I’ve decided to start doing some different blogs this year. Mostly because I’m finding it hard to find the time to write, but also because having a toddler means a whole different set of concerns, one being how to keep them occupied. Each weekend I strive to do an activity for missy. It could be as simple as going to the park. However, I’m going to try and write about the more interesting things. It might just give people some weekend inspo. If nothing else, it gives me something to look back on! So, here’s the first one from this week.
After a couple of unstructured days, and loads of make-believe (see my recent blog on this) I decided that we needed an activity to do while we were holidaying in Gippsland. I remembered that Coal Creek had a little train that ran, and I thought missy might enjoy that. After all, Peppa goes on a train sometimes!
Coal Creek is near Leongatha, a mining town that ceased mining operations in 1958. Now essentially a suburb of Korumburra, the Coal Creek Village is a 30-acre constructed township, set at the time of federation, when the town was still a mining town.
We got there just before 10am, which is opening time. Probably a little too early to be honest. Despite Coal Creek Village opening at 10am, there was nobody there. Not even the General Store was open yet. However, it was a lovely day so we head down through the village, armed with a little bag of duck food that we bought for 50 cents on the way in. Entry to the village is free, and train tickets are only $6.50 per person (kids under three are free).
The village itself is quite charming, and educational. Perhaps not so much for toddlers, but I could see older kids getting more from it, or less if they were of the more cynical nature. I found myself getting charmed as I walked through a replica school house and read the rules for teachers in the early 1900s – the female teachers were not allowed much of a social life at all, while the male teachers were allowed up to two days a week for courting!
We also wandered into a room where two women were spinning wool and yarns. The general store was charming, complete with rock and raspberry lollipops, which always send me back to my childhood. There were also music rooms, a chemist, replica homes and an actual steam train you could climb through and pretend to drive (a lot of love for that from missy!)
For missy there were two highlights. The ducks were the first. As soon as the ducks saw her little fist clutching that bag of food they were all over her, following us all around the village until we unleashed the food on them. One cheeky duck even took the entire bag from hubby’s hands. Missy thought it was the best thing ever! Of course, she’s two. The older kids might not agree with her reviews.
The second was the train. The train leaves every half an hour. Because we were so early we were the only ones riding, and the train driver bent down and talked to little miss before we left the station. She shied away pretty quickly, but he was warm and kind, and that’s always good! The train ride itself isn’t much. It’s a small diesel train that does a circuit of bushland by the village. It’s pleasant enough, but little miss loved it, and talked about it for the rest of the day. If you plan a trip later in the year, check out the steam train, which staff tell me is quite popular.
Coal Creek Village reminded me a little of a low-key Sovereign Hill. From what I could tell a lot of it is run through donations, and the majority of staff are volunteers. Entry was free and it was just a charming way to spend the morning, with little miss falling asleep in the car on the way home, content and exhausted. If you’re looking for high-intensity, go elsewhere. If you want a nice wander through a historical township (though the village itself is a constructed village, the dwellings themselves are actual dwellings) it’s a pleasant way to spend a morning.
Find out more here.