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11-13 October: The Grainlander to Manangatang exploring either the northern Mallee Silo Art Trail or attending the 2024 Manangatang Cup


Journey behind our fleet of heritage diesel locomotives aboard the Mallee Limited as we return to Manangatang - the stepping off point for the norther Mallee Silo Art Trail and home to the 2024 Slow Rail Joruneys Manangatang Cup. Don't miss this spectacular weekend Slow Rail Journey to one of Victoria's most famous and most beautiful regions.

Journey behind Slow Rail Journeys' fleet of heritage diesel locomotives aboard the Grainlander as it makes its way north to Manangatang – the stepping-off point for the northern portion of the spectacular Mallee Silo Art Trail and home to the Slow Rail Journeys / 707 Operations 2024 Manangatang Cup.


After a gourmet welcome aboard dinner at the Savoy Hotel, settle into your private sleeping cabin - your oasis for the weekend - as the Grainlander leaves the lights of Melbourne behind, winding through the Goldfields and out onto the flat plains of the Mallee.


On Saturday, awake to a Mallee sunrise and a different world with the horizon visible across the undulating plains. Enjoy breakfast onboard as the train makes its way to Manangatang. For the rest of the day, guests have the opportunity to participate in one of two signature Off-Train Experiences:

  • Grainlander Silo Explorer: Explore the northern portion of the Mallee Silo Art Trail, visiting artworks we don't see on any other itinerary, including those in Walpeup, Patchewollock and Albacutya, along with the northern shore of spectacular Lake Tyrrell and more; or

  • Attend the Slow Rail Journeys / 707 Operations Manangatang Cup: The Manangatang Cup is one of the pre-eminent events on the country racing calendar and is one of the most significant events in the Northern Mallee. Relax in the private Slow Rail Journeys marquee and enjoy the day's festivities.

Juxtaposing the busy schedule of touring on Saturday, Sunday is a day of slow rail travel, of relaxing into the rhythm of the train, as the flat plains of the Mallee are replaced by the ironbark-clad granite hills of the Goldfields and finally, the busy population centres of Ballarat and Melbourne. Enjoy three meals onboard in the dining car, a stop in Barraport to explore the spectacular Spanner Man Gallery and more.


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 it.


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 the station as the whistle sounds 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, which explores 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 Outback Explorer tour itinerary is 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. Over 3,000 people will attend the weekend in the tiny hamlet of Manangatang.


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 a.m., 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 sculptures of mermaids, marlin, and even a full horse and wagon. Sadly, John passed away in 2021; however, his family continues 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, is the agricultural valley's commercial hub. 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 Goldfield commercial hub.



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.




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





 












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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