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6-8 December: The Winelander exploring the best food, wine and railways of Victoria's Goldfields



Due to popular demand, the Winelander, As featured in Traveller, the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, will be returning in 2024. Join the Winelander as it undertakes a summer exploration of the Goldfields enjoying some of the best food, wine and railways in Victoria. Travel on this not to be missed summer exploration of the Goldfields visiting beautifully preserved towns and travelling on some of Australia's most unique and interesting railways. Travel to the historic towns of Maldon, Daylesford and Castlemaine. Experience a private charter of the Daylesford Spa Country Railway including a stop at the much acclaimed Passing Clouds Winery and enjoy the best gastronomic experiences of this fascinating region.

Fares range from $859 to $1,445 per person.





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Highlights



Step back in time onboard a Slow Rail Journey to enjoy a weekend of slow rail travel to some of the Victorian Goldfield's most beautiful preserved historic towns and exciting tourist railways.








 

Itinerary


Friday 1-December

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



Entering Melbourne's busy Southern Cross Station, you will immediately notice our heritage diesel locomotives and our moving museum of carriages juxtaposing the modernity and hustle surrounding. From the moment you board, you'll instantly relax, enjoying the elegance of a bygone era.



At 10:10 pm, the Winelander will wake up the station as the whistle is sounded announcing our departure. Join your fellow travellers and tour organisers in our Club Car for a welcome aboard drink and evening supper as we head north out of the city. Enjoy drinks at the bar as the train climbs the Great Dividing Range toward the Goldfields.










Saturday 2-December

During the night, our train will climb through Gisborne, Woodend and Kyneton toward Castlemaine, where we will stable for the night, allowing guests a restful night's sleep onboard.



Waking in one of Victoria's most dynamic regional towns, guests enjoy breakfast onboard before being offered a guided walk of the historic centre of Castlemaine. Historic Castlemaine is a bustling town renowned for its eclectic arts scene, rich gold rush history, and growing reputation as a fine food destination.



Returning to Castlemaine Station, guests re-board the train to commence our first run along the volunteer-run historic railway linking the historic gold mining towns of Castlemaine and Maldon. The 17km branch from Castlemaine to Maldon opened in 1884 following the discovery of gold in Maldon. The line was ultimately extended to Shellborne. When bushfires destroyed wooden trestle bridges between Shellborne and Maldon, the line was rendered useless and was officially closed in December 1976.



Volunteers from the Victorian Goldfields Railway obtained and renovated rolling stock, and by 1986, trains were able to operate on a one-kilometre section of track out of Maldon. By 1996, the line from Muckleford to Maldon had been restored, and the entire line to Castlemaine was restored to operational status in 2004.


Our sleeping car train will make a mid-morning run from Castlemaine to Maldon hauled by two Y-Class diesel locomotives - Y157 and Y127. Guests sit back and relax onboard, perhaps enjoying a barista-made coffee as we pass along this spectacular branch line.



On arrival into Maldon, our second off-train experience of the weekend - a self-guided walking tour of the spectacularly preserved town will commence. Take a journey through historic Maldon and experience life during the gold rush era. Wander past old weatherboard homes, solid stone buildings and decorative shop fronts in this lovingly preserved Australian gold mining town. In recognition, in 2006, the National Trust awarded Maldon the 'most intact heritage streetscape' in Australia. Explore this fascinating town or perhaps visit the famous Christmas Shop!




After lunch at the iconic Kangaroo Hotel a short coach journey takes us to Daylesford. Famous as a place to take time out, invigorate body and mind, and reignite your imagination amid the spectacular forests and natural mineral waters, the historic town of Daylesford is a local tourist Mecca.



Boarding a private charter along the Daylesford Spa Country Railway, we travel along this unique tourist railway running 9km through some of Central Victoria's most spectacular scenery between Daylesford and Bullarto. The line passes through heavily timbered forest, fern gullies, open farming and more before climbing a 1 in 50 grade to Bullarto. At 747.4m, Bullarto is Victoria's highest railway station. While most of the Daylesford Spa Country Railway trains are railcars, we have the unique opportunity to see Y159 - a rare event!



After a short stop to explore the historic station in Bullarto, we return to the train for the short journey to a private platform at the much acclaimed Passing Clouds Winery, where we stop for a private tasting.


Returning to the train and Daylesford, if time permits, a short detour may be made to the Chocolate Mill - a multi-award-winning chocolate factory a few minutes out of Daylesford.



Dinner this evening will be served at a Victorian culinary institution - Frango's Cafe in Daylesford.



Enjoy a gourmet dinner prior to returning to the train in Muckleford for a restful night's sleep.










Sunday 3-December

Sunday morning breakfast is served in the dining car before an optional return to Maldon's historic town centre.



Returning to the Winelander, we make one last run along the branch line to Castlemaine.



Arriving in Castlemaine, there is time for one last gastronomic experience - a gourmet lunch at Harcourt Valley Vineyards, one of the stunning wineries in the region, coupled with a tasting of some of the region's best wines.



Since its first vintage in 1980, Harcourt Valley Vineyards has won over 500 medals and 34 trophies, making the winery the most awarded in the Bendigo wine region. Now that the vines are approaching 40 years old, the quality of the wines produced just keeps getting better.



After lunch, relax into an afternoon of slow rail travel as afternoon tea and a tasting by our onboard sommelier are served in the dining car. Watch as the landscape changes from the vast fertile river plains to the Great Dividing Range and, finally, the fringes of Melbourne.



After a spectacular view descending the range, we speed through the suburbs into Melbourne, Southern Cross, where our train will arrive and terminate after a weekend that you won't forget.






 


Route Map








 

Sleeping Carriages


Enjoy overnight travel aboard our fleet of heritage sleeping cars.




Note: We cannot offer our Heritage Cabins on this departure due to train length restrictions.







 

On-Train Facilities


The train will feature a fully stocked bar/club car, a luxurious dining car and an open-plan seating car for your enjoyment during the tour.











 

Locomotives


Our train will feature diesel locomotives sourced from our Heritage fleet, including several Y-Classes that will feature throughout the tour.












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