strawberries are ripe for picking, roll up your sleeves and pick your own fruits. While you are picking, you can sample as much as you want!
Additional Tour Options:
Blue Hill Berries Farm
Begin in early December, the sweet and juicy Victorian cherries and strawberries become ripe for picking, this usually lasts about one and half months. until mid or late January.
Blue Hill is a large cherry and strawberry farm located in Yarra Valley, you can also find rare varieties, such as: raspberries, blackberries, Boysenberries, Youngberries and Loganberries here.
Cherry Farm admission: Adult AUD $12 / Children (3-14 years) AUD $6
Strawberry Farm admission: Adult AUD $13 (include 500g of mixed berries) /Children (3-14 yrs old) AUD $6.50 (include 250g of mixed berries)
Cherries are sold for AUD $12 per kg. (berry prices may fluctuate each year)
Rayner’s Orchard has up to 450 different types of fruits ready for harvest at different times throughout the year, including peaches, plums, apricots, kiwis, lemons, citrus and many more.
The orchard offers one-hour Tractor Tour, visitors can tour the entire orchard on tractor accompanied by its friendly staff. There are generally 8-12 types of fruits available for picking at any time of the year. The fruits you pick will be weighed and purchased at the end of tour.
Tractor Tour cost: $ 29.50 for adults / $ 25 for children over 5 years old
National Rhododendron Gardens is a large botanic garden located next to the tranquil town of Olinda (Mount Dandenong), it occupies a total area of 36 hectares, the garden has more than 15,000 rhododendrons, 3,000 camellias, 250,000 daffodils and countless others floral species on exhibition all year round. As the seasons change, the landscape in the garden also evolves. it is great for family walks.
The best time to visit is from early October until end of December while flowers blossom as spring time in Australia is the opposite of the northern hemisphere . Recommended time: 45 minutes – 1.5 hours.
1000 Steps (Kokoda Track Memorial Walk) – a scenic trek in the heart of Mt Dandenong, the 3 km trail is popular with fitness enthusiasts, coupled with the plaques along the trail will give you a small glimpse of the hardship and physical difficulty Australian soldiers had to endure on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea during World War II. The walk trail is surrounded by dense rainforest and fern trees and is a perfect location for morning aerobic exercise.
The activity requires stairs climbing and reasonable level of fitness, but achievable for people of all ages. Round trip takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
Skyhigh Mt Dandenong has multiple viewing platforms, provides visitors with panoramic views over metropolitan Melbourne and Dandenong Ranges. There are also a nearby bistro, a Giants Chair that is great for family pictures and Skyhigh Maze, a perfect place to lose yourself!
Warratina Lavender Farm
Originally a cherry farm, the farm owner’s love for lavender in 1991 has over the years turned it into a sizeable lavender garden, with over 10,000 lavender plants.
You can take a stroll in the lavender garden, breathe the fresh air and admire the beautiful lavender plants. In addition, the cafe serves special Lavender ice cream and delectable scones.
The best time to visit is from end of November to end of January.
If You Can Still Read More
Yarra Valley is a winery region located 45 km northeast of Melbourne CBD, with Yarra River flows across it. Its cool climate has made it suitable for wine making, as a result, a thriving wine sector has been established in the region with more than 100 wineries. Yarra Valley offers a wide varieties of wine to match your palate. The region is well-known for shiraz, sparkling wine, chardonnay and pinot noir. In addition, this region boasts some of the best restaurants in Victoria, you can enjoy delicious food made from organic produce sourced locally complemented by a glass of silky red wine.
Mount Dandenong is a national park located 35 km east of Melbourne CBD, it is a popular weekend getaway for locals thanks to its lush rainforest and mountainous environment. There is a number of gorgeous gardens on the mountain, the most famous ones are National Rhododendron Gardens and William Ricketts Sanctuary, surrounded by a number of orchards and berry farms around Dandenong Ranges, making it one of the favourite tourist destinations near Melbourne. Its 633 meters high observatory offers a spectacular view of the nearby areas and metropolitan Melbourne.