Full Steam Ahead: Hunter Steamfest

What a weekend at the Hunter Valley Steamfest!

Staying on the outskirts of the beautiful heritage village of Morpeth, the beauty and history of the area was not lost our gang of explorers.

We rekindled old friendships over a delicious pub meal in East Maitland with the chat focused on trains, trains and more trains

All Aboard Locomotive 6029

Heading off on Saturday morning we spent some time looking around the market stalls before heading to the station for our first steam-powered journey of the weekend. We enjoyed watching heritage diesel and steam locomotives come and go from the station before boarding the “Big Boy”. Engine 6029 – The Garratt – is the largest operational steam locomotive in the Southern Hemisphere.

What an experience as we headed up the line, through the countryside to the idyllic town of Patterson! We loved getting showered in soot through the open windows. It was a train enthusiast’s dream!

When we got back to the festival, we found our way to an excellent little model train exhibition housed in the old Maitland station signal box.

Up Close and Personal

After lunch we headed home before going out again later that afternoon. Steamfest After Dark gave us a unique opportunity to go inside the cab of engine 3625, chat to the driver and feel the awesome heat radiating out of the locomotive’s coal fire.

The Great Australian Train Race

The next morning was an early one, but boy would it be worth it. We made our way straight to the station for the Great Australian Steam Train Race – again we were aboard the mighty Garrett as we slowly made our way to Newcastle before flying back to Maitland at full steam while racing 3625 and even a heritage Tigermoth Aircraft. This was no doubt the highlight of our trip!

We spent the afternoon at the fair grounds and relished being in the presence of some amazing contractions of yesteryear. We even had a ride on a real-life steam powered traction engine!

 Our BBQ dinner that night was bitter sweet. Steamfest was behind us for another year and we thanked our friends for a wonderful time and vowed to see each other again.

As always, food was at the centre of our Trusted Travel experience. The culinary highlight of our trip was definitely found at the award-winning Earl’s Kitchen found in Hotel Gosford. Yum! We certainly headed home with full bellies.

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