All Board at Steamfest: National Steam Centre, Scoresby

Got a little (or big) kid in your crew that loves all things trains? 

If so there’s plenty to see and do at the annual Steamfest! It’s held every year over the March Labour Day long weekend (12-14 March 2022) at the National Steam Centre in Scoresby. Together with the Melbourne Steam Traction Engine Club, the National Steam Centre has been running from the current location since 1986.

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When is Steamfest 2023?

Steamfast will be on Saturday 11 March to Monday 13 March 2023.

Be prepared to spend the whole day at Steamfest as you will need at least a couple of hours to see most things.

We arrive half an hour after opening time, and already the crowd is gathering. Luckily we buy our tickets online to save time and check-in prior to arrival. There is plentiful parking with attendants to show you the way.

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Our day starts with the miniature train pulling into the station. The squeals of delight from kids and adults reminds you that you are among like-minded folks. 

In fact, the whole festival is family-friendly. You can bring a pram through to Steamfest without too many bumps, and there are lots of options for you to hop on and off the tractor rides if your little one’s legs get tired. 

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Everything is well supervised and there are plenty of friendly faces willing to explain to you how a particular gauge works. 

As well as the hundreds of working engines and diesel museums, there are steam rollers and tractors in every colour and size. There are sheds for boating enthusiasts and steam roller lovers. We spend a lot of time looking at classic cars and bikes. 

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We watch blacksmithing demonstrations and dance along to the pipe organs and live stage bands. 

Food is plentiful, yet pretty basic, so if you have picky kids or allergies, definitely bring snacks. You can sit by the lake with a picnic lunch.

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There is not a lot of shade on the property, but there are several shed displays around, as well as marquees and tables set up to enjoy a spot of lunch. My children find it hilarious that I jump every time a steam whistle blows while we were eating!

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The Grand Parade is held in the afternoon and showcases all the tractors and engines of yesteryear. If you get a good spot, settle down with a coffee and snacks – even though these heavy pieces of machinery are grand, they are also very slow. 

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Our favourite thing is trying to guess what products all the machinery made. Our kids also request to go back to the interactive model train section many times because you can press buttons to start and stop the many engines winding around the track. They also love the draught horse demonstrations and the rides.

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The tractor ride takes you through to see all the huge agricultural machinery way up the far end of the property. Definitely jump on that one if you want the most bang for your buck. 

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Most displays and entertainment is included in the entry fee, except the miniature railway ride requires additional ticketing. 

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Having said that, please bring your coins for donations. Most of the people running these stalls and exhibitions are volunteers who simply love what they do and there are a lot of donation tins around to help support these organisations.

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HOT Tips:

  • Get there early
  • Pack a picnic
  • Wear a hat and gumboots.
  • Bring extra coins for rides and donations

Need to know:

  • Plentiful parking with attendants to show you the way
  • Tickets: Adults: $15 Children: $5 Family: (4) $35
  • Open every day during Labour day long weekend Saturday – Monday.
  • Miniature train ride tickets are an additional $3 per person.
  • The national steam centre is open weekends 11 – 4 pm with train rides every Sunday.
  • Special arrangements can be made for birthday parties or events.
  • The National Steam Centre 
  • 1200 Ferntree Gully Road Scoresby 3179

Best train experiences in Melbourne

Tips for visiting the Puffing Billy

Chesterfield Farm is across the road from the National Steam Centre

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About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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