A Day On The Hotham Valley Railway

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The Hotham Valley Railway steam train was a highlight of our weekend visit to Dwellingup Western Australia.  This is a wonderful day out for the whole family; we took the steam train in celebration of my dad’s 80th birthday.  I can say that from our 80-year old grand-dad through to the 8-month-old baby, everyone enjoyed their day on the Hotham Valley train.

If you Google Hotham Valley Railways, you will find there are a number of trains running from the Dwellingup train station.  We will share our experiences to help you find the one that suits you best!

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Hotham Valley Railway

The Hotham Valley Trains

Hotham Valley Steam Ranger Train

We were in Dwellingup specifically to take the Steam Ranger train, which runs every Sunday in the rainy season around Perth (May through October).  It doesn’t run during the summer due to the fire risk of running a steam engine through the forest.

The entire Hotham Valley Railway is run by volunteers who really get into the spirit of things.  Volunteers dress in old waistcoats, top hats, and also help man the locomotives and the old-fashioned rail carriages trains.  Dedicated volunteers get up early (think 3am) to start stoking the engines so that the steam train can be ready to run for the tourists on the Sunday.

The train runs down Isandra Siding about an hour south of Dwellingup at the gentle pace of the train.  Then the steam engine is shunted to front of the train for the spectacular trip back up to Dwellingup.  It truly feels that you’re in the olden days as the train puffs, its smoke blows by, and the sound of the train echoes through the valley hills.

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Hotham Valley Railway

Dwellingup Forest Train

Running frequently is the Dwellingup Forest train which is pulled by historic diesel locomotive.  The ride is shorter and ends at the area called Etmilyn.  There is a short stop and people can get off the train for a short walk through the Jarrah forest.

Consider going in wildflower season when the forest in bloom is a treat!  The open sided Forest Train then returns the 8km back to Dwellingup Train Station.

Dwellingup Restaurant Train

For those who are short of time or not interested in taking a train ride, the Hotham Valley also offers a stationary restaurant train.  You can enjoy scones and tea, or a more complete menu.   All completed in the ambiance of a historical dining car.

Hotham Valley Railway

The Hotham Valley Railway Anniversary Festival 

The Hotham Valley Railway Anniversary Festival is held on a Sunday in mid-October and if you want to value add your Steam Train experience, we would recommend it!

There was an active little market with a range of different stalls featuring homemade type products.  Steam motor enthusiasts come from all over Western Australia to attend this event.  People have hand-lathed the engine parts to build miniature steam locomotives which they then happily give free rides around the market.

Hotham Valley Railway Dwellingup Western Australia

Up To Date Info Hotham Valley Railway

For specific timetables and up to date pricing, please check the Hotham Valley Railway website for more information.

We paid $40 per adult, $20 per child and $4 for the infant to take the Steam Ranger trip.

How To Get To The Hotham Valley Railway

The quaint village of Dwellingup is located just 100km from the center of Perth, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the City.

Hotham Valley Railway Dwellingup Western Australia

Conclusion – Hotham Valley Railway

For the train, or steam train, or motor enthusiasts this Hotham Valley Railway is a must, but for a family looking for an enjoyable and very different outing,

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Hotham Valley Railway also works a treat.  Our kids loved looking out the windows as we passed, first through the Jarrah forest, and then out into farmland.  In early spring the farmland is covered in yellow flowers, with horses and cattle grazing.  You really felt like you’d stepped back 100 years in time; all in all a wonderful day out.

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