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8-10 March: The Riverlander to Tooleybuc, the Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival and the Northern Murray.


Journey behind our fleet of heritage diesel locomotives aboard the Riverlander onboard this not to be missed summer exploration of the Northern Murray visiting the historic towns of Piangil and Tooleybuc, attending the famous Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival, marvelling at Lake Boba's newly commissioned and spectacular Silo Art, relaxing for a morning of slow rail travel along freight lines that very rarely see passenger trains, exploring the history of Lake Boga as a Catalina Flying Boat base and experiencing a full weekend of bespoke off-train experiences including a privately chartered cruise onboard a Murray River Paddle Steamer and a showing of Swan Hill's spectacular laser light spectacular.

Single (no supplement) fares range from $1000 to $1295.

Twin Cabin fares (for two guests) range from $1800 to $2890.





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Highlights



Step back in time onboard the Riverlander to enjoy a summer exploration of the Northern Murray region taking advantage of the long days to fully experience this fascinating corner of the state. Attend the Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival where the town will come alive with the region's best food and wine offerings featuring the best produce from the heart of Australia’s food bowl. Enjoy a weekend of bespoke off-train experiences including a visit to Lake Boga's Flying Boat Museum - which houses a Catalina PBY5 Flying Boat and much more.






 

Itinerary


Friday 8-March


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 1950's and 1960's carriages that make up the Vinelander, 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.



Sometime after 10pm the Riverlander 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 north through Melbourne's suburbs before leaving the lights of the city behind to traverse the Goldfields to Bendigo where we will stop to resupply the train.


Departing Bendigo into the night the landscape flattens and the hills of the Goldfields are replaced by the plains of the Loddon Valley - one of Victoria's large grain production regions.



Saturday 9-March

After a brief stop in Swan Hill and while guests enjoy breakfast in the dining car, the Riverlander will continue north along the rarely used line to Piangil, the Victorian sister town of Tooleybuc, NSW.



Upon arrival in Piangil step from the train onto an awaiting hop-on hop-off shuttle to explore the historic townships of Tooleybuc and Piangil.


Located in Southern NSW on the Murray River, Tooleybuc is the in the heart of an area that is rich in industry from large-scale dryland cereal and livestock production to small intensive horticulture, wineries and tourist businesses. The town hosts a vibrant community with plenty of attractions. Stops on the Riverlander's tour are close to beautifully maintained parklands along the river perfect for a stroll, the famous historic Tooleybuc Bridge and the Giant Mallee Root (the biggest stump in NSW and second largest in the world according to the Guinness World Records).



Piangil, approximately 50km north-west of Swan Hill is a tiny hamlet in the northern Mallee grain country. With a population of just 259, the town sits 3km from the Murray River.


Piangil is located in marginal Mallee grazing land. With the commencement of irrigation in the early 1900's the population reached over 300 and in the 1920s a school was opened that ultimately closed in 2015. Today the township hosts a hall, both Catholic and Uniting churches, a general store, a community hub and the Piangil Corner Cafe.



After a short stop in Piangil, the Riverlander will return to Swan Hill arriving late morning.



After enjoying lunch, guests will have the opportunity to attend the headline event in the acclaimed Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival, held at the historic Pioneer Settlement.



For lovers of delicious food and wine, the Swan Hill Region Food and Wine Festival is not to be missed. Taste of some of the best local produce sourced from the heart of Australia’s food bowl – the Northern Murray. You’ll likely be leaving with very grateful tastebuds (and goodie bags to show for it)!


The festival itself is filled with entertainment including the Rogue Traders, a lineup of local musicians and much more,



After an action packed day at the Food and Wine Festival enjoy dinner before a showing of the town's spectacular laser light show, the Heartbeat of the Murray. The Heartbeat of the Murray is an experience like no other. This dramatic sound and laser show will have you spellbound and amazed as the story of the Murray River comes to life against the background of a 9-metre water screen.



As the sun sets into the Mallee landscape, highlighting the bright twinkling southern stars and river red gum trees as the perfect backdrop, embark on this journey of family discovery that is sure to delight, enthral and intrigue all your senses.

Capturing the latest ‘high tech’ multimedia components and special effects, this is a show you’re likely to remember long after your visit!


Sunday 10-March

After waking to a spectacular sunrise guests in Group 1 will be invited to the dining car for breakfast, followed by those in Group 2.


Shortly after breakfast, we will commence the morning's off-train experience program.



Guests will have the opportunity to visit the Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival's produce market which is home to the tastiest, crunchiest and juiciest produce from the region, Browse the many stalls stocking wine, local produce, homemade crafts, cakes and preserves and a variety of plants before continuing to the Pioneer Settlement to board a private cruise on the authentic Murray Paddle Steamer the PS Pyap.



After enjoying this spectacular part of the mighty Murray River, re-board coaches for the short journey to Lake Boga, home to the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum. Situated between Swan Hill and Kerang on the shores of Lake Boga, the museum has become one of the major tourist attractions of the area.



The museum is home to a Catalina A24-30 (restored by the local Lion's Club) and the original secret communication bunker located at Lake Boga. It stands as a commemoration to the service men and women who served at No. 1 Flying Boat Repair Depot Lake Boga from 1942 to 1947.


The museum holds more than 500 artefacts relating to Lake Boga's proud history associated with WWII, including the historic Catalina Flying Boat and a range of wartime treasures that have been preserved for future generations.



Before departing the region transfer to Lake Boga's spectacular newly commissioned Silo paying tribute to the town's role in Australia's war efforts and its impact on the Catalina Flying Boat programs.



After exploring the Lake Boga area we re-board the Riverlander which has made its way from Swan Hill to the tiny rail siding beneath the spectacular silo artwork. Juxtaposing the weekend's busy touring program, Sunday afternoon offers the chance to relax into the rhythm of slow rail travel as the Riverlander makes its way south through the plains toward Bendigo.


Lunch for Group 1 will be served in the dining car immediately upon re-boarding the train, followed closely by lunch for those in Group 2.



Mid-afternoon the train will holt in Bendigo where guests can step from the train - ample photo opportunities are available from the footbridges that cross between the platforms at Bendigo Station.



After departing Bendigo afternoon tea will be served onboard as the train races over the dividing range and winds through the Goldfields before 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 and all too soon the train arrives back into the modern world at Southern Cross Station.





 

Off-Train Experiences







 

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 a collection of locomotives from our Heritage Diesel fleet.









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