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11-13 October: The Mallee Limited to Manangatang attending the SRJ Cup or Exploring the Outback


Journey behind our fleet of heritage diesel locomotives aboard the Mallee Limited as we return to Manangatang and the northern Murray region. Either explore the spectacular Outback in Northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales with its barren arid moonscapes, river life and irrigated farming on our signature Outback Explorer Off-Train Experience, or attend the Slow Rail Journeys 2024 Manangatang Cup, one of the pre-eminent events in the country racing calendar and one of the largest events in the Northern Mallee. On our return to Melbourne settle in for a day of slow rail travel as the Mallee Limited makes its way south through Ultima, Quambatook and Barraport where a stop is made to visit the much acclaimed Spanner Man Gallery. Dine in some of the best pubs and enjoy the best gastronomic experiences in the region. Don't miss this spectacular weekend Slow Rail Journey to one of Victoria's most famous and most beautiful regions.

Fares range from $850-$1,345 per person.





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Tour Highlights



Step back in time onboard the Mallee Limited to enjoy a weekend of slow rail travel to some of the Victorian Mallee and Sunraysia country's most beautiful townships and famous attractions, including the option to either experience our signature Outback Explorer Off-Train Experience visiting the spectacular Sunraysia and regional city of Mildura or attend a legend of the country racing calendar - the Manangatang Cup.






 

Itinerary


Friday 11-October


Your Slow Rail Journey will commence with a bon-voyage dinner held at the historic Savoy Hotel (where we will check-in guests and provide cabin allocations for the weekend) prior to you being escorted by our friendly volunteers to the train.



Entering Melbourne's busy Southern Cross Station, you will immediately realise you are embarking on a journey like no other. Sitting on the platform - and greeting you like an old friend - is our imposing string of 1950s and 1960s carriages that make up the Mallee Limited, our heritage train perfectly juxtaposing the modernity and hustle surrounding.


Upon boarding, your Carriage Attendant will greet you as you settle into your private oasis for the weekend as masses of commuters make their way past the windows bound for trains to Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo and more. From the moment you board, you'll immediately relax and enter the elegance of a bygone era.



At 8:50 pm, the Mallee Limited will wake up the station as the whistle is sounded announcing our departure. Join your fellow travellers and tour organisers in our train's luxury Club 1 Lounge for a welcome aboard drink as we head south to Geelong, then along the freight-only line to Ballarat, where we will stop to resupply the train.


Depart Ballarat into the night, passing through the ironbark forests and undulating country of the Goldfields, over the flat Mallee plains and on toward the arid outback of Victoria.



Awake to the sun rising over a different world. The flat wheat fields of the Mallee have replaced the urban landscapes of Melbourne. Welcome to the Outback!




Saturday 12 October

Two off-train experience options are offered onboard the Mallee Limited - the Outback Explorer Off-Train Experience exploring the outback Victoria and Southern New South Wales or the opportunity to attend the 2024 Slow Rail Journeys Mannagatang Cup in a private Marquee.


The Saturday itinerary will vary based on the off-train experience selected.


Outback Explorer Off-Train Experience Guests:

At 7:30 am guests joining our Outback Explorer Off-Train Experience will be invited to the dining car for breakfast as the train makes its way north (slowly) from Ultima to Manangatang.



At 8:55 am, the Mallee Limited will arrive at the tiny outpost of Manangatang - population 274 - which comes to life each October when over 3,000 people descend upon the town to attend the Manangatang Cup. Manangatang, sometimes noted for its unusual name, which derives from the local indigenous words - "manang", meaning land and "kaaiti", meaning water, is home to Victoria's smallest public hospital, which serves the surrounding grain and sheep farming communities.


The itinerary for the Outback Explorer tour is currently being finalised but will feature a program of bespoke activities highlighting the best of this spectacular region.


Manangatang Cup Guests:

The pre-eminent event on the country racing calendar promises some of the best track action this side of Royal Ascott as over 3,000 people arrive in the tiny hamlet of Manangatang for the weekend.


Guests attending the Manangatang Cup will be invited to the dining car for breakfast at 8:45 am as the train approaches Manangatang.



After breakfast in the dining car, there is ample time to "frock up" for a day in a private marquee at the races.


Get ready for an action-packed day at this iconic country racing festival!



After an enjoyable day of country racing, Mallee Limited guest board coaches for the short drive to Euston, where the spectacular Euston Club is expecting us for dinner and where we will be joined by guests who travelled on the Outback Explorer experience.


Set amongst the Murray River, just steps across the border from Robinvale (the traditional albeit now closed terminus of the railway we have travelled along from Melbourne), the Euston Club will not disappoint!




Sunday

Early in the morning (5:30 am), the Mallee Limited will crawl out of Manangatang to commence its journey south back to Melbourne.


Outback Explorer guests will be invited to the dining car at 7:30 am, followed by those who attended the Manangatang Cup at 8:45 am,


At 8:50 am the Mallee Limited will pull into the small hamlet of Barraport, where guests disembark to experience what is likely to be one of the highlights of the weekend - an opportunity to tour the Spanner Man gallery.


John Piccoli, better known as the Spanner Man, was one of Australia's most unique artists. All of his sculpture is built entirely out of spanners, which he purchased at swap meets or in bulk from his local hardware. It is estimated that over 100,000 spanners in sculpture form are on display at the gallery.



John's work included, amongst other things, sculptures of mermaids, marlin, and even a full horse and wagon. Sadly, John passed away in 2021; however, his family continue to run the gallery.



Rejoining the train, we continue south toward Dunolly and the Goldfields. Enjoy a barista-made coffee onboard as the Mallee Limited rolls through Korong Vale, and we bid farewell to the flat plains of the Mallee and enter the Loddon Valley. The historic town of Wedderburn, which the railway skirts to the east of, is the commercial hub of the agricultural valley. Continuing south, the railway line parallels the Calder Highway as the line side vegetation noticeably increases.



After enjoying a morning onboard, lunch will be served in the dining car as the train makes a short stpp in Maryborough, famous for hosting one of Australia's most ornate country railway stations and a major commercial hub for the Goldfields.



Continuing south into the afternoon through the heart of the Goldfields. Towns including Clunes, Talbot and Creswick will flash by the windows as many guests make their way to the bar to chat with new friends made onboard.


Mid-afternoon, the Mallee Limited will make three minute stop in Ballarat for any guests who wish to leave the train.



After departing Ballarat, afternoon tea will be served onboard as the train races over the dividing range and through Bacchus Marsh, offering a spectacular view of Melbourne's lights.


It's not long before the open vistas outside are once again replaced with Melbourne's suburbs,q and all too soon, the train arrives back into the modern world at Southern Cross Station, right on time.







 

Off-Train Experiences





 

Cabins and Fares








 

Timetable






 

Route Map






 

Sleeping Carriages


Enjoy overnight travel aboard our fleet of heritage sleeping cars.










 

On-Train Facilities

The train will feature a fully stocked bar/club car, a luxurious lounge car and Cafe Hudson, offering light snacks, espresso coffee and other refreshments, along with a number of additional carriages.










 

Locomotives


Our train will feature two locomotives from our heritage diesel fleet.









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