Special Sunday Drives: The Thirlmere Festival of Steam

  • Preschoolers
    Mums & Bubs
    Parents Only

Do your kids love trains? We’re talking big trains, the best trains – STEAM TRAINS! Well this is an event you won’t want to miss. Held once a year over two days The Festival of Steam in Thirlmere (1hr 15 mins South of Sydney) makes for a very special Sunday Drive or weekend destination.

WHY WE LOVE IT: There’s no where else in NSW where you’ll see so many steam trains in one place at the same time - your mini train enthusiasts will be thrilled at the opportunity to climb aboard these magnificent engines, ride a real steam train and even shovel the coal! You’ll find something here for the whole family and grandparents who remember the romance of steam will love this too – it’s worth making it a multi generational affair.

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WHAT TO DO: There’s a lot going on over the weekend of the festival. Here are our highlights for kids and what you need to book ahead for.

VISIT TRAINWORKSTrainworks houses the biggest collection of locomotive stock in Australia with over 100 exhibits. Kids can ride a steam train, climb aboard climb into the cab of an old steam locomotive, explore the special purpose carriages such as the sleeping car, dining car and prison car, enjoy the sound and light show of loco 1021. Run, jump and spin in the playground which features an amazing 7-metre high climbing frame or picnic in the extensive grounds.

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BOOK A RIDE ON A STEAM TRAIN – A 50 minute ride on a real Steam Train – the Buxton Shuttle. Leaving from Trainworks station. 4 rides available on Saturday and 5 on the Sunday. Rides cost $15 per adult and $10 per child. But we advise that you combine entry into Trainworks PLUS a Steamtrain ride combo pass at only $25 adults, $15 children. Book the COMBO PASS HERE

OTHER THINGS TO SEE & DO: Watch the Grand Parade at 1pm on Sunday featuring a steam traction engine, vintage vehicles, dancers, marching bands and floats. See model railways in action at Thirlmere public school. Take a vintage bus ride or even a helicopter ride! Take a break with music in the park on Sunday until 4pm or enjoy rides and amusements including an animal farm, zorb balls and segways. See all events here

TAKE THE THIRLMERE FLYER: Arrive in absolute style! Enjoy the sounds and smell of steam all the way there and back.  The 1930’s Thirlmere Flyer leaves Central Station at 9.30am - also stopping at Revesby, Glenfield or Cambelltown arriving at Thirlmere at 12.15. From $155 adults and $60 for kids. Leaves Thirlmere at 3.45 BOOK TICKETS

MAKE A WEEKEND OF IT: If you think doing it all in a day trip is too much – why don’t you make a weekend of it and combine it with a visit to the Southern Highlands. Thirlmere is on the way back to Sydney from popular weekend destinations around the Royal National Park, Wollongong, Kiama and Bowral. Find accommodation at Stayz, Wotif or Airbnb.

Map of thirlmere







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