Kids are fascinated by transportation and with school holidays looming why not check out these fun transport themed adventures. Not only will they have a great day out, they will see history come to life. All this school holiday fun is easily accessible by public transport.
1. Hunter Valley Steam Fest 14 & 15 April
Held annually at Maitland station, the Hunter Valley Steam Fest offers historic steam train trips, vintage machinery and blacksmithing demonstrations, mini steam engine and classic car displays, interactive heritage walks and all sorts of fun activities for the kids. The highlight of the festival is the Great Train Race, featuring two engines running parallel together while racing a Tiger Moth.
Getting there: Maitland by train is easy. Catch the Intercity service to Newcastle Interchange, from Central, Strathfield, Eastwood, Epping, Hornsby, Berowra or Hawkesbury and Central Coast stations and change at Hamilton for the connection to Maitland.
Another option is to book a one-way journey on Friday 13th April from Sydney to Maitland on the Steam Fest Flyer. Board at Central, Hornsby or Gosford stations and travel in the elegance of 1930s carriages as the Flyer huffs and puffs its way through national parklands and the Hawkesbury River waterways to the Hunter Valley.
Alternatively you could return from Maitland to Sydney (terminating at Concord West) by steam train on Monday 16th April.
More info: steamfest.com.au
2. Cronulla Vintage Electric Train Rides Sunday 15 April
Take a ride on a vintage electric set F1 train from Cronulla to Sutherland and return. The train ride coincides with a Pre-World War II Vintage Car and Bike Show offering plenty of kids’ activities.
Seats are still available on the 9.07am train ride.
Getting There: Cronulla is easy to get to by train from Central, Redfern, Wolli Creek, Kogarah or Hurstville stations.
3. Steam Train Sundays at NSW Rail Museum, Thirlmere
Featuring Australia’s largest collection of historic locomotives, heritage rolling stock and interactive exhibits for children, the NSW Rail Museum is a great family day out.
On most Sundays until the end of November, you can take a 45 minute steam train ride from historic Thirlmere station to Buxton. The return journey is along the Thirlmere Heritage Railway. The ticket also includes entrance to the Museum. The train departs Thirlmere Station at 11am, 12.30pm and 2.00pm.
Getting There: The museum is located within easy reach by train from Sydney, Wollongong and Macarthur region. Just take a NSW Trainlink Southern Highlands service to Picton station and catch a bus to Thirlmere.
More info: nswrailmuseum.com.au/steam-train-sunday
4. Circus Train, NSW Rail Museum, Thirlmere
The whole family can learn about the history of circus trains and travelling circuses in Australia, be entertained by circus, cabaret and daredevil acts including breathtaking aerial performances and try their hand at juggling.
Steam train rides will also operate along the Thirlmere heritage railway to Buxton and return 4 times each day on Friday 20th, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April but bookings are essential.
Getting There: The museum is easily accessible by public transport – take a NSW Trainlink Southern Highlands service to Picton station and catch a bus to Thirlmere.
More info: nswrailmuseum.com.au
5. The Scenic Railway, Scenic World, Katoomba
With its 52 degree incline, the Scenic Railway is the steepest passenger railway in the world. It descends 310 metres through a tunnel hewn through the cliff and emerges into the ancient rainforest on the floor of the spectacular Jamison Valley. Glass roof carriages allow expansive views and adjustable seating makes for a more adventurous decent for those who dare.
Once you get to the valley floor, you can access the Scenic Walkway and bushwalk 2.4km of Jurassic rainforest, whilst learning about the area’s coal mining history, local flora and birdlife.
Getting There: Catch Sydney Train’s Blue Mountains line from Central, Strathfield, Parramatta, Westmead, Blacktown, Penrith or Emu Plains stations to Katoomba station and walk 3kms or catch a Blue Mountains Explorer Bus or Trolley Tours bus to Scenic World, corner Violet Street and Cliff Drive Katoomba.
More info: scenicworld.com.au
6. Cockatoo Island
The world heritage site of Cockatoo Island is located at the point where the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers meet in Sydney Harbour. Steeped in history, it retains all the character of its convict penal days and ship building past and there’s lots for the kids to do.
Play a game of tennis or life-size chess, take a one-hour kid’s programs or join a guided tour that reveals details about the island’s colourful characters, colonial escapades and convict life. Stay overnight or join a Haunted History Night Tour if you dare and hear about the island’s role as a reformatory for orphans and wayward children.
Getting there: Cockatoo Island is a short ferry ride from Sydney’s Circular Quay, Darling Harbour or Barangaroo. The F3 Circular Quay – Parramatta Rivercat also stops there.
More info: cockatooisland.gov.au