Doing the Locomotion in the Southern Highlands

Sydney’s Central Station was a fitting place for the group to meet for this weekend away for the rail and train enthusiasts.

There’s plenty to do in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands and we opened our trip with a visit to the HARS Museum to see their collection of beautifully restored historic aircraft. After a quick aviation fix, we climbed the winding, twisting road up the mountains to check into our hotel in Bundanoon. We got to know each other over a hearty pub meal at our local.

The next day we climbed even higher on a spectacular walk through the canopy at the Illawarra Fly Treetop Experience. The boardwalk winds high above the forest floor and offers wonderful views back down over Wollongong and Shellharbour.

But of course, as train enthusiasts, everything else was just a build up to our big day at the NSW Rail Heritage Centre in Thirlmere. There we were able to ride the old Hunter steam train from Thirlmere through idyllic bushland to the village of Buxton.

Upon returning to Thirlmere, we spent time with their wonderful collection of locomotives and carriages from Australia’s rich rail heritage. The collection is the new home to engine 3801, the undisputed king of the New South Wales rail network. We enjoyed taking photos with the collection and of course loaded up on train souvenirs. We got a takeaway lunch from a local cafe which we ate at the train museum and learned how a steam train eats. It goes “chew chew” of course.

On Sunday we had a rest and a late start and grabbed a bite of brunch in Robertson before meeting up with Neil from Robertson Heritage Railway Station. Neil took us on a tour of the beautifully refurbished station building and allowed us to check out the wonderfully intricate work of the model train club’s N scale and HO scale working models.

On our way back to the hotel, we swung by Fitzroy Falls to take in the beautiful views. Some of our adventurers went for a bushwalk. On our last night we had another hearty pub dinner in Marulan where a horse walked into the bar. That’s not the start of another joke. An actual horse, tied up outside got loose and walked into the pub while we were waiting for our dinner. Gotta love the charm of a country pub!

Our last stop was for the cricket lovers. The Bradman Museum houses a great collection of paraphernalia about “the boy from Bowral” as well as other cricket relics from yesteryear. It is also home to the international cricket hall of fame.

The whole trip was an all-around great time. The train stuff was fascinating, the other activities provided pleasant surprises and the memories will last a lifetime. We can’t wait for our next rail holiday!


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