Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

Am just taking a quick detour from our European travels to post a bit closer to home this week. A couple of months ago Tourism WA launched a new advertising campaign with the catchphrase “# Just another day in WA”! The idea being that people could share their own personal experiences on social media using the phrase as a tag. I thought I’d do my bit this week by sharing some photos of our recent trip on the delightful Hotham Valley Tourist Railway. 



Based in Dwellingup a couple of hours or so south from Perth, the railway was set up in 1974 to keep alive the heritage of the area. Originally a logging town, the railway was a vital means of getting the logs transported up to the coast and towards Perth but fell into disuse. Now manned by dedicated volunteers the trains trundle off into the nearby forest at weekends and school holidays. From June to October you can enjoy the charms of the old steam engines (it’s too risky with the bushfire threat in the summer months).


We had booked to go on the afternoon “Steam Ranger” with our daughter, son in law and 2 very excited little granddaughters!  We had lunch first at Dwellingup Hotel, which is WA’s only remaining community hotel. It has been open since the early 1900s (historic by our standards!) and is also one of the few buildings to have survived the devastating Dwellingup bushfires of 1961. They serve good hearty pub food as you’d expect and must do a roaring trade when the trains are running!



Finally after much anticipation the eagerly awaited departure time came – off we went! The 2 hour ride takes you along the Darling Escarpment through scenic jarrah forests, across streams and several level crossings (with much waving and cheering!).



Hotham Valley Steam Ranger


After a pleasant ride you come to Isandra Siding where there is a 30 minute turn around. You can stretch your legs and wander round but there isn’t much else to do as you are out in the middle of the forest. Train and engine buffs will enjoy watching the engine being uncoupled and recoupled though. Rest assured there are toilets and cafe facilities back on the train! Once the engine is all set up again it’s all aboard for the return journey! Our little granddaughters (3 and 15 months) were beyond excited and loved having the window open so they could see out. You can purchase goggles if you like to protect your eyes from the steam but we didn’t find it a problem though our clothes did smell vaguely sooty when we got off again (all part of the fun!).


The “Forest Train”,  which takes you in the opposite direction out of Dwellingup to the Etmilyn Forest operates all year round (Saturdays and Sundays from November to April and Saturdays only the rest of the year). It is pulled either by a diesel or steam engine depending on the time of year. At Etmilyn you can enjoy a 20 to 25 minute stroll through the jarrah forest before the return journey to Dwellingup. We did this route a few years back (just the two of us on that occasion) and I can highly recommend it too. Also very popular is the Restaurant Train where you can enjoy a fine dining experience  whilst riding into the forest and back.

Personally I don’t think you can beat the charms of an old steam train and the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway is a wonderful testament to Western Australia’s heritage!


Hotham Valley Tourist Train

Copyright © 2016 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

22 thoughts on “#justanotherdayinwa! A Ride On The Hotham Valley Railway

  1. Lucky you, I can never resist a steam engine ride!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I love steam trains too – it was a great day out both for kids and grown ups!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Joy says:

    Looks wonderful Rosemary – who doesn’t love a steam train!! I always love these places too staffed by volunteers, very inspirational and something it’s great to support. Sounds like you all had a great day out – and a great meal in an interesting place too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes have always loved steam trains Joy and it’s great to support a railway like this staffed entirely by volunteers. Great that the railway has been preserved for future generations 🙂 This was our 2nd trip – the steam train only runs in the winter months so it’s a real treat. The pub was one of those old fashioned places that have so much character. They had the wood fire roaring and Christmas decorations up (Christmas in July is popular here as it’s cold so feels more Christmassy to people not used to warm Christmases!). All in all a great day out! 🙂


      1. Sorry for the deluge of responses Rosemary – seems like a technical glitch my end, kept throwing me out but it seems to be ok now!! Christmas in July – now that’s different but I get why it’s popular in the cold!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No problems at all Joy am glad you liked the post! I know all about technical issues – my computer seems to be having a hiatus ever since some automatic upgrade happened a couple of weeks ago very frustrating! Yes it’s because July is mid winter here and Christmas is still associated with cold weather by lots of people including me!! It’s rather nice to pretend it’s Christmas time! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a great day out Rosemary – who doesn’t love a steam train!! I love supporting things like this too that are run by volunteers. The place where you ate sounds really interesting too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joy!! Have replied on the other post! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Heyjude says:

    I wonder if that is where my grandson was taken a few weeks ago. I was sent photos of him on a steam train and he was very excited by it all. I must say that I am quite fond of them myself, but goodness knows why. Maybe because when I was a little child I used to wave at the Flying Scotsman as it went past the field where my brothers and I played cricket. Some memories just stay with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely could be the place Jude as apart from this railway I only know about the steam train that operates at Whiteman Park (near Caversham Wildlife Park).I though of you when I posted this as I thought you’d be interested with having family here. I love steam trains too and also saw the Flying Scotsman as a little girl when it passed near the town where we lived (in Yorkshire) en route to Edinburgh from London. I can still remember the excitement now too! Hotham Valley is lovely to do as an activity here in the cooler months as that’s when the steam train runs – excellent family day out! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. RuthsArc says:

    What a delightful day out, for all generations. It seems that many of us have a fascination and nostalgia for steam trains, Rosemary. I like the WA advertising slogan. Here it is “Rediscover Tasmania”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes definitely Ruth – steam trains are so popular and are a wonderful link with our past! It was a great day out for all the family 🙂 “Rediscover Tasmania” is a good slogan too I think!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RuthsArc says:

        I think both slogans are good. It’s easy to take our own “back yard” for granted.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes that’s so true Ruth! It’s interesting to see your home town through visitors’ eyes too!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. fifi + hop says:

    Looks like so much fun! Love a good train ride. I’ve been wanting to take my girls on one – perhaps out west some day. I need to catch up on all your European posts, it’s that time of year with non stop travel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks train rides are such fun especially steam ones! Yes our own travels seems a while back now! You’ll be in the midst of summer whereas we’re just at the end of a cold winter (by our standards!). The steam train only runs in the winter months so managed to get organised this year to go on it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. restlessjo says:

    This is a nice change, Rosemay 🙂 🙂 Tall Ships, trams, steam trains… no end to the joys out there, is there? 🙂 I enjoyed my ride.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo! Yes definitely this week’s theme Jo – interesting ways of travelling! Great fun all round! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Steam trains are always a lot of fun for train enthusiasts 🙂 Last time I did a train journey, I spent a lot of time close to the window that was open and my face was a little black afterwards 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all part of the fun! Love the wind in my face feeling! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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